Beggars are fine by me

I listened to Jeffrey R. Holland’s “Are we not all beggars?” a dozen times this morning. If this message doesn’t strike true with you in the nursing field, you’re doing it wrong. His talk isn’t about nursing, it’s about poverty and caring for those in need. I still see it in the nursing aspect. Of course. Homeless, HIV, immigrant, poor, kind, bitter… it doesn’t matter. I will care for you regardless. I want to share a paragraph from this talk to put into perspective my feelings on the topic: “For one thing, we can, as King Benjamin taught, cease withholding our means because we see the poor as having brought their misery upon themselves. Perhaps some have created their own difficulties, but don’t the rest of us do exactly the same thing? Isn’t that why this compassionate ruler asks, “Are we not all beggars?” Don’t we all cry out for help and hope and answers to prayers? Don’t we all beg for forgiveness for mistakes we have made and troubles we have caused? Don’t we all implore that grace will compensate for our weaknesses, that mercy will triumph over justice at least in our case? Little wonder that King Benjamin says we obtain a remission of our sins by pleading to God, who compassionately responds, but we retain remission of our sins by compassionately responding to the poor who plead to us.” -Jeffrey R. Holland

This is such a powerful paragraph. How many times do we look at someone in need and say, “I’m not helping them, they brought this upon themselves”. If that is the answer The Lord gives to you when you go to him with your own personal troubles the tables would be turned wouldn’t they be? But it’s not. It’s not the answer we give to our own children when they come to us with a mistake or misfortune either. We seek out ways to help them recover, to make changes. In nursing it’s the same way. Maybe you have eaten yourself into a diabetic coma, you’ve been shooting up and have an infection in your heart, you could’ve damaged your vital organs with an unhealthy lifestyle, whatever the case we do not turn you away at the door because you’ve brought these problems on yourself. We take you in with open arms and care for you regardless of whether you continue with your current habits or have a remorseful heart. We educate and let the choice of change lie in your hands, this is your chance to make that change, we cannot do it for you but we will care for you in your time of need!

How different would our lives be if we lived by these words? How different would the lives of others be? I sometimes look at the dilemma of poverty in the world and think, “I can’t fix all of this, I don’t have enough to fix all of this?!” But then something happens, when I am in a position to help another and I think, “I can’t save them all but I can save THIS ONE”. Remember my post from yesterday about how conquering multiple small things will cross off the big things? This is it. That small act of kindness will cross off a big thing in someone else’s life. I encourage whoever is reading this to be charitable in the lives around you, even if they have brought their difficulties on themselves, haven’t we all? Thanks for coming to my ted talk 😉

Manager of Time

I think if you got a bunch of nurses together we could all write a book on how to accomplish the impossible everyday. Each day when we come into work there seems to be an overwhelming list of task to accomplish. Any sane person would take a blink and say, “um no, can’t finish that all today you crazy”. And trust me, we say it too. Except we don’t walk away, it’s like our brains are wired to say these things and then rebound with internal reverse psychology and say okay watch me get it done!

Recently, I’ve had this calm feeling overtake my normal manic state of mind. My wound tech says she doesn’t like it hahaha. She says I’m too serious and it’s weird. I guess my serious face looks like a mad face. Probably. I took a short break from work to collect myself and it’s like this invisible blanket of patience has been wrapped around me. Perhaps I’ve brainwashed myself with all the meditation. I am one person. I can accomplish one thing at a time. I have one million things to do.

One thing I’ve noticed when tackling a long list of to dos is that when I take a step back and focus on one small task at a time, crossing it off, that the bigger things seem to check themselves off as I go. Completing a bunch of smalls will eliminate some of the bigs.

I guess it’s easy to get overwhelmed when you can’t make it to clock in before being stopped for another task. When you can’t make it to one patient without being stopped by another. Adding more to your case load before you’ve accomplished the heavy one you already have. I used to round with my mom at the hospital when she would visit her patients and thought how incredibly awesome it was that people would stop her in the hallway to tell her something else going on. It looked exciting, like this woman is important and people go to her with their problems. I find myself parking in the most reclusive entrance to work, slithering in a side door, holding my hand up saying, “whoa I’m not clocked in, give me a minute”. My moms a good woman. It only gets overwhelming if you continue to stare at the big picture. Focus on a small task and work from there. Everyday. Even when it’s not work related, like tidying up your house or going back to school. You are one person. Do one thing at a time, and go from there. Everything else will fall into place.

With love, from a seasoned overwhelmed manager of time.

P.s. For extra encouragement listen to One step at a time by Jordan Sparks… works every time.

Misophonia

How is there not a pill for this yet? The hatred of sound. It’s a ridiculous thing to have to live with. I can’t explain why I went from a pleasant mood to a dark place in the snap of a finger. A place that has me hoping you choke on that chip just so the sound of you mutilating it stops. I understand the irrational extreme my mind goes to, I even tell myself ‘stop being angry crazy lady’ but if the sound doesn’t stop, I go to my dark place. I’d probably be admitted to the psych ward if a picture show displayed the thoughts of my mind when other people chow down on food… or prison.

My sister asked me why I focus on the sound, she says she doesn’t even pay attention or notice it. I don’t seek it out, it’s like a radar detector my mind cannot turn off. If I’m in a restaurant full of people talking and laughing, busy staff members rushing food orders out, music in the background… I will here the repetitive sound of chip after chip being guzzled down by the man 2 tables over… as if he has been one of the children on the television, living in Africa with a belly full of air for all his life, finally introduced to food and binging on it as if he will never taste it again… okay I’m drifting to my dark place again. The gist of it is, I try not to hear it. It finds me, and it gets louder after I’ve zeroed in on it.

I have heard of other people who have this disorder. I would consider mine an extreme case. I wear ear phones to the movies to avoid the sound of popcorn before the show if that helps paint a picture. It’s not just the sound of poor manners either, I can hear you chew when your mouth is closed. I don’t like repetition, a constant knock at the door can set me off. What in the world is wrong with me? And breathing, why is that necessary…

I’ve tried to research out different treatments. They say therapy is an option, but I haven’t been to therapy since they told me I was a high functioning alcoholic. Made me so mad that I never drank again. Take that therapy lady. The other options are sound protection and noise free zones… ear phones check. Noise free zones when I live in a world full of peoples… uncheck. If you see me in public during a food and mingle event, and my face looks like I’ve just entered the dead zone… just know that I’m trying very hard not to envision your slow and painful demise. I feel guilty afterwards if that makes any difference to you 😃.

I’m curious to know the cause. Why is it selective sounds that trigger this psychopath to take up host in my body. It is selective. I absolutely love music. Music is my therapy. All genres too, from instrumental soundtrack to heavy metal. I love the sound of water. That’s a weird thing to love but I do. Rain is my favorite. I once thought about becoming a scientist just to create a pill to subdue the madness. Once the noise stopped I decided to stick with my current field of employment. I guess noise avoidance will have to work for now. Feel free to give me other ideas, I’m all ears… hahaha if you got that 😉.

“That perfect Broken part of me”

I’ve always been a lover of broken things. I could enter a store and see all of these perfect pieces and the one thing I’m drawn to is the only thing tarnished, broken, unique. Sometimes I try to fix it or keep it just the way it is admiring the beauty of the imperfections. I think we spend too much time looking for the perfect thing, place, person, life… when life is perfect imperfect. Maybe the obsession with that picture perfect life is an association with cleanliness. When I think perfect I think clean. Clean is peaceful. Broken things can be clean.

I haven’t posted in my blog for almost a week. My goal was to do daily updates, but this past week I have made a dozen drafts and withheld publishing any of them. I’m saving them for later. I think one of the most helpful things to do in times of trial is to write them down, get it out on paper or type it out, as long as it is out of you. Removing that energy you want to rid yourself of.

This past week I took some time to myself to try to alleviate a decision I’ve made. I know it’s the right decision but it doesn’t make it any easier. I took a spontaneous trip to the middle of no where to visit with nature, old cars, good people and creepy baby dolls. It’s called old car city in Georgia. When I saw pictures online I imagined this place being packed with people and hoped I’d make it early enough to have some space to myself. I stayed most of the day and to my surprise the place was desolate. Imagine taking a trip to an abandon amusement park and having the place to yourself, that’s what this paradise was like. I shared the wooded area with only the creatures within, saw squirrels and a deer between the haunted vehicles. The untouched cars had trees growing inside of them along with the debris of the forest. It was incredible!

My sister flew home over the weekend for a final visit before she deploys. She is soaking up every minute with my girls and spending the days with my mom, siblings, and friends while she is home. We went to the pumpkin patch on opening day and played on all the attractions like little kids, went on a hayride to retrieve our pumpkins, roasted hot dogs and marshmallows over a bon fire before getting lost in a corn maze at night. I felt like I was on vacation as well. I’m working towards a schedule that will allow me to have more time home with my family. Time is important to me and spending it slaving the days away from my littles isn’t optimal. I miss this. Sometimes when I sit back and take a good long hard breath and look at the bigger picture I feel the best part of me is not being projected in the right places. I’m going to change that.

One of my favorite quotes is from Dieter F. Uchtdorf, he says, “We would do well to slow down a little focus on the significant & truly see the things that matter most”. I believe that. If we stay so busy that we miss those significant things in our lives then we are far busier than God intended us to be. I was able to accomplish several things I put off for months in one extended weekend I took off work. The dresser I rescued months ago has a new life now, my daughter has a new hair cut, my house is feeling more like home again and my time with my girls feels renewed.

I felt guilty for wanting time for myself this week. I spent the first few days worrying about all the people who would be upset of my absence. But the more time I had to reflect on things I realized I wasn’t just wanting time for myself but I needed it! There is nothing more important than self care, if you don’t take time to care for yourself you CANNOT care for others. I am blessed to have people in my life that respect that and allowed me this peaceful break! You all rock 😉

Motherhood Madness

Breakfast is free at my kids school. It. Is. Free. I don’t like to make myself something early in the morning when they haven’t gone to school yet. So I usually wait or pick something up on the way to work. However this morning I want to make it to work on time and I prefer not to be hungry so I pop some quick cinnamon rolls in the oven for the girls while starting some simple eggs and toast for myself. The girls venture into the kitchen like little birds, mouths wide open, stumbling around and touching EVERYTHING. Of course they want what I have instead. Of course. I make more eggs. My niece is dropped off as her dad heads to work. I make more eggs.

Toast? I’ve made 10 pieces of toast this morning. Where’s the butter? I just sat the butter on the table… *opens fridge, pulls butter back out for the 2nd time*. Maleah (age 9) is fast walking around the kitchen as if she has places to be, grabs the butter and yells, “WHO KEEPS LEAVING THE BUTTER OUT!” Me kid. It is I.. the butter bandit. I’ve pulled out all the bells and whistles for the perfect ‘mom makes breakfast before school picture’. You know, paper bowels and plastic utensils, perfect for clean up 😉. But do my kids use them? No ma’am. They are savages. Straight up savages.

That toast ain’t even got a plate man

Remember those cinnamon rolls I popped in the oven at the beginning. They’re done now but no one is touching them. I ask my teenage daughter if she’s going to have one? She says, “No I only like cinnamon rolls made from scratch, not a can”… so now I’m looking around trying to figure out where in the Betty Crocker hell this chick thinks she was raised! Whose mom has been making you cinnamon rolls from scratch? Huh? Tell her to pull up and we’ll have a pancake challenge! I have a big spatula and can flip 2 pancakes at a time ✌🏼.

Straight from the can

With all the little bellies full, I start in on the pre school interrogation. “Do you have your teeth brushed, where’s your shoes, hair… fix your hair, grab the back packs, has anyone fed the dog?”…. “Mom, the dog killed a possum!” Kali says all panicked. “Well don’t give him any wet food today, just the dry food since he is already getting his wet food elsewhere today”. Kali looks at me horrified. *blink, blink* where do you think that wet food comes from kid?

The madness of motherhood is doing the same things over and over, expecting a different result, only to find the butter has been placed back in the fridge for the 4th time in less than an hour. Over and out.

MAKE THE FAIR GREAT AGAIN

Since when did the fair become so slummish? I remember going when I was younger and it being similar to a ballgame experience. The smell of hotdogs, games being played, face painting, adults walking around holding their children’s hands with their khakis and fanny packs. Happiness in the air. I went to the fair this week. It’s one of those yearly experiences that I now dread. If I didn’t have children I wouldn’t go at all. The smell of cigarettes mixed with body odor and popcorn is on my top list of most hated smells. The carnival workers try to lure people in way more aggressively than your average mall salesman. Everyone walks slow as if they have been put in a trance by the illuminating attire selected by the townsfolk. The fair in the south is almost like a high school reunion, this is your moment to shine. It’s the time to wear brave eye shadow and break out the daisy dukes. The goal is to show up looking as if you are auditioning for a job as one of the carnival workers. I saw lots of belly buttons. Talked with people who had alcohol on their breath. Prison tattoos galore. Fair tip: wear all the jewelries, hairspray with starch ironing spray, all the makeup you own should be on your face and neck (this is very important), and lastly if your clothes fit then it’s too large… get in your daughters closet and find you something more fair appropriate 🤪

Best part of the fair is watching their faces during the ride 😂

I stood in 45 minute lines with kids who decided to show their rear ends since their parents weren’t around. Obviously human trafficking is no longer a concern for the parents around here, however the way those rotten kids were behaving I would place my money on the parents hoping someone would dare snatch them up. I’ve never in my life seen children yell out at elderly folks in such a manner that made me contemplate jail time for child abuse. I’m not sure my kids would behave any different if left unattended in a social environment among their friends, trying to impress the lot of them with their imaginary adult power but I would hope not. I have taught them well enough by example that our elderly move slower and hear harder, they require a immense amount of patience. I guess if they aren’t moving fast enough in a group of eager youth that permits them to yell out derogatory slurs as they push their way around them… never in my life.

Aside from all the late night carnival chaos, going during the day to visit the exhibits and food booths is quite pleasant. The crowd is much different. You have space to breath while the nightshifters are at home in dress rehearsal. I was able to visit with an old friend for a few minutes, bought some wizard wands from a booth under the grand stand, and picked up some fair food. The craft booths are my favorite! I love to study the pieces these people create and take notes on how it was done so I can go home and trial it myself. I always make sure to grab a business card too so that if my memory fails, I can look them up and study the details later.

‘The living still need you’

If you’ve ever seen the vampire diaries you know these vampires have an extreme heighten sense of emotions, they feel everything on another spectrum. They also have the ability to shut that off. It’s like a switch they hit and it’s incredibly hard to turn that back on. People in the medical field do something similar. They call it compartmentalizing.

Have you ever witnessed something so traumatic that it breaks you? Maybe you’ve watched a loved one die, found yourself at the scene of a car crash, saw an accident happen before your very eyes… the emotional claim it has on you breaks your soul in two. Nurses experience these kind of things regularly. You don’t see it on their face at the time because we compartmentalize these things so that we can continue to care for those still living.

I was rude to someone this weekend after they had experienced an unexpected trauma. I wasn’t very empathetic because I have been doing this for so long and have forgotten what that fresh nursing experience is like. You know the old saying, ‘nurses eat their young’? I vowed when I became a nurse not to be like that. I wanted to be someone you could come to and learn from without the bite that comes with it. Whether you are new or old to the medical profession, you are going to experience shock, pain, and heartbreak. We become conditioned to these things and shut it off. We flip our switches and continue to care for the next one.

To the newbies we may seem heartless after a failed code. I know that look you just gave us as we continue to eat our lunch and check in meds… all while you sit in silence with your heated cheeks and flooded eyes. I know what you are thinking… that we are all stone faced with paralyzed hearts. I promise you we feel it. We feel it when we go to lay our heads on our pillows at night, replaying the entire code in slow motion, second guessing every move we made, retracing the steps back and wondering if there was anything different we could have done. We feel it in our dreams as the nightmares fill our minds with the last agonizing breath that was let out. We feel it as we shower in the morning, we feel it every time we hear the tone of the overhead page, every time someone says our name a certain way, every time we slip our scrubs on. We feel it. But right now, right this minute, as we work we cannot feel it. You HAVE to learn to shut that switch off. You cannot freeze up and cry in that room, they need you. Everything you have ever learned, this is it. Shut that switch off and act fast now, cry later. We cannot carry the weight around with us as we continue to work and care for the living. Right now we have to put on a smile and walk to the next room and continue on. They need us.

The dream team

You can always tell the old from the new in this way. You come to trust each other and have unspoken communication. The trauma is not held on their face but you can see it in their eyes. We almost become telepathic. We could be in the same room as another nurse and say something without saying it at all. It’s like a superpower.

Our CNAs are one of the most important parts of what we do. There is one in particular that I would trust with my own life. She works the night shift, her name is Haley. Now Haley is soft spoken, at least to me. I nominate her every year for CNA of the year (probably not supposed to say that aloud but it’s my blog so I’ll do what I want). Haley has this gift I was just speaking about. She does her job without complaining, she shows up and works hard. I could tell her there’s a disaster in a room that needs attention and she doesn’t let out a groan, she just smiles and says, ‘I’ll take care of it’. Now I know I’m the wound care nurse but more often than I’d like I get put on a med cart. One morning I was coming in to start my shift and Haley comes out of a room with this face that we all recognize as the stone face (means she a veteran) and says the words no nurse wants to hear, ‘there’s something wrong with this patient but I can’t put my finger on it’. That one phrase can make any nurse cringe, it’s a enchantment for disaster… almost as if speaking the words “quiet” or “good day”. I may not speak to Haley on a regular basis or anything but I trust her, I have seen her work and she has earned that trust. Within 2 minutes we are calling a code blue for said patient, Haley saved this patients life. And afterwards, through the chaos and paperwork, I looked to check in on her and she was tending to the next patient. Continuing onward with a smile on her face. That is what these patients need. They need people who can continue to care for them even after the trauma next door.

So I know that I may seem like I wear the name badge ‘Tinman’, but I feel it too. And I’m sorry for not being more empathetic, I sometimes forget I was new once as well. I hope you continue on and create your own coping mechanisms so that you can continue to care for those that live on.

What do I eat now?!

If you’re like me and trying to get your health back on the road to recovery then you’ve probably read and watched all the documentaries about the food industry. The problem with all these documentaries is they tell you what you shouldn’t eat. All the foods with carcinogenic relations, conspiracy theories, visual aids showing you what happens to the foods after consumption… but where is the documentary showing you the good stuff? It’s like watching the news showing all the bad things in the world but ignoring the good, making everyone scared to even step out the door.

6 years ago I was in the 200 pound range. I was tired and sick all the time. I sounded like Darth Vader when I slept. I was depressed and had no energy. My sister who studies integrative nutrition moved in with me and I accepted her offer to help with my current lifestyle. She went through my cabinets and threw away all of my processed foods. She told me everything I shouldn’t have and then sent me to the store to fill my cabinets with better food. The only problem was I didn’t know what was considered healthy. The things she had eliminated from my cabinets were things I thought was supposed to be healthy… I came back with a bag of grapes. That’s when she knew I needed help 😂. She came with me to the store and showed me the foods that were beneficial to my health.

We took baby steps, she couldn’t teach me everything overnight so she gave me rules for grocery shopping, at first I was to stay away from the middle aisles, only shopping from the fresh foods section. Water. I drank lots of water. Once I got that down pat, she took me into the middle section and showed me how to read the ingredients of foods and what to avoid. ‘If you can’t pronounce it don’t eat’, that’s what she said. I wish I couldn’t pronounce kale. I started juicing my greens because I wasn’t accustom to eating them and had a hard time getting in the right amount for my daily value. This made it easier. Quinoa? I couldn’t pronounce that… I tried arguing that one. I hated it! However now it’s one of my favorites! As you change your lifestyle, your taste buds will change and you’ll grow to love these types of foods! I lost 82 pounds in 6 months! Mind you, this was 6 years ago. Since then I went through nursing school, started a busy lifestyle and reverted back to bad habits out of convenience. I got back up to the 160-170 pound range and the tired, low energy crap came right on back! I have to brag on myself for just a minute, I have no problem going cold turkey with anything I do. I love a good challenge. So back in May I said to myself, get yourself back into eating for good energy mode. It’s September now and I’m back down to 130. It was very easy to do since I already knew what foods to eat and what to avoid.

I do have a lot of people asking what do you eat? I love this question. I’m not on a diet. I’m eating for health and good energy. So instead of telling you all the stuff to avoid, I’ll share with you the things I do eat! I select Whole Foods when shopping. Leafy greens, vegetables, nuts, fruits, grains, sweet potato’s, superfoods. I check the ingredient labels and avoid anything labeled “fat free” or “sugar free”. I pick up the occasional juice from the juice bar in town “juicys”. I have a juicer but haven’t broke it back out, I will soon. I just realize I sound vegan. I do eat meat and dairy but sparingly. It’s the smallest food group on my food pyramid. I could probably go vegan if I wanted but I don’t want to have to take the time right now to calculate my essential proteins and supplement my B12 to ensure I’m getting the right amount daily. Soon I plan to making a shopping video, so if you are interested I can walk you through the grocery store! My goal is to eat to feel better, not to lose weight. I want that good energy! If you know of a good documentary that shows you beneficial foods and what to eat, tell me about it! I am sick of the documentaries telling you all the stuff you shouldn’t eat and watching chickens getting injected with antibiotics and such, just show me the good stuff!

Let’s play a game

I was picking my girls up from school yesterday, asking them the usual how was school questions. My teenager for the first time mirrored that question back at me and said how was your day mom? Can you believe that?! What a dear. I choose to answer questions like this with the best parts of my day, or the worse parts. Who likes the same ole same “my day was good”… bleh. Those people are boring. What was good or bad about your day, I want details! I told her that I made a spirit stick out of highlighters and how I challenged my wound tech to a race, and how she tricked me saying she wasn’t going to race me but took off running towards the mirror ball on the ceiling… that sneaky girl… I love her. My daughter looked at me with a smirk and said, “that doesn’t sound like work, sounds like you played all day”… haha well yes, I worked but between patients I played a little. Why not? If you are having a boring or hard day at work, I guarantee if you sneak a game in there it will brighten your day up, make you laugh, and give you a fun time to look back on! I cannot tell you how many times I’ve pulled my flashlight out, turned it up on my face in a dark room, just to call the measurements of a wound out in a haunting way 😂. There is no age limit to stop playing games. Recently I was telling a friend about my day at work, he said ‘I want to work where you work’ haha well I’m sure you could make your own workplace a fun place to!

Actually photo of me at work

I just started watching that tv series ‘This is us’. How have I missed this show all these years?! I love it! Something I thought was the most incredible thing was when the family had an awful Thanksgiving. They were at a motel, gas station hotdogs, hot as hades and the kids were miserable. The dad turned the entire thing into a game! Reminded me so much of my parents! What could’ve been the worse Thanksgiving for them turned into a ritual because he made it fun! I’ve done that with my girls countless times. I even convinced them during a scary thunderstorm that I was in charge of the weather and would anticipate a clap of thunder, raising my hands as if they were magic wands and throwing them out into the world. Those fear stricken kids turned into laughing, cackling, amused little girls. I’m going to challenge anyone reading this to play a game today. You will thank me later 😉

Starting Today

If you can stand in front of a mirror at 10 years old in the dark and summon the ghost of Bloody Mary you can stand in front of the mirror today, in the light and repeat this:

Today you are worthy. Today you will smile. Today you will remember you are a daughter of God. Today you will be strong. Today you will be humble. Today you will be kind. Today you will embrace life. Today you will create a new journey. Today you will look forward. Today you will be positive. Today you will be accountable. Today you will be honest. Today you will give charity. Today you will see the good in this world. Today you are a warrior. Today you will be brave. Today you will be healthy. Today you will love. Today you will be passionate. Today you will be happy. Today you will be supportive. Starting today you will be new.