Friday, June 28, 2013

What it means to me.

I'm not sure that any of us ever get in to our career in nursing hoping that we will experience anything traumatic, that we will not get our expected outcomes, or that we will be heartbroken.

I also believe that when we start out we think we are going to be the ones to change lives.
And there is no doubt- we do!

My graduating class 2007. Gotta LOVE white pants!

The point I missed, and that I'm sure others might miss- is that while we're caring for our patients and their families, they will change our lives too.

Our patients will expose parts of us that we didn't realize existed. We will have to deal with emotions and feelings and life and death in ways that only those who work in our environment can understand.

After a particularly rare but terrible experience as a nurse, I needed some way to release the torrent of emotion that raged for days following.
So I wrote and posted the following reaction on my Facebook page:

It's a long thought....having lots of those these days!

I'm a Nurse.
I know how to start your IV, hopefully on the first attempt (unless you tell me how awesome your veins are, you're begging for at least 2 attempts in this case)...
I've been trained how to read monitors and recognize a change from your baseline vitals, how to perform a detailed assessment before you even realize you're being ass
essed, and how to cluster your care so I don't wake you 234 times through the night- although my task-oriented self would like to wake you up to finish all of our to-do's so I can proudly report off to the next shift what I've accomplished!
I know BLS, NRP, ACLS and many other protocols in order to quickly respond in an emergency.
I'm sure you know all of this, it's why I went to school right?

Well, the parts you may not know about your nurse....

I think about you long after you are no longer "assigned" to me. I mean days, weeks, even years.

You aren't just a patient number to me. I give a little piece of myself when I care for you, and I hope I touch your life in a good way.

I sing to your baby during the night while he is on oxygen and you need some rest, because that's what I would do for my own baby.

I cry at your delivery if you cry..or if your husband, your mom, or your friend cries...because I realize that this is a miracle and I'm thankful to witness it.
I tell my family if I got to help deliver a baby, how many boys and girls were in the nursery, and their first names if I can remember (no worries- no HIPAA violations occur)

I am afraid at times. I hide that so that you won't be.

I try to not get annoyed when you want the entire county in with you during delivery...but it's really because I need room to move quickly if something goes wrong and not because I'm mean.

I would go to bat for you as a patient advocate, even if that means the doctor probably won't like it, and I'll pay for it for awhile, long after you have forgotten.

You come first, even if you think we're taking our time with your pain medication. It is likely that it's the computer's fault. There are safety mechanisms that I won't go around to be faster, because you are too important.

I will starve and dehydrate while massaging your back or getting you more Popsicles, jello, or ice's what we do.

I cry....a lot. When I remember you, those with empty arms and broken dreams and unforeseen complications...I cry because I know just a little of your story, just a tiny sliver, but probably a major defining moment that I was witness to.
I think about how it rocked my world and I cannot even imagine how it threw yours completely off it's axis. I know you'll never be the same....but I hope you know that I won't be either.

I wonder about how you cope, if anything I said made a difference, and I pray that you know God and his peace that passes all understanding.

I think of you when I'm in the room where you delivered a baby you would never take home, or where resuscitation was required, or where good outcomes didn't happen. And when I think of you, I pray for you.

Nurses aren't just nurses for the pay, the ability to test how long a bladder can be held, or to see how many years of nursing it takes to wreck 2 knees and a back. Nope, it's because our heart is in it, and I hope you can tell.
~Following the post, I was so humbled by the reaction of my friends and family. It was simply a pouring out of my grief and it touched people!
I was told I should start a blog- and my reaction to that is, I had been thinking about it for well over a year, but I very rarely have anything THAT deep to say, or even more, what does anyone care about what I have to say?
Oh well, here I am, saying it.
I thank God for giving me those words during that time. In the days that followed I became hard. I couldn't cry..... even though the sights, the sounds, the smell were still very present in my memory bank. I don't understand this process, but I know there is more to be dealt with, so perhaps there will be more words. 
Thank you for reading.

Thursday, June 27, 2013


Have you ever just had one of those days?

You know, the kind where your good intentions of cooking healthy meals, getting the house in order, catching up the laundry, solving world hunger or human trafficking, and helping orphans seem like reasonable, attainable goals?

Everything goes along great if you manage to wake up before the rest of the house, which lasts all but .45 seconds.

Then lo' and behold

DAY things like a child who has 3 accidents in 1 day. {What is up with that?? You're potty trained!!} Another who runs in the house despite warnings, hurts her knee and is all "I'm pretty sure it's going to need surgery, and you should probably keep bringing me ice packs- oh and some chips while you're at it", and the last one that you are trying to keep from breaking himself as he attempts to scale new heights on anything vertical...... and you get to the point that you just don't know where to start other than by hiding somewhere no one would look. {Like the cleaning closet.}

Yeah, me neither!
I'm so glad we're perfect and those things don't happen to us. Riiight.

Well, it's sort of been one of those days, and I sit here in the middle of it, knowing that my husband is likely on his way home and probably hoping that I will be well kempt with something on the stove and that those toys over there would magically be in their place.

{I'm so glad he loves me even though this is NOT going to be his reality!}

Yep, I'm a mess of all sorts and of great proportions and I'm so thankful that it's okay. Because I have a Redeemer who knows that I'll never live up to anyone's expectations.
Not my own, not my husband's, and not the world's.
So many years I spent trying and striving just to find that I can do it for a short time, but it left me drained, tired, empty, and hopeless.

How much better is it to rest in the assurance that I'm accepted, I'm loved, and I was rescued even though I would continually fail- From rogue, tramp, scoundrel to paid-in-full, made new, redeemed.

As you listen to the words of this song I hope you will open your heart to the meaning and accept the truth.
There is nothing in your past that will make God love you less, and there is no amount of working that will make Him love you more.

Romans 3:23 says "for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God", no matter what expectations you're trying to meet, God is the only one you should look to, and in comparison with God, we will never be holy and blameless and perfect, because we are human.

And it doesn't matter.

Because listen to these promises:

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us. {Romans 5:8}

I have blotted out your transgressions like a cloud and your sins like mist; return to me, for I have redeemed you. {Isaiah 44:22}

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace. {Ephesians 1:7}

In whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins. {Colossians 1:14}

So soak in that truth for today, thank him that his mercies are new everyday, and in case you like to clean bathrooms I know where there is a floor that could use another good scrubbing!

In His love,