You know that saying, “When one door closes another one opens”? Sometimes I wish you could just open the door that just closed on you. I mean it has a knob on it, doesn’t it? Why do you even need a window in the first place? I sometimes feel like the saying should be, “When one door closes, it becomes a wall, so find the window on it”. See, that makes more sense. And for me less defeating, but I sound like sadness, from Inside Out now…

This month on San Diego faces I have spoken with a Licensed Vocational Nurse, or LVN at Kaiser Permanente. Basically those people who take you in at the doctor’s office, take your vitals, ask you what’s wrong and get you ready for when the doctor comes in. In my opinion, the people who are going to help you get what you need from the doctor. So, you gotta be nice to them and be clear. They have a lot to do in a small amount of time, with a million of other people to help too. But I am getting a head of myself…


Cristina Padron is 53, this was not her first choice as her career, but helping people always was. Her first love was being a police officer. She unfortunately was injured in the line of duty in a fight with a suspect and ripped her rotator cuff which ultimately ended her career. After much consideration and of course rehabilitation, she decided to become a nurse. She had to reinvent herself, to begin anew. Again when one door closes…

Every day is a new and busy day for Cris. At Kaiser her job duties are primary ambulatory care for adults. That includes, one on one time with an assigned doctor, intake of patients to include: vitals, immunizations, in office testing, and minor procedures. When she is not at work she spends her time studying. She has aspirations of furthering her education to become an RN, registered nurse. When I asked her why she wanted to do this she said, “I want to do this for myself. I don’t want to be in a place one day and wish I had done it (gotten my degree) when I had the chance. I’ll just finish when I finish, at my pace”. Being a nurse is a full time job. Going to school is a full time job. Going to medical school is an even bigger job. I admire the drive and the commitment that Cris has for herself and knowing that there comes a point in life where you have to quit forcing yourself to do something and do what is best for you. At your pace. That shows a strength and wisdom that many people should aspire to. Because most would just keep pushing or fail.

Being a nurse I was sure that there are plenty of things that they wish that we, their patients knew, so I asked her, what does she or rather the nursing community wish we knew? She said, “Just because you walked into the doctor’s office with a cup or a bag of piss or shit, doesn’t mean the nurse HAS to take it from you”. OMG, I died laughing. DIED. I have never shoved a bag of anything into a nurse’s face, but good to know. If you have, dick move apparently.

You would think that not shoving shit in someone’s face would be someone’s greatest lesson, but alas, no. Remember, this woman was a police officer and has seen some things. To be quite honest this is my favorite part of the interviews. It makes everyone think. Sometimes it is hard to answer and sometimes it is like second nature and the answer rolls right off their tongue. For Cris, she really had to think about it, I imagine because so much could be said, but what she said was gold. She said, “When you lose something you love, you can find something else to fulfill your needs and you can always overcome and adapt and chase those dreams to obtain them”. Beautifully said. Never give up and find something new. There really is so much out there in the world, you just have to get out there and find what sparks that fire inside of you.

I know sometimes I look around and wonder how I got here. Or why am I even here? I definitely think that there are choices that you can pinpoint in your life that led you to where you are currently. Some people think, “If I only had done this differently”. But if you had, you wouldn’t be the person looking at yourself in the mirror today. Strength shouldn’t measured by the muscles on your body but by the ability to persevere despite adversity. I asked Cris what choice led her to this point in her life and she told me that it was the choice to become a police officer. Without that decision she wouldn’t have met her husband, Isaac, had her third child, found true happiness in her job, and you know the rest…


Bottom left: Cris at work with co-worker and friend Mickey. Bottom Right: Cris with Husband, Isaac. 

I am honored to have had the time to get to spend time with this amazing woman. Her story I hope, even though short, should inspire those of us who may feel as though there are no other options. There always are, at any age, any phase, with any injury. I too can attest to that. You are not your circumstance. I, however, have a confession. This brave individual is my mother, and today I share her story with you. She has taught me to be brave, strong, smart, beautiful, and sassy as well as to never give up on myself. So, thank you for everything you taught me, mom. You are just as brave as you tell me to be. This one is for you. To everyone else, have a very merry un-birthday to you!


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