Thursday, May 29, 2014


Sometimes in my work we come across things that are too horrible for words. Those are the times I find myself holding on to things, and I don't feel comfortable sharing them. Sometimes I do, and I usually regret when that happens. The last few months have been like that. It started with one event, that took me a long time to work through. The kind that invades your dreams, you cry when there is no reason. And when you share, they look at you like, "you are always okay with this stuff." But this time I wasn't. Then there was the tornado. I didn't know the ones that died. I knew a lot of their friends. I met some of them. And I learned the details. Finally the abuse case that the experienced staff said, "The worst I've seen." I didn't see the child, I saw the XRays. I saw the staff that took care of them. And I know. My head is full, my heart is broken, and I don't know how to deal with it. The religious ones would say take it to the Lord. The non-religious would say talk it out (like you can share it), and they would want to help me, but you really can't. It's like the proverbial train wreck. I love being in the traumas, I love helping, and frankly I'm good at it. I'm kinda speechless at this point. Need to talk, can't say the words. I swear I was going to tonight, but I need to contain. Oh well. Tomorrow is another day. Another adventure in what can go wrong with the human body.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Thoughts on a Brother

My brother passed away last week. Years of bad decisions, a life of choices that led to an outcome he wasn't expecting. I could go on and on about that, but there is no need. Robert was a man who always kicked against the rules. He rebelled against his parents, the "man", his bosses, and God. Yet he loved his wife and family. Our relationship was complicated by the age difference. He was almost 7 years older than I was, so we never really played together. He moved out in the 12th grade and lived with my grandparents in another town, then went into the service. There he met and married his wife and began his life with her. It's funny, the last few days, looking back at pictures, remembering stories, all that stuff you do when someone dies. I get frustrated because I want to remember more than I do, yet the main thing is that he was always there. I have a brother, and now he is gone. He is with my parents. And I hope he is at peace with himself. The funeral was sweet. I was so worried that it was going to be impersonal, but the minister was able to bring personal touches in, he actually knew my brother some, and he made it one of the better services I've been to. So many details, some forgotten, most taken care of. I will say, I've done this several times now, funeral planning sucks. The experts at it are in it for the money, so you have to edit much of what they say. You don't want to spend money on something that has little value, but you don't want to be cheap. At the end, I looked at the family he left behind. They are not the perfect family - think of the Cleavers, but they loved him. They celebrated his life in their own way, they showed their character individually. The son was able to stand up and share his heart about his dad, I could not have been prouder of the man he has become. The legacy Robert leaves is a good one. His time on earth was short, but the trace he leaves is good.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Letter to a Young Nurse

I've been remembering what it's like to be a new nurse lately. It's been 10 years now, and I still love, passionately my choice for a career. I didn't choose this first, I had another life, but I think nursing chose me. Working with you, and others like you, has reminded me of things that I've learned that I would like to share with you today. Some of these things are very applicable to you, and some you may see as you grow in your life. Some you may wish away. But hear my thoughts, and remember that there is a reason each of these is shared. First, remember why you became a nurse. For some it's a job, for some it's to return to society what has been given them, for some it seems the most natural thing in the world. But on those days where you don't like your patients, your co-workers, or your job, remember. Remember the joy of a child that smiles at you when you give them a popsicle. Or being able to teach a parent how to care for their child. There will be days when every patient or parent (depending on the age) is an idiot. And there are constantly going to be people that are mean to you, they will take advantage of everything you have to offer them. How do you maintain a proper spirit with these people? It's compassion. For me, I try to remember how Jesus dealt with the masses that surrounded him. Many of them only wanted what he had to offer, but didn't want any change in their life. Many of them were the outcasts of society, yet there was something that attracted them to him. I want to be that person to our patients. Despite how awful they are to me, I want to offer them kindness, gentleness, and peace. I fear I let you down in seeing that in me often, but that is the direction I am headed. Remember these are misguided, unregenerate people. We need to be what they often are not. The hardest thing for me is to not judge others. I find myself digging deep within to avoid this, and it causes me pain every time I hear someone being harsh to a situation that we don't know all the details about. Example: a kid that does something when he should have been in school - everyone will say, "why didn't the parents have the kids in school?" But what we don't know is how much the parent has done (or not done) to solve this. We judge without really knowing the facts, but in reality the parent needs to hear from us that we are sorry this has happened to them. Your touch, your lack of judgement, may be the thing that helps them get through this. Building a team takes a lot of work. It takes investing in your co-workers. You are now out of school, we are not competitors anymore. Make sure that when you have learning opportunities that you share them with your teammates. Other new grads now, and then as time passes, other staff members. Never take opportunity away from someone else, encourage them to be at your side so you can both learn. This makes us all better, not just one person. When another staff member pulls you aside and says they would have done this another way, listen. You might have been right, but you might learn a better way to do a skill. Seek out those that are better than you, ask them to teach you. No matter how good you are, you can always be better. Don't let pride run your life, be meek, gentle, and willing to learn. Don't find yourself always sitting around the nurses station. Sure, now and then it's fine, but be sure to lead out in doing things, learning things for yourself. Anyone can be part of the herd, but you are responsible for your own self. Confidence comes from doing, not from hearing it from another. Be honest is admitting that you are in over your head, people will respect that. When you see something that interests you, follow your questions, learn. You work in a place where learning is valued, don't waste that. Always remember, you are there to work, you are there to serve, and we are priviledged to be in a place where we can do it well. Be positive. Please. If you want change, make it happen. Start with yourself. We can't change everything, but we can change our attitude about things, we can make some change happen. If you always see the negative, you will never see what does work well. Now I this is coming from Ms. Eeyore herself, but it's true. Last, look around you. Find the joy in everything you see. One of my first thoughts when I came to this hospital was that who can be grumpy in a place where you are around kids all day? I can't. So share that with all you see.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Devotions for the Rest of us #12

"Oh Precious is the Blood, that makes us white as snow...."

As Christians we sing about the blood of Jesus, we talk about how we are covered by His blood, we are amazed at how it was shed for us. But what do we really think about blood?

In health care we fear it. It has contaminates in it. If someone has a disease it is often carried by the blood or shows up by blood studies. It's very personal. We do everything we can to make sure that no one's blood touches us, because of all the things that can be bad.

It's donated, "Give life!" Because man can't make an exact copy, we can't just replace the real thing. In fact, you can donate your own blood before you have surgery if you need. But donating blood is a very precious thing and something that everyone who is eligible should do.

So what got me thinking this way? The other day I had a patient that we had to emergently take to the OR, and I went into the room with him. When all was said and done, and I returned to the ER, I had a lot of paperwork to write about this case. I had carried monitors and other equipment back from the OR and it had blood on it. Some was transferred to my arms as I carried things. Later, when it was pointed out to me, I felt quite a bit of emotion as I washed it off. As I washed this patient off of me. This patient.

I only had a short time to care for this patient, and his family will never know the effect of how his life touched mine. I'll never know what he was like in his life but I learned much from him. Hopefully the next time I see someone like him I can be quicker, better. But also the intersection of our lives. We sometimes only see them for minutes, yet we are so touched by their love, their pain, their emotions.

So at the end of it all, I was touched by him. And it was very personal. And he will always be part of me, no matter how much I clean.

You see, part of his life was on me, and I had to wash it off. Yet, I need the blood of our wonderful Lord on me to be clean. His life. Not to be washed off, but to wash me. Wonderful, amazing blood. Life.

Sunday, October 09, 2011

Devotions for the Rest of Us #11

I've recently had several occasions to consider what our freedom in Christ means. It amazes me how so many of us can become entrapped in what we think we must do and what we think is wrong. I suspect you can build a case for most anything with scripture, because we seem to do it on a regular basis. We trap each other, then judge each other, forgetting our own entanglements.

Our son and his wife have a puppy that frequently gets to come over and play here. They live in an apartment and Roman must be on a leash there. It's amazing to watch him when he comes here, there are three acres that he can run over, and as long as he responds to our calls, he gets to run free. He starts very hesitant, but then as he realizes that he can go, he bounds off, smelling the trees, the grass, and follows our dogs everywhere.

Is that how we are? When we are first brought into the kingdom, we first often see ourselves as being in this place of "you can't do this, you can't do that." We often fail to see it's not what we can't do, but what we can.

The old desires fall away. We aren't bound by things, we change our desires. So if you choose to show your faith in a certain way, by your dress, by your stickers on your car, it's fine. But am I less of a believer if I don't? I think not, I think that we are all on this journey, and the paths may vary, but He leads us all the way.

What I see is that where I am weak, will you come beside me? Where I am strong, I'll be beside you. Not to judge you, but to lift you up, to encourage you. And because some things are easy for you and not for me, be understanding. Math is a huge struggle, but history comes alive for me. For you, some things are easy to see, for me not. Neither of us is wrong, but He made us all different. Yet images of Him.

And where I want to live is at the foot of the cross. Because there we are all the same.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

So What Do You Think This Means....

I have a co-worker that is quick to speak... a lot. She talks, and talks, and talks... and speaks loudly. She's not mean or rude, or anything like that but lately it's been getting on my nerves. You see, I've really been convicted over the last six months or so to not speak needlessly just to hear the sound of my own voice. I'll call her Janie for the purpose of this story.

I hope you understand, I'm not saying that Janie is bothersome. In fact, the other day in our little meeting before we went out to face the patients, one of the women had a quote for the day, to inspire us. She then called on Janie to elaborate on it. I wanted to scream... the quote needed no comment!!!! AAAHHHHH You must understand, Janie is sweet, will do anything for you.

So last night I'm sleeping, no medications or anything to induce it. I was so tired from a very busy day. In the dream for some reason I have the dogs and Janie and we are going to my tax accountant's office. For unknown reasons it's in North Little Rock. So I'm driving, Janie is talking and I'm driving and Janie is talking..... and all of a sudden I realize where I am, but it's different. Now there's this bridge going straight up. I'm terrified of straight up and I'm terrified of bridges. So, I "put on my big girl panties" and hit the gas. We fly up the bridge/hill, top it, and OH NO, it's a sudden drop (no road) into a body of water!

As I woke up, my fears screaming in my ears, I realize THAT JANIE IS STILL TALKING!!!!!!!!

I need therapy

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

And Then I Went Shopping

I went on my first mission trip in May to Honduras at the ripe old age of 51. I've been supporting my kids and others for years on these trips but this was to be my big adventure. I've never been out of the country, so the whole experience was to be new.

I won't go into all the details, but I was on a medical mission trip with group of people from a different church than I attend. The doctor that leads the trip invited me last year, but I was unable to pull everything together. Actually, I was so nervous about the whole thing that I was really relieved. I kept thinking of all the things that would be difficult: plane trips (it goes better if I am drugged), bus rides in mountains (again, probably better if I am drugged), and bathroom issues..... (my imagination was not far from wrong on this one).

The flight down was great, first day was good, and then they were going to take us shopping. This did involve one of those bus rides that stressed me. They told us that we would be fairly safe where we were going, but to still stay with others. Of course, the first thing that happened is I kept getting separated from others. We only had a short period of time to shop, and I wanted to get gifts for my three sons, the two daughters in law, and my husband.

I ended up going to one of the larger shops and spending a lot of time on picking out earrings for the girls. Suddenly I realized that I only had a few minutes to pick out t-shirts and this shop was not organized well. There were a lot of gecko shirts that were sooooo cute, however I was trying to find different sizes, do the conversion for the money (I only had cash), you can imagine. So I found several shirts, including two that had lots of gecko's frolicking together. I was excited, still had money left over for essentials I might need.

So I head back to the bus with minutes to spare! One of my friends asked to see my purchases, I was so proud. I showed her the earrings, then the shirts. And that's when she laughed and pointed out that I had gecko's in all sorts of sexual positions, not innocent frolicking.

So now when I tell people about my mission trip, I have to humble myself and tell them how I bought gecko porn for my children.