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 😉

‘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.

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.

YOU ARE ENOUGH

Do you ever hear that voice inside your head that tells you, ‘you’re not enough’? I went through a therapy once that I would say changed my life. This person counseling me to confront traumatic events from my past had me close my eyes and imagine I was watching my life on a tv screen. He told me to hit the rewind button and go back to the event that caused me so much hurt in my life. An event I had chose to ignore until that day, an event that caused me to build walls that shut people out and made me into a cold person. He asked me to hit the pause button and step inside the tv to have a moment with my former self. I did as I was instructed during this session. I stepped in and saw that young girl, alone and hurt. I hated it. I empathize with that girl. I understood what she was going through. He then told me that in this part I was to imagine my former self could only hear and see me as the scene was paused. He told me to tell her I loved her. He wanted me to tell her all the things I wish she had known at that time. I don’t think I had ever talked to myself before. At least not in a kind way. As silly as it may sound this changed my life. The way I talked to myself before was cruel, I was my biggest critic.

Be your biggest cheerleader! Do not tell yourself you are not good enough, even if everyone else is saying it! Think about it, would you ever look at your child who ask to try out for the basketball team that they are not good enough to make it?! No! The answer is no! Go back to school, apply for that job, get in that gym! You are good enough! Change the way you talk to yourself. I struggle with this sometimes, especially when other people make me feel like I am less important than I am. Maybe someone blows you off, or you fail at something new you tried, it doesn’t matter… try it again, because you are worth more than you think. It took me far too long to realize this. That friend who cuts you out of their life, they don’t deserve you. That guy who ghosted you, he doesn’t deserve you. That school you wanted to get into that sent a regret to inform you notice? You got that right, they don’t deserve you! Move along and prove that you can be just as happy and successful in life without the people who have encouraged those negative voices in your head to gossip.

With all that being said, I AM ENOUGH!

Too much estrogen in here

Four females in one house… FOUR! Let it be known now that I used to pray for 10 kids and I wanted all girls. What I didn’t know I was getting at the time was all my dang clothes missing. Where’s my makeup kids? Has anyone seen the hairbrush? Why are you crying… why are you angry? What emotion is that?! Is that fingernail polish on the mirror? Oh honey, those are waxing strips not stickers, eeekkk!

Ignore the fire alarm on the wall… I smashed it with a hammer.

My washer malfunctioned last week and so on Sunday when my amazing self fixed her right up I did TEN loads of laundry! Ten loads and this morning I wake up to not 1 but all my kids prancing around in my clothes.

The kid told me to buy those pajama shorts cause they made me look like Kim Kardashian… I see your trickery kid… well played 😑

You may think well you have little Maleah and she into sports and picks up hulk mask at stores to chase people around, almost all her friends are boys and she’d be the first to tackle anyone messing with her but the girl has an extreme feminine side. She cries while watching full house, loves to model and has a very nurturing personality! Don’t let her fool you, I’ve seen her scavenging through my stuff… nothing is safe here.

Look at that sweet ball of emotions 😭

And who the heck is this Jo Jo chick with the big bows? Why do we need all her stuff and why does it all look like something the 80’s puked on? Kali, on the other end of the spectrum wants all this Billie Eilish crap, blue hair, baggy clothes… mom can I get my nose pierced… no ma’am. Then I get the clap back, well you have your nose pierced! You don’t want to have this fight with me kid. You won’t win.

We comprised on a Jo Jo bow that wouldn’t push her head off her neck.

I couldn’t tell you if boys are any easier because I have none. However I grew up with 6 brothers and I feel like I escaped death on a daily basis. A friend of mine has boys and has sent some photos of daily activities like climbing up trees and sorts, it gives me angina… go on girls, you go right ahead and paint that bathroom mirror to match your toes, I’m cool with it now.

Thanks for reading my morning mom rant. I know I’ll miss these days when they are off to college, living their adult lives… or perhaps I’ll be sitting on the beach writing a novel without the worry of the neighbors calling the police for a domestic violence dispute over the screaming sounds of little children fighting over who was looking at who first. That was the longest sentence I’ve ever wrote.

Transformation

Ten years ago I was a completely different person. I’m sorry if you knew me then! I was actually pretty mean (can you believe that?! 😉). I didn’t work or have anything passed a 9th grade education. I was in with a pretty bad crowd, doing things that would mortify my current social circle. I ran from help too, literally, my sweet mom tried to get me help once at a rehab center and I cut like a rug! It wasn’t until I hit rock bottom that I decided a change was in order. 86 years in prison was what I was staring down the barrel at… sweet little ole me, in prison? Naw dude.

I was reading something last night about how to change your pain into growth. It talked about how to those moments we regret the most help us grow the most! Cinderella wouldn’t be the same story if it didn’t involve the transformation, that’s the best part!

Here’s my Cinderella transformation

I’d normally be to humiliated to share this with anyone. But if it can help at least one person out there create a positive change in their life, it’s worth it! 10 years later and I have a career, an education, 3 children whom I adore, hobbies, motivation to press forward and most of all FREEDOM.

Creating change is painful, at times you may find yourself asking God to help you change without the agony that you know is coming. That’s okay. Even Christ knelt before God and asked, ‘Is there no other way?’ There isn’t. Transformation happens in the storm, embrace it! Go through that darkness holding onto to the thought of what awaits at the end. You can do it!

I was watching Cable girls last night and the president of the phone company was moving forward with the idea a woman presented, she had a rough background and was called out on it, I’ll paraphrase what this wicked woman said, “you can’t honestly be considering letting someone like her with her background move forward in this company!” In which Mr. President responded, “You’d be surprised to learn where I come from.” And I felt that. 🙌🏼

I have a few tips if you’re seeking change in your life. No you don’t have to be some big mafia member seeking a quiet happy life… whether it’s going to the gym more, cooking dinner regularly, growing a garden, or anything you may have had on your New Years resolution list that you axed the 2nd week of January, change is change and it will be hard.

First stop looking at your to do list as a whole and pick 1 or 2 things you could do different today. Then continue to do them tomorrow, and the next day. Until you have made those things habits. They say it takes about a month to create a new habit, I find it takes me at least 2! Think about the big picture, you don’t just splash some paint on there and it’s done, don’t look at your goals and think I’ll do this all tomorrow. You have to start somewhere and make those small things happen before added more paint to the picture.

Second, stop beating yourself up for the past. You cannot change it. It’s done for, learn from it. Make those weakness’s your strengths. Serve others, get in that soup kitchen and change the karma you’ve been boomeranging to yourself. Give back all that you’ve taken, help others make it through their dark time.

Lastly, tell me about it! I want to know what you’ve done to create change in your lives! Tell me your Cinderella story! I love hearing them!