Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Tonight, you are therapy.

**I'm posting this without a lot of proofreading and censoring.  Normally, I'd go back and rewrite my thoughts to make it more clear and fluid.  I've reread it, it feels choppy.  It is raw.  It will stay raw. 

I had a good day today.  It's been snowing here in Portland, but I made it to "the hill" fine and was so thankful for the opportunities set before me today.  I spent most of my day in the Pediatric PACU (post anesthesia care unit-the Operating Room) and the Pediatric ED.  Let me first just fill you in on the ED, I saw a few discharges and one admission.  Not a whole lot goin' on today, maybe the snow kept people away, but the PACU was altogether a different kind of day.  I started with patient admission (observing), followed the patient into surgery, yes I watched a "direct vagus nerve stimulation" procedure, and then followed the patient to recovery.

My patient:
27 months old, male, born with the umbilical cord wrapped around his neck twice and a knot in the actual cord that caused a lack of oxygen which led to cerebral palsy.

So, I was fine today.  My heart is a little more sensitive tonight.  The surgery was incredible, watching the surgeons, the nurses, the anesthesiologists, the actual procedure, sterile technique.  You could see a square of about 5 inches x 5 inches of his body, but nothing else.  So, when they pulled all the drapes off, I was a little helpless with the fact that this little babe was laying there on the table.  It wasn't the kind of emotion that would push one away from the situation, my word!, this little pacemaker-like-device is supposed to decrease the number of seizures this little body experiences.  It was the kind of emotion that stirs up compassion for our imperfect human bodies…maybe more.  I can't yet nail that one.

I went from the OR to recovery with the little guy and then went to fetch his mother when he was awake so she could come back and see him.  She comforted him, then the nurse asked her if she'd like to hold him and she did.  So, as he was being observed-vitals, pain, breathing on his own and waiting for a room on another floor to open up, his mother sat there and rocked him.

Tonight, as I reflect on my time with her, I want to go back.  I don't regret anything said, it felt special.  She was fairly soft spoken, very nurturing, and we just began to chat.  After all, I wasn't going anywhere, I was following this little guy in an exercise of observing the PACU.  She asked me about nursing school, told me about her other two boys, and then she began to share some things that made me realize the difficult nature of caring for someone utterly dependent.  He is developmentally delayed and will not walk.  I'm learning, cerebral palsy comes in different forms/varying degrees.  His was advanced, including the seizures and this new little device to help since medications were not working.  AND then, Mom began to share his story with me-all about her pregnancies with each boy and how she didn't know anything was wrong.  She recalled the day with me and came to a point where she began to break down, "I always cry when I get to this part."  Then, after a minute or so, she told me how the doctors had returned with the news that her 3rd child was affected by the knot in the umbilical cord.  As she cried and glanced up at me trying to read my reaction, I didn't budge, I just kept my gaze directly on her.  I have learned the significance and weight of eye contact.  I was standing across the bed as she spoke.  Sometimes I'm unclear as to what kind of physical contact is ok with patients and families.  I know it's good and I believe in it, but as a nursing student, I have not yet found my jive there.  So, I hugged her with my gaze.  I know how crazy that sounds, but I almost felt her appreciation-at least I sensed it.

Why do I want to go back?  For more.  This woman shared about a nursing friend doing medical missions in Mexico and how this friend was once a girl from the youth group she helped with.  Well, I said, I've done some of that too!  I'm nearly positive she was a believer.  What would I say to her different?  I prayed for your boy in there.  I prayed while they were setting out all the sterile instruments and when they peeled back the blue sterile drapes that covered his tiny body.  I wanted to stay and offer her more kindness, a pat on the back for her commitment to motherhood at it's most demanding.

I doubt I'll ever see her again. If I do, I think I will hug her and tell her I admire the way she looks at her boy and loves him so well, despite how exhausting and demanding the care.  I think this woman understood the worth of a soul.

I had a friend in college share about a book she'd read about autism.  There's one thing she said that has stayed with me over the last 14ish years.  I don't know the book, sorry, but it was something about how children (people) with developmental disabilities will be even more glorious when they are made new in heaven.  That God has a special place for these kids of His and that, when we are all made whole, they will no longer be inhibited to express all the beauty that makes them who they are.  I thought about that today.  I thought about that little guy, unhindered by his physical and mental constraints.

I'm grateful for today, for my time with this little guy and his mom.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Learn from me...

Nothing wonderfully insightful here.  Just plain and simple.  A verse that is often referred to.
Sometimes the familiar is overlooked, passed over quickly.
This is how it goes when I read words I've read before.
I quickly read past.
Nothing wonderfully insightful.
A simple reminder.
HE says, "learn from me…".  I like that.  
The NLT is, "Let me teach you…".
Rest does not always come with sitting still. 
My body may be busy, even my mind, but I will look for my soul to rest when I go to Him. 
"Come to me…and you will find rest."

Matthew 11:28-30  NIV

Matthew 11:28-30 NLT

Sunday, January 08, 2012

This brought peace and rest.
I am so often caught in between death by paralysis or death by over exertion.
This is the solution.  I know it, I have known it.  I will practice it.
This year, this blog, His Word.
I'm hopeful this place will be my go to when I want to stash away a
lil' somethin' that's sweeter than HONEY.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Running Analogies

I was never much of a runner in high school.  It seems running has gained popularity in recent years or maybe it's that I've come around to this pastime and given it more attention over the last several years.  In giving it more of my attention, I'm now aware of running gear and magazines and the latest technology be it shoes or GPS systems to track distance and time.  Nevertheless, it was "not my thang" until I went off to college.  In high school, it was volleyball-basketball-track, repeat.  Year after year.  And track, well, I didn't participate willingly, but was HIGHLY encouraged (or rather it was decided for me) by my father who very firmly believed in "off season" training.  In his wisdom, he knew we (the girls I played with) wouldn't perform well in volleyball and basketball if we sat out track season and laid around all summer long.  So, I did learn to run in track, but it was a bit unwillingly.

I'm back in Powers for the holidays and have been working the old stomping grounds, pushing it up that hill more than usual.  This morning, I had several flashback to those track workouts and in so had a little insight into life.  Those track workouts were unpleasant, mostly because our coach made us run hills with 5 pound leg weights.  You might not think that's much, but the hill I'm referring to is no small feat.  '"Run 5 hills and then you're done," coach trumped as he handed me two bright blue sand-filled bags with black velcro straps to wrap around my ankles.'  UGH!

This morning, starting out 2012 with a healthy dose of resolve, I went and ran hills (albeit minus the extra weight).  No, it was not pleasant.  No, I did not run 5.  I ran 2.5, walked the remaining, and was satisfied that I could still run that hill.  I tackled it PARTLY because I took up running as a pastime after high school to try and stay in shape, which means I've learned to enjoy running.  I tackled it MOSTLY by sheer will of my mind and body.  The Nike slogan, "Just do it," might suffice to describe my sentiments toward this feat.

Here is my profound point amidst the throw back to nearly (gulp!) 20 years, I know how I get through pain.  I did it this morning when I ran those hills and I don't think I'm alone or special in the use of this particular strategy.  I wore a hat this morning because it was raining.  The hat became an imperative piece of clothing in undergirding this strategy.  I put my head down and just ran.  I could see out of the sides of my view and I have the cracks of the hill and Cruiser footprints imbedded in my memory so I knew where I was and how much further I had to go, but for the life of me, the thought of looking up and seeing the corner and then the top of the water tower was too crushing a sight and even thought to make myself look up from under my cap.  So, like I said, I put my head down and ran.

I do this when things seem tough.  I do this when I think things are going to be tough.  It's a coping mechanism that has worked and pushed me to get through.  I focus on the little tasks, the cracks in the road, the small imminent details of school, work, family, friends…focus on the little things and the big things either disappear, in some cases, or are dissolved by finishing the small things.  On one hand, I think this is a mighty great strategy in accomplishing goals, but it's only useful if you've stopped long enough to set the big goals and work toward them.  On the other hand, it's a lousy plan if you lose sight of your surroundings (family, friends, life etc.) because you've focused on the details and grit to get through.

Oh my, I do not claim in this to have an answer to the juxtaposition I present.  I'm merely presenting it as my own insight and possibly as a challenge to the way I move through life.  It reminds me of a saying I think is common in our culture, "Your greatest strength may also be your greatest weakness."

So, in this new year, 2012, I am going to continue to put my head down and work hard, but I am also going to work on the balance of looking up more often to see the water tower ahead, to check myself in the going and not bury my head 'til it's over…because it's really never over.