Thursday, September 23, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday, A is for Antidepressant - September 23, 2010

Alphabe-Thursday, A is for Antidepressant - September 23, 2010

Well, I must admit, I have had the blues these days.  Things are going from bad to worse.
I have depleted all my savings now, supplementing my half time pension and social
security since my job loss eighteen months ago.  The pension, after taxes, is twenty five
dollars less than my rent and my social security doesn't even cover food, utilities, my
car payment and other bills.  My lease is up, though, the end of November so I will be
moving out of the home I have rented for the past ten years.  I have begun the tedious
and sad process of clearing things out and disposing of much of my life.  I had never
anticipated this is how things would end up for me toward the end of my life. 

This past weekend, I threw away most of my forensic nursing life.  I discarded books,
notes, conference materials, and the like, since it looks like I won't work in the field
again.  What a painful experience that was.  Forensic nursing absorbed the past
twenty-one years and was the passion of my nursing career.  I identified with this new
field for nurses and was thrilled to have been part of the meeting that founded the
International Association of Forensic Nurses.  I attended every single scientific assembly
for the first ten years.  Now, I am debating as to whether I will even renew my
membership in the organization as that is money I could better spend elsewhere.  I may
even, after45 years, let my nursing license go inactive.  All of this is too sad for words.

I've tried to tell myself that I am better off than so many people in this world and I know
that I am.  I have been a world traveler so I know the poverty and pain I've witnessed in
places I've visited.  At least, I'm getting a half time pension and social security.  That is,
I'll get social security again.  I've just gotten a notice that my payments are suspended
from September until December because they inadvently paid me for February 2009
when I, in  fact, worked that month.  So, instead of the $2300 pension and $1300 social
secuity, I'll only have my $2300 pension which doesn't even quite cover my rent.  I do
have an appointment October 5th to try to challenge this or to beg for some sort of
payment option so that I don't have all my social security check attached each month. 

I am not on antidepressants.  I wouldn't take them.  At least, I did have a wonderful
antidepressant this past week in the form of a visit from one of my dearest friends,
Sherry Arndt, the forensic nurse who used to live in Santa Cruz and taught me how to
be a sexual assault nurse examiner.  Our entire nursing group from the San Francisco
Rape Treatment Center went to Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz for our SART ( sexual
assault response team ) training in April of 1990.  Sherry was not only my instructor,
she became a mentor, a great friend, and a traveling companion, with whom I shared
many wonderful adventures about the world.

Sherry and her cousin, Nancy, made an overnight stop at my house, during a road
trip which started at Sherry's home in Minnesota.  That visit did so much to lift my
dragging spirits.  We had the most incredible San Francisco weather - blue skies, no
fog, and warm temperatures and we made the most of it.

We started out with lunch at American Sushi House near my home in Daly City,
complete with a wonderful sake and bento boxes with assorted dishes.  Then we
drove into San Francisco for sightseeing.  It was especially nice since the tourist
crowds had departed with the start of school, parking was easy and the weather
continued beautiful.

Bright and sunny at the Golden Gate Bridge

Sherry & Nancy with San Francisco in the distance

A stop at the Palace of Fine Arts

Afternoon break at the Cafe Divine in North Beach

Cheers from the Champagne girl

Champagne AND espresso with vanilla ice cream for me

Nancy and her dessert


Nancy & Sherry in front of Sts. Peter and Paul Church at Washington Square

With Robert and Nancy, dinner at Nick's in Pacifica

Waiting for our crab sandwiches!

Dungeness crab sandwich with tomato, red onion and avocado - eggplant fries

A beautiful end to a perfect day

After dinner, we came back to the house and finished our night with a bottle of 
champagne, talk, and lots of laughter.  Sherry's visit, all too brief, made me realize that,
no matter how dire the circumstances may become, friends are what get us through the
hard times and give meaning to our lives. When it comes to that, I am, indeed, wealthy.

I am participating in Jenny Matlock's Alphabe Thursday - join us!!

-Check out the link for info on my blogaversary giveaway:


  1. it's bad that you have to leave that home after 10 years...... it's hard to give up things which you cherished for so long..........

    then friends are someone who you'll never are such a great person that everyone wants to hang on too

  2. Having to make changes in life is so hard.. I can understand what your going through.. I left the job world due to an illness that did not allow me to work, so I keep busy doing all sorts of things.. Money is tight and I miss my grown children who all live somewhere else.. I guess it's something we all go through once we reach a certain age..
    Lovely photos with your friends.. no matter what life tosses your way,, Keep that Smile!
    Thanks so much for your visit to my blog and your sweet words about my grandsons blanket.. he lives in Guam and I just cant fly that distance any more...they will come back to the states in another year....
    Keep the faith..

  3. Your very last sentence was exactly what I was going to comment, well maybe not exactly - This was a hard post to read, I feel so much for others going through a difficult time, but then as I read on I kept thinking what wonderful friends you have and how that has to count for something! Hang in there!

  4. Friends are gems, we must treasure them.
    Wish you happiness always!

  5. I'm sending you a hug from the Rockies. I visited your beautiful area of the world not long ago. You certainly live in a charming place and it would appear you are very wealthy with friends. Hang in there, I am also going through a little depression and I know how hard it can be.....

  6. I'm glad you had a nice visit to lift your spirits some. It's tough being on social security and pension. Hopefully, you will be able to get things worked out. It is such a change going from a regular salary to retirement. We are probably going to have to make some changes here too soon. I just bought a new computer. In the past it wouldn't have mattered. Now I need to take some money out of savings to pay for it, Yikes.

  7. Not everyone is brave enough to share the really painful parts of their lives ~ I have to wonder how many of us conceal truths. You are to be commended .. the world of forensic nursing suffers from your loss. Please take care and use that amazing mind of yours to make good decisions about your future ~~~ because you DO have one!

  8. Friends really are the best anti-depressant!

    I live in the Bay area too, so I know how expensive it is to live here, even under the best of circumstances. I hope things ease up for you soon in that area.


  9. Carmen, I wish you well. I let my registration go this year. A very hard thing to do, however my life has changed so much since I gave up nursing I looked upon it as a new path to follow.
    Fate will guide you, there is a reason this is happening. Not all money reasons.
    Maybe you are to move in order to make a new friend.
    Hold your head up and be strong.
    I had to have anti d's, but have been 8yrs free of them now. Change can be good for your health. :)

  10. I am so glad you had a bright spot in these tought times. I hope all goes well with your meeting.

  11. Anonymous12:55 PM

    I always say my friend that one must always keep a positive out look on things and that they will always get better. it's how I live. Yes you might have to make changes but if you think about it the changes are a new chapter of ones life and how exciting. It's always looking at the glass half full instead of half empty. It's not easy sometimes and yes we get sad and despise the steps we must take. But it is so worth it. With friends like you have it will be a lot easier. I send you all my aloha and sunshine that I can :) Keep smiling always.

  12. lovely pictures of you and the girls. glad you had them with you. And yes that moon is a pefect end to the day.


  13. Sherry looks absolutely marvelous...I love her hair! Thank you for sharing your friends with us, Miss Carmen. And Cafe Divine for lunch was an excellent choice! xoxo

  14. Oh Carmen, my heart aches for you. I too lost a job I loved recently. I'm glad you have friends to lift and encourage you through this difficult time.

  15. Anonymous3:44 PM

    A bit wordless, impressed by the writing of yours. Wishing you only the very best and a good Friday as well.

  16. Oh Carmen, I hope things would turn around for you and lighten up your mood. I know when you worry about the house and other things, it's very hard to keep your spirit up! Thinking of you!

  17. Carmen- your career end seems so incredibly sad. It just seems like someone would value your experience. There are much less expensive places to live. Hope you can find one in a place you like.

  18. chasing the blues away is a hard job... but if you have wonderful friends and family... it will not be a big deal. sometimes, i believe that i only need to have a change of attitude and yes, photography can do that for me. hahaha. have a wonderful weekend ahead.

  19. Oh Carmen, I am so sorry you are having to deal with so many life changes al at once. I'm sending positive vibes that you find a wonderful new home that will brighten your spirits as much as your wonderful friends.
    Hang in there and just try to take it a day at a time. xo jj

  20. good friends are the best antidepressant arent they? I wish you the best and am sorry to hear of your hard can be rough!

  21. Carmen, I just read your comment on my facebook page, and I came here to see if I could read anything pertaining to what you're going through right now.

    Well I can't find anything about "the betrayer" but from this posting, I can pretty much put together the picture puzzle of the place you're in, right now.

    You know, if people were to judge you based upon your photos, no one would ever guess! You look completely carefree and happy!

    I am deeply saddened, for you, Carmen. I am wondering what and why and how all of this came to be..have you thought about becoming a practicing nurse, again? If not in the US, perhaps look into practicing as a nurse abroad?? You see I have learned that when many, many doors close all around us, it is because destiny is trying to show us, leading us to the one door which is open that we should be walking through. This is all in the spirit, and so it's hard to do, as we rely as humans, on our physical senses, but when we reach these places in our lives, we really must close our eyes, and walk on water. You have to find that one door that's open, that you're supposed to walk through. It will make all the difference in your life. Destiny has a way of reminding us of what we REALLY want. When we forget our dreams-- our dreams do not forget us! They have a way of finding us, again..


  22. I rely heavily on my friends when times are dark. Sounds like you have some good ones in your corner.

  23. Carmen, I hope the best for you. You have such a positive outlook on life. That and your friends will get your through, no doubt.
    Su-sieee! Mac
    This and That. Here and There. Now, Sometimes Then.

  24. oh how sad that you have to leave your home of 10 years ... but i am happy for you that you were able to spend time with good friends.

  25. -Check out the link for info on my blogaversary giveaway:

    Hitesh -
    My landlady came over this morning and I will be here THIRTEEN years in December, not ten like I thought! The thought of packing up, discarding things, etc, is overwhelming.

    Sandy -
    Thanks so much for the words of encouragement. It sounds like you have been through a lot yourself and are managing to hang in there. I so much appreciate the support.

    Terra -
    I am amazed at the wonderful help from my blogging buddies. That and the love from my friends and family will help me through all of this, I am sure. I really was so elated with my overnight visit from my friend, Sherry, and, last night, I had a wonderful phone call from a beloved forensic nurse friend I haven't seen in five years.

    Indrani -
    Well, if friends are gems, then I have a whole necklace of diamonds!!

    Rocky Mountain Woman -
    A big hug right back at you!! I guess we are all bound to have our depressing times once in awhile. Thanks so much for you support.

    Viki -
    Aging is not so easy! I really can't believe that I am about to be sixty-six-years-old. Seems almost impossible. I knew I would have to retire eventually but I wanted it to be on my own timetable.

    Helen -
    You can't know how much I appreciate your good advice and the lovely words you said. I so much needed to hear them just now. A dear forensic nurse colleague called me, out of the blue last night, one of the most esteemed nurses in our profession, also retired now, but in far better financial circumstances than me. She is still teaching and consulting internationally but she had such nice things to say about me professionally that my spirits soared. Though I am not working, that someone I respect so much thinks highly of me professionally really felt good.

    Sue -
    Are we neighbors? We should get together sometime for lunch!

    Glynis -
    I have to believe, too, that all this is for a reason, that it isn't just bad karma...I know I haven't been an evil person in my life. I am just trying to put one foot in front of the other and move ahead. It looks like you were able to get through your difficulty and a move to a new country - and write books, I will plug along!!

    JDaniel4's Mom -
    I had a great time with Sherry, then spent twelve hours on board the Radiance of the Seas when it was docked in San Francisco overnight on the 21st, a ship I've sailed on six time. The hotel director - and many other crew - are good friends. That really lifted my spirits.

    Thom -
    Please keep that aloha and sunshine coming my way. I know I am going to need it more in the next couple of months. I am trying to stay positive, like I have been most of my life - but do you think it gets harder with age? I keep thinking that, the last two years, at this time, I was packing for trips to Rome and a big birthday bash and a Mediterranean I feel like I will never do anything like that again. I do have memories of world wide travels over the last forty years, though, and great memories to sustain me....and at least ten, perhaps, fifteen, trips to Hawaii.

    Tina -
    We definitely had a happy day, from start to that moon at the end...good friends, good food, and good wine. Can't ask for much more.

  26. -Check out the link for info on my blogaversary giveaway:

    Sony Holland -
    I think Sherry's hair is terrific, too. I have never seen it longer like that but it really suits her. She paid off her other BMW and bought a brand new one and she and her cousin were doing a road trip from Minnesota. They went to San Diego, then L.A. ( they wanted to see you guys but couldn't stay that long ), then were going to Tahoe from here, then to Yellowstone before heading home.

    Tina -
    I'm so sorry you lost a job you really loved, too. It is so hard getting over that. Of course, I don't think I will be working again. I wish I could find something to supplement this retirement income - I'm having such a hard time on a $90,000 difference in pay!!

    ρομπερτ -
    I'm trying to keep myself focused, Robert, on the task at hand - staying sane as I prepare for these major changes in my life!

    Icy BC -
    It helps so much to have friends like you standing behind me and giving me a boost. I know it will all work out in the end.

    Sharkbytes (TM) -
    I won't leave California for any length of time with my three sons here ( and future grandkids, hopefully ) though I am planning to go to India for six months in Dec to help get out of debt and have a final visit with my many dear friends there. They are all wanting to put me up so I won't have to worry about rent, will just be contributing to food, etc.

    ruthi -
    It's been hard shaking my depression this time...I'm not one who normally stays in this kind of funk. Of course, I haven't been unemployed in forty years!! I'm sure things will improve.

    Joanna Jenkins -
    I know that, once I set my mind to it, I will see the brighter side of things. It's just been hard to get focused. Of course, I'm supposed to be out of here by the end of November so that doesn't give me much time.

    Melinda Cornish -
    I do have such a wonderful and varied collection of friends, all over the world. I think I'll be spending six months in India, from December to May, with a whole bevy of them, before coming home and dealing with a new home and all that entails.

    C -
    I wouldn't work in nursing outside the U. S. though I would certainly consult on foresnic nursing in other countries. Part of the problem here, with the end of my job, was that, after 21 years in forensics and out of the realm of acute care, I couldn't move to any other area of nursing for the city. I've been too long without acute care experience. Sadly, though,
    forensic nursing positions are so few and far between.

    I do try to stay as upbeat as I can, C. People are just not used to my being down in the dumps. I'm always the fixer. I love your statement...when we forget our dreams, our dreams do not forget us. I'll hang onto that.

    secret agent woman -
    Boy, if I didn't have friends, I don't know how I would have survived these past eighteen months! At least I am blessed in this area!

  27. I can empathise so much with you Carmen. Friends are such a blessing at a time like this. Good luck my friend. If you would like to visit me in England you would be most welcome. I have a big, empty house now that my grandaughter and her family have moved out and would welcome the company.

  28. That was the best anti-depressant you could have had.
    I hope your situation improves vis a vis the Social Security payments. Have you found a good place to live? Thinking of you.............

  29. I feel sad for you, Carmen. Even though my retirement form nursing was voluntary, mainly due to the fact my hospital was closing and i did not want to start over somewhere else, it was still sad to say goodbye to my nursing career.
    I hope that eventually you will be able to find a part time job to supplement your income. Perhaps at a pediatrician's office, clinic, group home, or some other place where you can utilize your talents.

    {{Big hugs}} Pat

  30. Carmen. I'm so sorry life is throwing you so many curveballs. I know you will write some amazing poetry from all this change and loss and worry. But somehow that must feel like small consolation when so many of the changes are beyond your control.

    I'm glad you had a little 'break' from life with your dear friends visit.

    I feel in my heart that you are going to land in a good place for you! Sometimes it's just never as quick as we need!

    Thank you for linking to Alphabe-Thursday.

    I hope writing about it was a bit of anti-depressant for you.


  31. oh i am so jealous... i wish i will have the time to enjoy the company of friends too. with 2 jobs and working 7 days a week... i wonder how that will happen. stay happy.

  32. What a great time you guys had. Sherry looks fantastic. I haven't seen her since that day with Sony at that cafe on Polk Street. From Cafe Divine to Nick's - Sounds perfect to me :)