Monday, February 18, 2013

In Training

Discovery Bay: there's an eagle on the pilings; look closely!
I have shared with a few close friends my plans for this next phase of my life, but it seems like when you put energy in a new direction, if it is for the highest and best good for all concerned, the Source (God/Universe) jumps in and gets things moving - sometimes faster than you are really prepared to have it happen!

I returned to Washington State with the intent of healing my back issues, and beginning to re-structure my life in the U.S.  I have not given up on my Colombia life, but it has to take a back seat while I get my health in line with my vision. That, dear readers, is to continue to be of service, and many, many years ago, as a little girl, I wanted to be a nurse. My father's clear message was that it was a 'dirty job, not for the faint of heart.' And he certainly discouraged me. I wonder if I had stood up to him back then where it might have led me.
Eagles are all around here on the Peninsula... I think this is a youngster.

Instead, there were hours of being a Candy-Striper in Monadnock Regional Hospital as a teenager, then I took an Emergency Responder Course, which eventually led me to train to be an EMT (so very satisfying!) but because I got married and went to live aboard a sailboat, I only used that experience on the water, not on a squad. It served me very well in a number of circumstances, but clearly I wasn't done with medicine yet. Many of my clients with my consulting business in Public Relations and Marketing were hospitals! My very last job was at the VA hospital in Lake City, FL, and with my background in communications, I became the driving force behind their objective to get their Emergency Response Manual finished. Right after I retired from the VA, I was called to be a First Responder with the Red Cross for the Katrina disaster.

And there are all the alternative therapy courses and education I've acquired with becoming a Reiki Master, learning about nutrition, and other healing arts. Plus I have a rather (undesired - because of how I got it) extensive knowledge of MM which might be useful for some situations.

In fact, I have a tremendous amount of knowledge and experience in the medical field, emergency response, and health in general, both intellectual as well as on-site, and it seemed a shame to not listen to a call that incorporates that into my life or service at this point in my life.

It does require me to step out of 'retirement' for awhile, so while I will continue this blog, it will obviously not be as a full retiree as I have been for the past four years. But perhaps that is part of what retiring is about, having and taking the time to discover and focus on those things that rushed past you while you were doing what you thought was more important.

Reflection on my life as I approach a milestone birthday has caused me to see patterns which cannot be ignored. All my life I have enjoyed 'doing for others' as my Aunt Iva (Nini) used to say. She was my care provider when I was little and an early teacher of what love really is. Perhaps nursing would have burned me out from being a responder and perhaps the overuse of adrenaline as being part of a EMT squad would have taken its toll as well, but it seems to be in my nature to be a care provider, so I am enrolling in a program to be a professional one.

It will not be a full-time job, leaving me time to continue my artistic endeavors, and I will have time once the training is completed to go back to Colombia, but I will be then a licensed Home Care Provider which means I will have a way to express my desire for service to others, because it seems there are a lot of retirees who do the job of cooking and tending for others who can not manage it now. And I will have, as long as I am able to do the job(s) well, a small source of extra income.

Because the facts are, Social Security does not really provide an after-job living wage, except in Colombia. But even the Colombian officials know that although their cost of living is less than in the U.S. retirees there have to have three times the base cost for income parameters to be allowed to retire there.
A not-so-great shot of Trumpeter Swans and possibly
young Tundra Swans, but it was too far away to tell for
certain. Audubon Master Birder said the flocks do mix.
This was near Dungeness Road in Sequim, WA.

My concerns, after living there for nearly three years, are based both on their infrastructure for providing health care and my ability to utilize it given that my Spanish is still very elementary. I had a pretty bad fall last year, smashing my face into the very hard floor - caused by lack of attention and a poorly identified second step down. I was treated at the local hospital and it went very well and was affordable, too. But it was my wake-up call that if I was faced with anything more serious, how well could I communicate my needs?

No one in our small village hospital speaks English very well. They are all learning, and while some Latin medical words transfer over, it has the potential to be a serious situation until their language skills achieve the parity needed - at least as far as I am concerned.

This brought me gradually to the realization that being a solo retiree in a country where my language skills were less than ideal might not be sustainable. I love the people in Barichara, and I don't like that as time progresses I will have to make hard choices for myself that will necessarily exclude them from my daily life, but never from my heart.

So as I get my back issues resolved, I am in training. And not as a greeter at one of those large corporations as Jeyhu once suggested I could be. Who knows? Perhaps I could end up caring for someone who likes to travel as much as I do... anything is possible at any age, if you believe - and train!


  1. Your life experiences make my head spin! What fun! Hope that back feels better soon, honey.

    1. Well, Nan, I did it over a period of decades, not as fast as it took to read about it - thankfully! And slowly, slowly there seems to be improvement on the back front - LOL!

  2. oh, sandy - this is such marvelous news! i am so very happy for you and know you will be a gifted home care provider. isn't it wonderful when everything comes together - your desire to help others, extensive experience in many medical arenas, and the timing that has such a
    meant-to-be-ness? i am thrilled for you, and i will be BELIEVING right along with you that anything is possible!

    much love to you, dear friend XO,

    karen, TC ps - hugh had his 3 mo. check up today - all is well, and he remains in remisssion. take THAT myeloma - hah!

    1. Wonderful to hear the good news for Hugh so we'll just keep intending he stays there! Many hugs to you both!

  3. SOME OF YOU were following the Vendee Globe around the world sailboat race, and some of you might have been in, or interested in, the Virtual Regatta which was a duplication of that real race by computer. I started late in the Virtual race, well back in the fleet - something like 278,000th place. Well, after 102 days and a couple of hours, I have finished the race and made up some time, with great thanks to my rescue skipper (son) who carried the ship forward when I could not get online. My finish position was 175,998 (almost 100,000 boats were passed!! Yahoo!!) and it would have been even better if the VR technical team had not locked me out of the race for an entire weekend, causing me to end up on the rocks overnight. Sigh. In any event, the race is done. I can say I have raced around the world almost single-handedly and I won't do it again.... once was truly enough. LOL!

  4. Sandy, you always have it in your heart to care and speak goodness to those who need it. Glad that you have found a new calling and seem "raring" to go. God bless you and guide you each step of the way!