Sunday, October 12, 2008

Whatever Became of Nanne


I recently posted a picture of my friend Nanne and her husband. Let me tell you about Nanne....I met her at a time in my life when things were really bad for my family. We had been batteling the news of our oldest son's drug addiction. He was always the best kid growing up and never gave us much concern so imagine my surprise to discover that he was a drug addict. I had been sticking my head in the sand for years and denying that he could really have a problem when he was arrested and his kids were taken by the state and placed with us. It was after this that I met Nanne. She came to work at the same hospital where I was working. She was a traveling nurse and was going to stay with us for awhile. My first impression of her was "how in the world am I going to work with this woman" She was southern, (with an annoying southern accent), loud; and a know it all. These are all things I really don't like in a person. So needless to say we got off to a rocky start. But one night she asked me to go outside with her to smoke a cigarette. I myself had quit smoking a few years prior but needed a break from the floor. We were working the midnight shift on a busy med-surg 23 bed unit. So I went outside with her. She proceeded to ask me "What the hell is your problem?" Wow this took me by surprise. And I had been under so much stress lately that I just unloaded on her about all my problems and especially about my son's drug addiction. That is when she shared with me that she was a recovering drug addict herself. She had lost her nursing license twice in the past due to a Demerol addiction. She had so much advice as well as empathy for my problems that I just latched on to her. Not too long after her job as a travel nurse in my hospital ended and she and Gary, her husband moved on to Steamboat Spring, Colorado. On our next vacation, Richard, my husband, and I headed to Steamboat Springs to spend time with Nanne and Gary. We talked often on the phone and I always felt better after one of our long phone conversations. Eventually Nanne and Gary took a job in Montana and lived in a motel type apartment at the opening of Glacier National Park. In February of 2004 Richard and I headed to Montana to spend some time with them. We flew and they met us at the airport. It was a sweet reunion and we talked most of the night.....A few days into this visit we decided to drive into the mountains and view all the beauty that comes to Montana in the winter. I have never in my life seen snow this deep. At one place along the side of the road they were some really pretty icicles; pink, green, blue; I had never seen anything quite like this so I talked Gary into stopping so we could take some pictures and see what made the ice and snow such pretty colors.Me, being the nosey person that I am, had to get closer. Beautiful! On my way back to the jeep I stepped over the snow drift, my left leg slid out from under me, my right leg twisted and sunk into the snow and with a loud snapping (well it was loud to me) down I went. I cried out (really loudly I am told) "I've broke my leg". Richard didn't believe that could be so and told me so "Paula get up" Well you see here dear I can't get up because, didn't you hear me, I've broken my leg.....They got me into the jeep and a wild ride out of the mountains landed us at Kalispell Regional Medical Center where sure enough I had broken my leg...badly...in four places. Now this created a three day hospital stay with surgery that placed three screws and a titanium rod into my leg. We flew home where it took me 4 long months to recover. But this just tied us even closer to our dear friends Nanne and Gary. Nanne was just a phone call away when Richard went through his open-heart surgery later that year; then followeed with carotid surgery the next year. We traveled twice again to see them in New Mexico while they were there. Then last year on New Year's Eve she called me from her twin sister Anne's home in Mississipi. Gary and she had driven there to see her father; now in a nursing home. All was fine except she told me she was having some problems breathing due to not taking her Lasix on the trip. She felt that she would be fine in a few days. The next call I received came from her sister Anne to tell me that Nanne had been taken to the hospital suffering from a massive heart attack and was on the respirator. I called and left a message on her cell phone and told her son to hold it up to her ear "Get out of that damn bed and get well so we can come see you in February".....But that wasn't God's plan. Nanne died on January 7, 2008. I have lost the best friend I ever had and I miss her every day of my life....

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