My first work assignment in Cali was in Sacramento at a wonderful facility that has now been absorbed into the county hospital. This hospital had very strong, smart nursing staff and…a lift team! Wow. What an incredible thing. I learned so much here and was able to see a patient on a roto-prone bed. I love stuff like that.
This was also my first little foray in staying in an RV, as my dad loaned me his Class B camper (about the size of a van). The hospital had three sites in the back of their parking lot with water and electrical hookup for just such a thing, which was fantastic. I noticed that it was also utilized by families of longer term patients so that they could stay nearby. This was wonderful, my commute to work was steps. I also stayed for a bit in a Larkspur Landing extended stay, which was great. I could ride my thrift store bicycle over from the hotel easily on a path that bordered a manicured golf course and ran over the beautiful American River. It would take about 15 minutes one way. And, this being California, going to work and coming from work I would pass golden, shirtless beautiful men running. Boy does that help motivate:>
Sacramento is full of things to see and do, music, culture, food. I so enjoyed it. My contract there was 12 hour night shift, 48 hours per week, ouch. Made it through. My father came at the end of that assignment, which was a wonderful surprise and pretty much drove us back to Bama. He had been in the Navy, and we visited San Diego. It was so fun to see his excitement on the ships and he would explain the different things he would do. We stayed at a very nice RV park in a marina there and ate at Wiernerschnitzel. We also stopped at every Dennys’ on the way back. That was such a great road trip.
The beautiful thing about this travel for me are the people I meet. I explain that where I grew up, 99% of the people that I met were either Caucasian or African American and we all had the same past experiences, culture, etc. It was a wonderful place to raise my children. My community was so supportive of us. The people were warm, friendly, caring, interested. California has, for me, proven to be a completely different country and not in a bad way. I have finally learned to walk past people without looking them in the eye or speaking to them (do that at home and anyone within distance can pop you in the back of the head for being uppity, it is just not done). People in Cali are warm and friendly in different ways, but boy when they decide you are okay, they are about like home, pretty wonderful.
I was privilieged to care for a Muslim man who had had a heart attack. His wife stayed in the room with him and I noticed she slept on a thick mat on the floor. They were extraordinarily kind and open with me about themselves and their culture, in fact, his wife insisted I try a bit of the food she had made and brought with her (delicious). She would cover her hair when male visitors came and they explained that it was, for her, a sign of respect, sort of like how we would wear a wedding ring. Her husband was not making her do this. She was an intelligent, highly educated, caring woman and you could see the warmth and love between them. His visitors would come in long, flowing white outfits and the long dark beards. They explained it was their custom as a community to visit, kind of like we would visit our church members that are hospitalized. They were always respectful of each other, staff, and unit rules. His wife spoke of the beauty of Afghanistan, the physical beauty of the country.
I also cared for an elderly grandmother who was some form of East Indian (there are evidently a lot of different forms). I ill always always remember this family. I truly thought that Indian women were very quiet, deferent, head down, mumbly. Umm, na uh. Nope. Hee hee. Grandma was visited daily by about 4 granddaughters dressed immaculately and beautifully and these cool ladies were funny and strong. With both of these patients, I was trying to do dietary teaching based on their diagnosis, which is funny, as I know nothing of their normal diets, so they taught me and I am like “well, watch your salt intake”. The granddaughters described themselves as a type of “ghetto Indian” as I believe they were from somewhere in the Pacific or Fiji. Remember that I am staying at the end of the parking lot, I was walking into work one day and across the lot I hear “Holla!”. Hee hee. That came from beautiful, not so quiet, very funny Indian lady.
One day I noticed a patient in hospital gown with an IV pole siting under a tree mid parking lot. I go over all puffed up to see what is going on, a young boy, about 18 – 19 years old was sitting out there, one leg missing from knee down, the other shin covered in the coolest multi-colored sock, a multicolored knitted hat on his head, smoking a joint. The only other person with him was another youngish boy who left shortly thereafter. I sat a moment and talked with him (I have kids about this age and I haaattte for them to be alone. Turns out, he is in cancer treatment for bone cancer in the other leg. He was so strong and positive in his attitude. Just an absolutely beautiful soul. I would subsequently see him a few more times, once getting off an elevator with his mother and aunt and he would say “hi” and introduce us. I totally love this boy and pray with fervor that he is doing well.
I also think this is the hospital where I was floated to the open heart unit and went into a basically dark room, noticed how absolutely beautiful this older lady was and mentioned it to her. “I got it in my divorce”. Evidently her ex was a plastic surgeon and the facelift was a fst fine abulous parting gift! Also had a man on that unit with chest pain. His whole family was in room and all he wanted was macaroni from a local restauraunt. Get this, they brought him some and it evidently cured him. He was just fine post-macaroni:>