Breaking Blue

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This sweet wine mug was a gift from a dear postpartum nurse friend and ally!  It’s great, she’s great I miss the people in black&white ❤

Remember when I spent my last semester of nursing school binge-watching Breaking Bad?  Then there was Downton Abby (and then Matthew died and I couldn’t move on).  A few weeks ago I stumbled on this number ‘Jane The Virgin’ thinking it would be a re-make of ‘Secret Life of the American Teenager’ (yes…I watched that too..) and it basically is.  Except for it knows that it’s a crazy show and totally plays it up so it works!  Anyways, a few weeks ago I found out that the newest episodes aren’t on Netflix.  Shoot.  So while waiting for J.T.V to get updated on the streaming service I’m willing to pay for, I resorted to test-tasting ‘Orange Is The New Black’.  Ever heard of it?  Probably.  I’d heard of it but really wasn’t planning on watching it because watching a story about a gal in a ladies prison just didn’t appeal to me (…and a high school science teacher becoming a methamphetamine drug lord did….?).  After 2 episodes before working a nightshift  I couldn’t keep going.  Not because I wasn’t getting into the storyline a bit, but because all the emotions it was swimming through (and some of the character/environmental set-up) was totally giving me deja-vu to working in a womens hospital.  Not the way to walk into night shift eh? Oh yeah, and I’m not saying that my workplace is a prison.  Just that is shares a lot of the same emotional waves and colleague relations that are portrayed in this particular drama that takes place in a womens prison!  (but without the lesbian sex), and we have a ton of sharp things everywhere that we aren’t strip-searched for.  Thank goodness because I’d be incarcerated for the rest of my life for the number of times I find packages of needles in my washing machine…oops.

I can’t figure out if I like this show or not.  It depends how close I am to my next shift.  But for real this so reminds me of learning the ropes of bedside nursing (especially womens health!!) Not so much about patient-nurse relations but more of nurse-nurse relations.  It’s a total jungle out there. If you work in a hospital you know what I mean.  As a new nurse you are the Piper Chapman of your environment and you will probably meet a Miss Claudette, a Red, a Nicky, and maybe a Yoga Jones.  You will most definitely have a Crazy Eyes on your unit.  A lot of people won’t be able to recall her name but they definitely know who she is by some notable feature .  Nothing labels you as the unit ‘Crazy Eyes’ quite like running into a resident in a public restroom outside of work and staring at them for about 30 seconds before saying:

Me: “you work at Magee right?  So do I.”

Resident: “oh! yeah. I know you…” *looks confused*

Me: “it’s the hair.”

Resident: “It really is.”

So here’s the scuttle at work and life:

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When your preceptor surveys your face after saying you’re going to do something solo…

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When the physician points out the stupid thing you did, and another nurse looks at you with the “What The Heck Is She Even Doing?..Look” (the answer is: I DO NOT KNOW! I’ll let you  know when that changes, but if you’ve got a minute to spare I could really use another set of hands to help me slap a band-aid over whatever this nutzo situation is! K. Thanks.)

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But you still manage to behave accordingly:

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Angrily shoving your scrubs into the scrub machine’s mouth after a bad day:

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…but when you get into your shower:

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Nothing like a hot shower with the essential oils of “Failure” “Shame” and “Insecurity”

When you catch a nosy family member looking at the computer chart in the patient’s room and deciding they can interpret the fetal heart rate tracing/contraction pattern to the patient instead of you.

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Patient’s Mom: “so when do we go for a c-section?”                        Me: “labor is long.”

Postpartum Throwback: When it’s 30 min before shift change and you have a mag patient who just lost BOTH IV access sites, and a patient being ruled out for a PE all the sudden:

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How the heck am I going to explain this to the oncoming nurse??!

How I actually spend my off days:

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When your admission is kinda bossy/defensive and says she’s going to have a natural birth…

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Listen, I’m all for you achieving your dream of feeling your vagina rip in half but how about you tone it down and just see how this goes eh?  Nobody is going to force an epidural up your spine, we  won’t need to because I’m 80% sure you’ll try to put it in yourself at some point. **Really guys, I’m a full on supporter of natural-goers, when they get it done it’s so cool and you feel so happy for them because they are proud of themselves–as anyone should be after having a baby no matter how they do it!

What the Mother-Baby unit looks like between 10am and 1pm and everyone is trying to leave. (Doctors, nurses, patients, discharges, students, and visitors all trying to move at the same time in the same place.  Oh, plus babies.)

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When a (rather bossy-self-important-slightly-too-well-read) patient says that her pain isn’t under control because we’re giving her Motrin and her doctor said to take ibuprofen. 

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Let’s fix that med order STAT!….

LDR vs. Postpartum on a Bad Day:

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**This is for funny sake, we all have bad days and sometimes the nature of our positions sort of pits us up for frustration towards other departments even when it really isn’t anything the other did.  You’re just a tired grump who doesn’t want a 6:50pm admission.

Being asked to do skin-to-skin in the OR when you have 5 scheduled and 2 surprise c-sections back to back:

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Trying to use the new online scheduling system:

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When you’re about to go into a room to NAN a baby and a provider (whom you’ve never seen before in your life) pulls you aside and says “I know she’s planning on bottlefeeding but can you just get her to breastfeed?  Tell her the baby looks like he wants to breastfeed.” You:

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*I will never guilt-convert a mom to breastfeeding.  I will offer/explain and if she seems curious I’ll help her, encourage her etc… BUT if she flat out says she’s bottlefeeding, has 1+ other kids I’m not even going there. 

Charge nurses making assignments for the next shift:

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 When parents watch you do anything in the nursery:

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 When your patient tells you she’ll never send her baby to the nursery because “they hit the babies down there!”…ok so I’ll make a ‘Do Not Resuscitate’ crib card for your kid…

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When you see the next shift come on and you’re team is exploding with deliveries, security has been called several times for crazy family members and a then there’s a Code Blue:

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So I tried to find more nice-not-irritated GIFs and funnies to share with you about how many super cool patient and nurse interactions I’ve had recently too and then I got tired of making my computer over-heat with all the animations on it’s desktop. In case I never told you (because I never talk to you anymore..) I had a little work-shift recently.  I transferred from the Mother-Baby Unit to Labor & Delivery.  You know what is funny?  (and kind of sad) for the time I was feeling the itch to do something else the only thing I was sure of was that I didn’t want to do L&D.  I was 100% positive that it was the last place on nursey earth I would willingly sell myself too and so now I’m there…makes total sense.  No really, for me it kinda does!   Lately my life trend has been “Everything happening out of the blue and all at once or not at all”.  So I guess this fits.

Leaving my first nurse job was really hard because it’s hard to leave somewhere you finally feel somewhat comfortable/capable, and where you’re plugged into the social scuttle with friends and people who look out for you and help you survive the day.  Entering a different unit in the same hospital doesn’t have all the difficulties of changing work environments entirely but it still has it’s share of transitional oddities.  People can be familiar with you but not have the same connection and support that you built with your previous unit.  That takes time and unfortunately you sort of have to prove yourself all over again 😦 And by that I mean you have to demonstrate that you are able to carry out safe patient care on that unit and contribute to your team effectively.  I remember this from starting on postpartum too, it felt like everyone had to be my teacher and not my friend and I was drowning.  This is not bad really, it is how it has to be while you are new until you can swim without arm floaties.  Plus, it’s better to have more eyes on you than too few.  But being the new kid on the playground is lonely, you know how that is.

So for now I’m helping birth the bebbies and living like anyone would live when they see a lot of concentrated glory and sin.  Which is basically living to go home and sleep off your emotions.  I am actually terrified of each shift I have yet to complete of my labor/delivery nurse life and my main coping mechanisms are melatonin, yoga and car crying.  At this rate I’ll live till I’m 30.   *JOKES GUYS,jokes.*  I’m probably going to make it a few more years after that but the whole living in terror of not knowing how to handle a situation or doing something that might hurt a patient or kill their baby (not to mention the possibility of being torn in half by the law if they take you to court) is a little overwhelming when you think about it for more than 5 seconds…

The other day Jonathan was encouraging me after work by saying how if there was a situation in which I didn’t know what to do or was scared all I needed to do was call for help.  My response was not my proudest moment but it was the eruption of a cold fact–help isn’t always a certainty.  There are times when there is nobody available to come help.  The charge nurse is in a delivery, your team is all having issues at once.  The whole unit is trying to bail out the water but we feel the boat struggle to stay above water.  And it’s true for all of medicine but so so much in birth—Minutes Matter.  Each minute waiting for a baby’s heart rate to return to baseline is another minute of potential wasted time if it ends in going to the operating room.  What if I wait too long?  What if my slowness to act or know what to do causes permanent damage to a newborn or worse–permanent sorrow to a family?  What if I act incorrectly and loose the respect of my coworkers and the confidence of my patient?  What if I try to do the right thing and then I get an email in my inbox to have a conference with the manager over a bad situation?  What if I get deposed and find out in that case I forgot to chart my interventions? So yes, in most cases I always have help at hand.  But I have to think and prepare like I will have none.  Maybe this isn’t the best way to think but for now it’s how I’m learning to cope with great responsibility and great fear of what can happen.

Aside from the gloom and doom of my catastrophic “chicken little” style thoughts up there I can’t not give great admiration and credit to the nurses I work with, both in my postpartum experience and now in labor &  delivery.  They are super and I love watching each individual nurses strengths.  Someone is a toco wizard while another is awesome at IV’s and another can bring calm to any crazy meltdown, not to mention the charge nurses who make you feel like things are just gonna have to be O.K. no matter what.  There’s nothing quite like needing help and the nurse who walks in the door saves your nursey butt! (or at least makes you look less dumb in front of the patient) Believe me, I know this feeling well 😉   When staffing is horrible and the expectations placed by management are insane, nurses protect their own.  The nurses I watch in the labor suite survive on teamwork and maybe that’s part of why I fear the breakdown/lack of the team.  In reality over the short time I’ve been learning how to do labor&delivery I have always had helpful teams and preceptors.  I know that 99% of the time that is the case and it’ll be fine.  But that doesn’t really make me feel less crazy.

I think the thing that keeps me level (at least while on the clock) is meditating on the belief that God goes before me in that next shift.  He already knows the patients I will care for and he has predetermined that our paths will cross as part of his plan.  Even when I am angry, fearful and don’t see a good reason for things to occur in the way they occur or when I feel extremely incompetent to deal with a patient or situation.

“The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.” Deuteronomy 31:8

The other day I was discussing the question of what make it ‘easier’ to believe in Heaven.  My thoughts about Heaven and Hell have changed over my life and now Heaven to me is when God makes everything right, redeemed, and relationships whole again.  Hell is a space without God and therefore void of relationship–which to a creature built for relationship is death.  Seeing sin and sorrow doesn’t weaken my belief that there is a God or Heaven, it just heightens my need to see them.  Listening to a man curse at the mother of his child, seeing fear in a man’s face as his wife is emergently whisked away to the operating room, looking at a mother’s face fall when the last bit of hope for a miracle is dashed and her stillborn is really dead.  To zip a tiny body bag shut over small blue feet decorated with a yellow tag.  Those are the moments when our souls simultaneously cry out “God, why!?” and “God…when?”.  And after that surge, there can be a small peace.  A small place of great calm and rest in the hope of Heaven.  Not in a self-righteous place of reward for earthly living, but in the real dwelling place of a relational God who pursues us most fervently in the midst of our sin and our broken world.   The Heaven he will build on earth in His own time, which is far beyond our comprehension.  So I guess my real coping mechanism is just I have to believe that it won’t be this way someday, and that for now there is wonderful glory in even the darkest moments through the kind souls I work with and the souls we are privileged to care for.

As always, if all that I just said there isn’t your cup of tea that is all good and I just say those things because it’s my blog and I’ll theologically cry if I want too but am so happy you stuck around even if it was just for kicks.  So much love to you!

Thanks for listening!  Hope you’re day is rad.

Also, if the title of this post is confusing and irrelevant, you’re right.  It was my weak attempt to referencing one of my favorite TV shows and the change from me wearing black&white scrubs to blue scrubs.  Haha, thanks for indulging me..

 

 

 

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The Best Story

So Hey. Hai.  Bon-Joyr (said with obnoxious twang).

Happy Valentines Day you doughnut!  Quit yer fussin’ about it and eat these:

IMG_20150214_102404Pink Dreamz.

Here are a few things for you to just know, you are my valentine and cannot do anything about it–I LOVE that.  Sarcastic hater to V-Day fanatic I want to wrap you in a cloud of ground up candy hearts.

This human also cannot escape being my Valentine…

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because you know I’m all ’bout that bass

*Dear Jonathan: if you are reading this and your eyebrows raise a little bit I have only had cookies and coffee for breakfast today.  That might clear things up.*

And to the rest of ya’ll: I know this is getting annoying but please let me do it…please please please okthanks.

OMG. BECKY.  Look. at. that. RING.

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Right now my crusty self is sitting in my room drinking coffee bean blood, trying to recollect what happened the past several weeks with days and nights (I can’t tell the difference anyways).  Guess some things never change…?(!) KIDDING.  Actually, if you know me you know that it’s an event if I DO remember what I did 12-24 hours ago.  What I’m experiencing now is essentially a work-hangover. With a lot of baby.

So barf. (yeah, a lot of it. All night.)

Before we get cozy you know I like me some life-visuals.

Most of my more-experienced co-workers lives with me in it:

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Explaining anything ever.

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It is still so dang odd to be on the other side of student-hood.  When I try talking with pods of nursing students on the floor it usually ends up in a confirmation that I’m old and weird just trying to kick it with the young folks.  But sometimes they laugh and if I remember correctly, laughing is better than crying in nursing school!  In fact the other day some nurslings asked me what my ‘story’ was/nursing advice and I basically became a sage of wisdom.

Not.  This is more accurate:

 

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Don’t worry, I still told them there were fairies and rainbows!  Dressed like babies.

Being alone in my apartment, hearing anything:

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Coming home after work:tumblr_n30p3oJ1SX1tpg4boo1_250

OK

‘Ohio-filous remix’–Damien Jurado

On that note, I’m going to finish encapsulating myself in this blanket here, and talk at you! Because I’ve got some stuff to say (surprise of the century…) How about you pull up a chair and endure join me so that I don’t feel like a total Weis markets doughnut? And because you didn’t ask and you certainly don’t want to know—a large doughnut is roughly the size of a fully dilated cervix. I love sprinkle- crusted doughnuts and I’m pretty proud of the fact that I have a cervix. I regret using the word “crusted” in the same sentence as “cervix” now. Holy Cow. DOMICO. You had to stare at the line while you jumped over it didn’t ya? Ew. stop now.

But really, doughnuts are a favorite, and when you get here we’re going to make some.

Welp, so how are you? Probably not trying to convince yourself that you don’t really spend your not-working time watching HBO. Classy piece of work you are. Also, I bet you can talk real good grammar.

And for all that “stuff I have to say”?

OHMYGOSHIAMGETTINGMARRIED

In 5ish months.

“REBECCA.  What in all that is sane are you doing.(?!)”

That is a very feasible sentence coming out of your tooth cave right now.  Here is why, the last time we really had a good sit-down here this was not on the horizon at all and much of this decision process occurred over blog hiatus–much due to being strapped into the minivan of the adult workforce like a defeated 8 year old being driven to violin group lessons on a Friday night instead of a sleepover.  That is the closest metaphorical feeling that describes how I feel about going to work.  However, I like the other kids at my grown-up ‘group lessons’ and we can not be at sleepovers together.

Sometimes, to pep myself up before night shifts I pretend I’m just going to a sleepover. With babies. And no sleep. And then I listen to Gold Digger.

AND it’s one of those days where I’m gonna throw my 2 cents at you. One of my favorite bloggers, Elizabeth of Delightfully Tacky provided a prompt (a while ago) for this post with a very popular topic:

“write your own post on your own blog, sharing your experience with how the media has affected your body image, how you’re fighting to change the harmful messages, or how you’re changing the future for your children?…How can we fight the harmful messages that are literally killing girls and women? Are you still fighting for your own life? To love your own body? To believe you are beautiful just the way you are? You aren’t alone.”–Elizabeth, ‘Delightfully Tacky’

After reading this prompt my snob-town inner troll was all “oh. my. gosh. look at this super original problem of media and self-image! Never heard of this before.” –Rebecca A. Domico, Professional Sarcastic Jerk

Well what is that all about Domico? Park it right here, before you step on my toes and tell me how you’re going to save your daughter’s self-esteem by withholding all Disney princess movies and Cosmo, let me state my case. To get a baseline, what are the harmful messages? Who exactly is sending them?

A harmful message is harmful because it contains a threat to something basic we want and/or crave in order to live as well as we hope. It must threaten a deep-seated desire for a good thing, such as love, safety, acceptance, intimacy, significance. Who’s sending them? We are.

The world, and members of it, work on a conditional system, like a payment system, there is always expectation after action. Payment comes in different forms, there can be a down payment (actions done with expectation of a beneficial future outcome) or just some ‘repayment’ in response to a past deed.

Perhaps this is deviating from the actual question but I’m not so sure media is the problem. Plus, media doesn’t just mean the magazine/TV ads. Media itself is in a unique position nowadays, because virtually all people can use it to send their message (instagram…facebook…insta-face? etc. you know what I’m talking here). We “sell” personal messages through media too. That perfectly posed selfie?? “Oh hi, I woke up this way…I’m so deep and introspective because I won’t look the camera in the lens…totally natural photo here I had no idea my hand was taking of myself just smiling off into the space of a thousand “likes” that I really don’t need but I really do because I wouldn’t be posting this super pretty picture of myself if I didn’t want a shot of verbal affirmation.” ***hey now hey, guys. I basically just recounted an actual brain conversation from my own head, not trying to poke you! My phone is a graveyard of my ‘good hair days’. Help to all who discover.

People implementing media to influence us know what motivates us—think about what this is: to be enjoyed, to know we are significant, loved/cherished, approved. Note, that people communicate and receive these things in different modes or “languages”. I’m going to save my spiel on ‘love languages’ for another day when I can afford you a stronger beverage. Back to the topic, here’s my 2 cents–>The media is simply a venue to play on these designer desires (say that 5x fast). The media is simply the vehicle being used to enforce the idea that we can have these desires fulfilled if we can procure a particular “payment” for them. The ideas that are portrayed via the media are very often using these desires as leverage for what they are selling (this isn’t necessarily them actually selling you something, you are always being marketed to, being sold an actual item, a school of thought, a belief etc..). They portray a person having something you want and you instinctively led to develop a theory as to why they have “it” and you seemingly do not have “it” (or have as much of “it” as you want, or in the form you want). Why do we watch films/shows, listen to music? Because we identify with it, the character, the emotions, the content of portrayed experience. If we want what that character has, we naturally do come up with rationales as to why they have it and we do not. Which in turn leads to our developing a plan of action ending in our acquisition of that desired blessing.

As far as how this relates to body image, well, I guess our body is one of the dysfunctional methods of “payment” we’re selling in exchange for significance/to be loved—or as I like to think of it, to know one is enjoyed and valued to the fullest extent. I’m not saying bodies aren’t enjoyable or meant to be enjoyed in the original context, but that bodies are yet another amazing creation we have misplaced, mistreated, disrespected and abused in frantic grasping for the fullness our souls truly crave.

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The “fullness”?  It IS Valentines Day guys so you know we’re taking a dip in this pool too.  The fullness is to know one is loved and to know how to love well.  This includes a cross-over of someone’s priority from themselves to another person. This is difficult. This isn’t natural for us. Some might even argue it’s biologically counter-intuitive. If you’ve been a victim of this blog or my frank verbal opinion on this topic in the past here’s a review: Every human being serves something. Generally, themselves. Regardless of good intentions or deliberately malicious ones. I serve myself. You serve yourself. I will make the world work for me. To attain the feelings I want.  The practice of love requires you to see yourself “caught in action”.  Caught in the act of who you’re really serving (which is more often ourselves).  I don’t know about you, but “loving well” has been on the brain lately.  And for someone who grew up in a family who demonstrated love in so many ways I am bewildered at how shallow my practice has been thus far.

“..if you will love, I will love.  I will redeem you, if you will redeem me?  Is this our purpose, you and I together to pacify each other, to lead each other toward the lie that we are good, that we are noble, that we need not redemption, save the one that you and I invented of our own clay?”–Blue Like Jazz by Donald Miller p. 148

This is a slice of several paragraphs of gold within this book (the whole thing is a major favorite) where the author shares a plat that he wrote in college, this part between the main character and his wife during a conflict.  Isn’t this so much the attitude of our loves today?  If you will __ then I will too.  But if you don’t ___ why should I?  That is our trade mentality, our buy-sell culture.  That is not love.  It is painful to realize how we fail to love those around us because of their ways and failings yet do not see how we ourselves are equally unlovable.  Unlovable, selfish, creatures with our eyes closed to truth.  The truth that we make excuses for not loving each other well which are nothing compared to what God could implement as fully just reason to shut us from his presence  forever.  Yet the only pure loveable being of the universe is the one we have such great difficulty loving, and who is the only one to love us in the purest form that no human does for another.  The best love on earth is a gift from God to his people, he designed us to be in relationship and love in many of the ways he relates and loves us.  Parent-Child, Friend, Friend, Family, Husband to wife.  All unique loves that can be lived either with our invention of the buy-sell “love” which is entirely dependent on self-action and is driven by self-satisfaction–or styled after original love.  Sacrificial dying to oneself to uphold the other love.  This is so so hard, and it’s this kind of love I am growing to realize I know so little of how to do well.

A classic Bible passage probably comes to mind when you think of love (“love is patient, love is kind etc….) certainly good and all but may I share a personally favored passage regarding love?  Please read the whole thing.  It’s Isaiah 43.  I won’t type to whole thing here but please read it and hear what God is saying there.  Vs. 23-28 clearly lays out the unworthiness of Israel (that’s us) of God’s favor, mercy, certainly not his love. However, earlier in the passage God clearly states who Israel is and how he will act towards her regardless of how she behaves towards him.

“Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name, you are mine…you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you,  I will give men in exchange for you, and people in exchange for your life…Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past.  See, I am doing a new thing!…I am making a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland, to give drink to my people, my chosen, the people I formed for myself and they may proclaim my praise.”  Isaiah 43:1,4,18-20

The perfection of relationship and love that we so want and try to glean from each other does not work outside of divine intervention. It is not our natural inclination to love well beyond ourselves and we are left in a loveless desert because all we do is soak up drops of water around us in fear that it might run out someday and we must store up enough for ourselves.  True love is not fear of being unloved and therefore chasing and gathering up affection to pacify that fear.  If we are to love well and know true love, the closest we are able to become on earth is to allow God to mold us into creatures that can love well based on his original love design to sacrifice one’s own ego, control, fears and wants in favor of holding up another in effort to help them along their own journey with God.  Because love isn’t ultimately about human-to-human relations (thankfully, because they are broken and only mended through forgiveness and grace–also from God) it is about the pure unbroken tie between God and mankind, it is God making “a way in the desert and streams in the wasteland”.  And it’s His story.

982eed8174774da75b8e682b87acd089“From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.”–Psalm 61:2

Isn’t it marvelous that not only can we not solely rely on each other to nurture relationships, but we can and must rely on God to show us how to build fruitful and rich relationships that really do became pools of grace in this world?

“Though one may be overpowered, two can defend themselves.  A cord of three strands is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12

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Working Titles–Damien Jurado

The Vortex Effect

Well hey! Jumping right in here, hold your breath!

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A few days ago I stumbed on this article.  Which became the inspiration for my baby song list.  The baby song list? Yes, it’s the menu of songs I mumble/sing to tiny humans when they are being fussy, need a blood draw, or just need an extra dose of TLC.  The seasonal special right now?

Baby It’s Cold Outside

OHMYWORD POLAR VORTEX BABIES! I love them.  And apparently, if the baby forecast is correct, this is just the beginning of the “storm”.  Right now we’re entering some November territory, which if I remember correctly, was the start of the legendary Vortex of 2013-2014.  And if some of the theories suggested in this article are right, I guess sometimes CVS just isn’t close enough.  *shrugs shoulders* I’ll take it, the wind chill for 90% of last winter was enough to bring me to wear a week’s worth of clothes in one day, all at once.  The list of necessities became a lot shorter as the temperature fell off the livability scale.  In fact, I think the only thing I was willing to venture out for by last January was either cheap whiskey and toilet paper.  Ok new parents, ya crazy kids. Thank you for your chubby-cheeked late Christmas gifts! They are sassy and fine.

Some other singin’ favorites/car tunes:

‘Mama’s Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Cowboys’–Willie

Blood Red Sentimental Blues–Cotton Jones

Let Him Fly–Patty Griffin

Valley of Death–Blitzen Trapper

Not that you want more winding tales of the thug lyfe (also found under the title, “The Fresh Nurse of PA”) but it’s what’s for dinner. OK? ok.

So baby nursing.

How I feel about mandatory black/white uniforms:

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How I see the nursery:

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How I interact with most infants:

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When another nurse says “make the student do your _*insert task*” while gesturing towards me (while I’m clearly in the middle of doing my own official tasking. For my legit patients because you know, I have those now.  Also, have you seen my amazing new RN badge?! But sure.  I’ll do your _____.)

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“WAIT.  you say there’re cupcakes in the break room?”

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Your early discharge patient keeps calling you to tell you she’s ready, while you’re trying to discharge your other normal discharge patient and take an admission patient from the PACU.

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Looking for anything on the unit. Or anyone:

“Go get the nipple shields” they said.  “would be right inside the door!”, they said.  They lie. 

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The nurses station anytime there is a professional male sighted on the floor.  Male in scrubs.  (“and he’s gooood lookin’!”—Spunky Well-Seasoned Nurse) Oh wait…he’s a student? dang. *SorryWe’reNeverSorry* 

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Finding your nursling buddy for food minutes:

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Changing the baby in front of mom and dad after his circumcision:
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(or anytime the baby cries and I happen to be in the room)

When a patient requests you to help breastfeed:

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When you completely improvise this breastfeeding demo and what started out as dad trying to “milk” mom in front of a screaming infant, to you, grabbing your own chest** in desperation to demonstrate proper handling techniques to mom, to a quiet grizzly baby, relieved mom, and hands-off smiling dad!

**(realizing that you may need to make a Victoria’s Secret trip before your next demo because who’d have thought you’d actually need some material to work with before a show? I can’t wait to be able to tell the cashier that I need this psychedelically over-stuffed bra “for work”)

“Do I need to go to discharge class?” UMMM…..

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Your new nurse friend shares her chocolate with you because the gift shop line was too long during your lunch break and she knew you were itching for sugar.  All while you’re rocking a fussy nugget: 15hlil2

Watching babies sleep:

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Getting the vein on the first shot.  On what the PCT refers to as “a hard stick”:

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The few times I’m able to solve patient woes!

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So there’s the comic strip, and know that in between all the sass I do really enjoy the nurse life so far.  Can I keep on that for a second?  Well yeah I can, so thanks for parking it.  Despite enjoying OB nursing, I’m finding myself missing med-surg clinicals.  Holy cow what is coming out of my fingers. Of all unholy things! Med-Surg.. of all things! I can’t believe I’m typing that.  My internal nursing student PSTD-self is shrieking.  Med-surg was essentially the reason my junior year roommates couldn’t use the TV because I had LOTR on replay 24/7 in an effort to self-soothe after long clinical days.  So what’s with the rose-tinted rearview mirror action??  I think I miss having patients without an entourage.  Not that nursing in any area doesn’t involve the patient’s family but I miss patients who aren’t the popular item–do you get it?  I miss the elderly man who’s kids live in California and his wife has to work so she can’t make it into the hospital to visit.  I miss the little lady who tells you about how she fell in love with her husband while you’re changing her sheets.  I miss visiting with patients who actually seem (or pretend) to enjoy the light-hearted chatter or just a casual checking in-turned-to-conversation.  Cripes, I miss patients who can’t talk at all because they are waiting to escape a painful, ending body.  I even miss the grumps, the emotionally crusty patients who don’t want to give you the time of day.  They offer choices that no other patient can in regards to character–how you perceive and react to them is a practice in human puzzle solving.  Sometimes the puzzle isn’t necessarily solved, but you know the pieces make a bigger picture that just isn’t clear without some work.  Those patients are the essentially why I need to practice nursing like a vitamin.  That’s what I said, to do nursing like a vitamin.  It’s a practice that targets and supplements some areas of my own human deficiency in my ability to love others.  The use of the word “need” is a new concept to me in regards to a career because I really don’t think I need nursing to be who I am or anything like that, I could quit tomorrow and be just as complete as I was today, and I’m completely open to the idea of closing this career book someday if the time comes around.  I am using ‘need’ because I’ve been thinking a lot more about how I landed in the field, especially when I’m doing something else that I love, that makes me feel amazingly tuned into life (playing music! no pun intended..).  It’s easy to wonder why I chose to do something else while feeling so ‘tuned-in’ seeing the smiles (or the eyebrows) of the audience.  (Well, here’s a good reason–street fiddling doesn’t buy the moccasins.  Also I’d probably have to know how to read music so there’s that.  All pretty solid rationales to why my day job is a necessity. I digress.)  Honestly, if I had a preview of what school and post-school nurse life would be like before entering that crazy world, I would’ve quickly shut the door and walked away.   Sometimes I laugh when I think about how God may have “tricked” me into this predicament, but everyday I understand a tiny bit more of why he did!  Because I’m not naturally externally-focused.

” My life testifies that the first thing I believe is that I am the most important person in the world.  My life testifies to this because I care more about my food and shelter and happiness than about anybody else.  I am learning to believe better things.  I am learning to believe that other people exist, that fashion is not truth; rather, Jesus is the most important figure in history, and the gospel is the most powerful force in the universe.  I am learning not to be passionate about empty things, but to cultivate passion for justice, grace, truth, and communicate the idea that Jesus likes people and even loves them.”  –Don Miller, Blue Like Jazz p. 111-112.

Just an excerpt I read the other day, and as much as I wish I could smile and say it ain’t so, it’s simply too obvious.  There is this idea of a saint-like nurse, caring, smart, super intuitive, goes above and beyond set expectations out of the goodness of their sweet nursey hearts.  Goodness knows I might be one of those things on a reallly benevolent day.  The other days?  I’m selfishly thinking about how many hours are left till I can book it out of there, smiling to cover up the groan of laziness.  “hey! why don’t you/don’t you want to do ______”

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Cause’ that’s just how I feel too often.  Not that I don’t do the things, play the flute, whateverwhatever. But I’ve come to think more so that nursing is a life filter that someone upstairs is using to weed my overgrown heart out.  Because, yes I come into a day seeing people as their lab values and how many orders are in for them (aka how much work have to do) but by the end of a real day, these people are making my heart do emotional yoga. Making it stretch bit by bit, in different ways that make me able to catch a glimpse of their ‘puzzle’.  So yeah, I’m not a saintly Florence Nightingale, and I might not be such a great gift to my patients, but perhaps the most necessary understanding of being a nurse is to accept ‘gifts’ from patients in the ‘stretch’ they provide.  Nursing doesn’t need me so much as I need the puzzle time.  Are there predicaments like this which you find yourself in?  Things that expose tiny voids you didn’t realize were there?

‘I’m Set Free’–The Velvet Underground

O.K. DONE! You are free.  Thank you darling, this is yours.

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Vanilla ice cream met olive oil and they got funky with the salt

 

Aaannnddd you are sharing yes? Naw, it’s cool I had 3.

Your weekend is almost here, one more day!  Hope it’s swell, hug a tree, kick a rock.

End Of The Line

End Of The Line–Hurray For The Riff Raff

I Know It’s Wrong (But That’s Alright)–Hurray For the Riff Raff

Broken Drum–Beck

Two weeks ago I took a little trip down to Pittsburgh for some nursey interviews (really channeled my inner Schrute for these)

Pre-Interview: 

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During Interview:

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Post Interview:

 

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Interview day ended on a fantastic note because I wound up playing music with pals in a lovely city on a lovely night!  It was so nice to get out on a little solo trip by myself, just to spend time driving alone is kind of therapeutic.  Had some great times, musical reunion, great breakfast food, wonderful live music with none other than Mr. Jeff Tweedy (who as good as his music is, wasn’t the most polite stage character, but we all have those days I suppose!) and Trampled By Turtles 🙂

What else is new? First, there is one thing I’m pretty sure about regarding the flow of late college/early adult life is that either nothing is happening at all or everything is happening all at once.  (is it a thing to call yourself a ‘baby adult’? Because that’s the term I think would communicate my human status right now).  I went on a short dip into the ‘nothing at all’ category after graduation and was basically just waiting around to get my authorization to schedule my NCLEX test date.  But one fated night I received The Email=Ready. Set. Chaos.  Scheduled the test, realized I had no recollection of how studying occurs and realized I had a sensation not unlike that feeling of being strapped into a roller coaster that your friends are making you ride because they think you need to get over your intense fear of amusement parks.  And the roller coaster people are checking your seatbelt and you are looking up at them with pleading eyes to release you from the self-inflicted terror trip, but too late duckie!  You’re in.  And it’s going straight uphill.  And it’s the uphill before the straight downhill that makes me sick with disorganized terror, the anticipation of falling off the drop is like canned panic.

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Thanks to group text, I’ve been able to communicate with the post-Hersh nursing school world and share sentiments with equally “fine” pre-NCLEX nurslings.  In fact, one of them-my sweet roommate from months past, took great sympathy on my increasingly erratic emotional windstorms and ended up driving down to State College last week for a little QT and therapy sesh.  Spending time with her again was kind of like drinking water after chewing desert sand.  She’s a gem.  I sometimes think of ways to kidnap her.  #RedFlag..?

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SPEAKING of chewing rocks-that is what I told my dentist I did when they showed me an X-ray of my molars riddled with microscopic fractures last week.  Turns out I was the only one joking and they began to seriously evaluate me for pica  to which I realized a little late in the game and had to clarify with them that I did not in fact chew rocks in my spare time.  Turns out my teeth are ticking time bombs due to severe jaw clenching over the past few years.  It’s like I was in nursing school or something.

On an even sillier note, I’m enjoying some Jenna Marbles–>

What A Girl’s Hair Means

What A Girl’s Makeup Means

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Have a Wednesday!

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*Thank you pintrest, and tumblr for any picture that moved and this last artsy one.

Where All The Things Meet

Bittersweet Symphony–The Verve

Seemed like it’d never happen! Then it did. Finally graduated from the Penn State College of Nursing alongside my fellow nurslings.

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Reading all the Facebook graduation statuses I felt a little obligated to mark the occasion with my own social media shoutout but didn’t really know how to say anything other than “Status: Graduated” or “Official P-RN” (Pre-Registered Nutcase).

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Holy cow am I the mini-female version of my dad or what?! Same smile. NoteToSelf: Never graduate again because those outfits are not your strong point honey. Some hats can’t handle the size of my head. Or the whiteness of my face. And if I ever betray my curly hair again please cut it off in my sleep ok? ok.

 

This is how I felt wearing my graduation attire:

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So there ya go, that’s my status. But wait! Is that all I have to say after 4 years of glorified chaos? oH no, come on you know me better than that. So stop here if you wanted that reader’s digest version of a simple life update.

If not, well, come sit down buttercup!

So the past week began with me taking (severely under-studied-for) Final finals, to moving out of the sweet Dirty Hersh, and ended last night walking across the stage beelining it to one of my very favorite clinical instructors for that magical hug I’d been hoping for since her medsurg clinical junior year! So needless to say it’s been a wild few days and right now I’m not sure how it all pulled through. Feeling like that about the entire nursing school experience right now–I have no idea how it happened and I actually rolled out alive on the other end. It’s like crawling out of your basement fire cellar and laying on the ground realizing you forgot what the sun felt like.

Right now I’m watching the last 30 minutes of LOTR Return of the King in the other corner of my screen.  We’re at the part where Frodo and Sam are stranded on an island in the middle of lava pouring from Mount Doom and Frodo is saying his famous “it’s gone, it’s done” and from that point on I’m emotional toast.  During the graduation ceremony I was sitting between two pals and that scene fell through my mind, it was so nice to be with them at that moment!   It was one of those snapshots where I might get confused and forget I was actually 22 in the present moment, not 82 remembering the day I graduated nursing school.  Another weird thing I tend to do in these situations is look at the scene and people interacting around me and wonder how we will all be in 10 years, also even weirder and slightly morbid–I wonder a lot how we’ll die.   Yes, you may tip-toe away now.  It’s odd and I don’t think about it in a sad way, just more matter-of-fact way.  Have you seen the movie ‘Big Fish’?  Remember that part when the dad as a young boy goes with his friends to the witches house and they all look into her eye and see how they die?  OK moving on, we are not dead! We are very much alive right now and people are just moving through their stories.  Sitting down to write now I’m feeling a little like when Frodo is finishing Bilbo’s book at the end, sitting there saying “how do you pick up the threads of an old life, how do you go on when in your heart you begin to understand, there is no going back?”  (oh gosh Domico, DRAMA QUEEN much? but really. let me have this.)

It’s barely been a couple of days since leaving the Village but I must admit I’m developing separation anxiety from the nurslings.  Nothing requiring treatment yet but just feeling that little hole in my heart fill up like a dentist fills a cavity.  For something I was such a total brat about for the longest time, some of the most wonderful moments did occur in the midst of the Dirty Hersh, and it goes to show that I really don’t know what was best till it’s reviled to me after-the-fact.  Recently, I stumbled on this Lewis quote:

“We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.”–C.S. Lewis

Perfect.  This sentence encapsulates exactly what I can safely say I know about myself now.  Myself a few years ago might have been more doubtful that God would do good for me, or that I could trust Him to not hand me a ‘Plan B’ life because I screwed up too much for ‘Plan A’ to work out.  Right now though, I can no longer say honestly I fear God’s purpose to do good within my life-I know whatever He does will be good regardless of what I feel or think–I fear the pain of real life.  It is tempting to live for enjoyment and pleasure. Many times it seems more promising to take what we want through the means which we see immediately available rather than allowing the rest of the story to unfold because we fear that if we don’t take the opportunity we will miss out on what was best for us, what would bring us the blessing we want.  I don’t want to give you some cheesy post-grad-life-wisdom-lecture, as if walking around for a day in a funky flat blue hat and matching gospel choir robe makes me any less a fool than I was 4 years ago.

Right now I’m just going to share some reflections and encourage you to think about your life, whatever it’s been for the past few years–what the heck, go ahead and do a full on life review, it won’t kill ya.

Meanwhile: I never not enjoy watching the music video to #SELFIE.  There’s a basic bitch inside us all.  

When I think about most of my college-aged life I recall my trend being very much like a mixture of a Jacob story and a Leah story.  Funny, these Biblical people were actually married to each other, however I’ve found a lot of fasciation and relateability to their individual stories and how God worked through each of their broken lives.  Yes, we’re about to get Sunday Schooled.  It’s been a while so you can deal, ok? Ok.  In a nutshell the Leah story is about a girl whom finds herself as an undesired obstacle between her husband, Jacob, who was tricked into marrying her.  Basically he ran into her crazy beautiful sister, Rachel, in some field and he was all smitten and pledged to work for 7 years if he could marry her.  So he does and is all pumped about finally getting the trophy wife he thought would bring him every happiness in the world and on the wedding night her dad slips in Leah instead of Trophy-Wife-Rachel!  OUCH.  So…talk about the awkward morning after?  So he’s tricked into marrying Leah instead of Rachel and he’s ticked (duh) and so he works another bunch of years so the dad will let him marry Rachel too.  Well, now he’s got HotStuff Rachel and the MistakeWife Leah, yes he’s way into Rachel more.  Here’s the thing, Rachel can’t have kids but Leah can.  So Leah is pumping out babies and miserable because her husband doesn’t even like her and never wanted her.  Yeah, don’t blame her for being a little disheartened here.  But get this, here are the translations of the names of her children in birth order from first to last:

1.  Reuben–>means “See, a son” and Leah’s response was: ” Because the Lord has looked upon my affliction; for now my husband will love me.”

2.  Simeon–> means “heard/sign”, Leah’s response: “Because the Lord has heard that I am hated, he has given me this son also”

3.  Levi–> means “attached”, Leah’s response: “Now this time my husband will be attached to me, because I have borne him three sons”

4.  Judah–> means “praise”, Leah’s response: “This time I will praise the Lord”

Umm can we side-step for a second and reflect on how if you and your sibling were married to the same person it might be a little..uncomfortable? Whatever.  I’ll leave it at the times.  They were into that sort of deal back then I guess.  Do me a favor and save me the typing, but read this: Genesis 29:1-35 even if the Bible isn’t your jam, I’m asking you to read this just to get the context of the story I’m referring to.

Read that again.  Pay attention to that birth order.  I’d love for some more info on Leah’s life during those childbearing years and what she was thinking and how God was working in her everyday life.  The Bible doesn’t give us her personal diary account but leaves it at her children’s names, which provides us with unique insight into what those years may have been like as far as her relationship with her God.

There was a conversation I had with a close friend a few months ago in which I was attempting to describe some things I’d noticed about my own life each year of college (and I’m only using college as a time-reference, I’m not trying to imply that it was the defining aspect of my life, as my life would’ve probably happened anyways for the past four years with or without participating in college).  Going into nursing school I’d had many expectations and plans to acquire the blessings I wanted, especially if I lived as that good little Christian girl should.  “See? I did what you wanted right?  Now I should have ____.”  Reuben.  Sophomore year was similar in many ways to freshman year, basically a continuation of “I know God see’s and hears me..I’m still trying to make this work…am I not following “instructions” right?  The roots of ache for blessing were so deep inside of me, and the more they were uncovered and exposed to light, the more frustrated I became.  Simeon.  Junior year. Oh boy.  Well that was something I’d never order on the menu again.  And by saying that I really fear God will hand me another similar time potentially worse, but with the same holy outcome.  Crap, I know I’m supposed to look forward to the future with all that Christian joy and pizzazz but guys.  I do not. Sure, sometimes I do get a little rush out of thinking of the future and not knowing what will happen but equally as many times I am filled with the desire to not know because I don’t’ want to know the pain it will bring as well.  OK back to the point–Junior year was one of the scariest times of my personal emotional/mental life (so far).  Sure, school was so so hard but it was just the tip of the iceberg.  School wasn’t’ my problem, it just aggravated the real problem–myself.  Ever heard the saying: “We stopped checking for monsters under the bed when we realized they were inside of us?”  During this time I became so frantically unstable that I was desperate to attach myself to people and things I believed would satisfy my blessing ache even if it was just partially.  I didn’t care about what God wanted me to do, I decided God had seen me struggle and stumble enough times and I’d be better off just numbing myself to him and living in apathy and bitterness.  I knew I was fallen and ruined in some way, and at that point I just took what I could see.  I wanted something, even if it wasn’t’ the whole thing, I just wanted whatever I could get.  What do you think happens when you attach yourself and your contentment to something you can lose?  You drown with it.  Levi.  Senior year was a surprise Judah.  I never foresaw any praise after the Levi Year.  I walked into Judah unaware that the raw, open lacerations leftover from Levi were the portal in which joy would leak into my veins and permeate  my body.  Perhaps my eyes were just opened enough to see more tiny moments of beauty and blessing because I had to be desperate enough to ask?  I have experienced tears of joy this year just in moments where God allows me to see a mini-movie of these years in my mind and given me insight into where he was within the story.  Do you know the ‘Footprints in the Sand’ poem?

One night I dreamed I was walking along the beach with the Lord, many scenes of my life flashed across the sky.  In each scene I noticed footprints in the sand.  Sometimes there were two sets of footprints, other times there were one set of footprints.  This bothered me because I noticed the low periods of my life, when I was suffering anguish, sorrow or defeat, I could only see one set of footprints.  So I said to the Lord, “you promised me Lord, that if I followed you, you would walk with me always.  But I have noticed that during the most trying periods of my life there have only been one set of footprints int he sand.  Why, when I needed you most, you have not been there for me?”  The Lord replied, “The times when you have seen only one set of footprints, is when I carried you.”–Mary Stevenson

While I was cleaning out my room in Hershey last week, I found this poem on a poster on my closet.  I’ve had the poster since freshman year, though not purposefully.  It just never made it in the trash like all my other posters.  Funny it was this one survived every poster-purge!  Realizing that the times of one set of footprints (Levi) was a time of blessing because I wasn’t doing the walking was so beautiful and simple that I couldn’t not feel reverent praise at such grace given within my own foolish being.  This past year I’ve felt significantly stronger as a person (not that that’s the adjective people associate with me when they experience the havoc of Rebecca during their day, but this is more about personal experience ok?) and more able to care a lot less about people and things in insecure attachment ways.  In fact, in comparison to myself a few years ago, I feel more open to the ride rather than the knowledge of exactly where we are stopping and going.  Just letting things play out offers some surprise joy without as much fear as begging for a particular future then not having it.  Sure, I’ll bet there will be tons of other hills n’ valleys in each of our lives so really I’m just digging deep into one tiny timeframe of experience here, nothing crazy.

Can I Biblical History-nerd-out on ya one more time here?  So, Jesus is actually a descendant of Leah’s bloodline. Regardless of your opinion of his divinity/whether or not he was who he says he was, stay with me here a moment and think if he is in fact who he claimed to be, the son of God and savior of mankind, the picture God painted through Leah’s life was indeed redemptive and stunningly beautiful.  The saving grace of mankind came through a line of an unwanted, broken woman.  Not from the worldly-favored line of Rachel (no offense against Rachel, she plays an important role in the story too but I’m just not going through it here).

So I mentioned Jacob’s story earlier right?  How do we relate to this guy?  Who is this guy who thinks he can just marry away and treat one wife like crap and love the other one more?  That’s a side note, not really the point here.  But what we know about Jacob and what the Bible tells us about his life is that his life is a series of pursuits.  Pursuits of blessing, from his father, mother, brother, and his women.  He chases after sustaining blessing through these relationships which all fall through and do not satisfy him in the end.  Later in his life (he’s married to Rachel and Leah with a bunch of kids and servants) when his brother is looking to kill him (!), he meets God.  Read:

That night Jacob got up and took his two wives, his two female servants and his eleven sons and crossed the ford of the Jabbok. After he had sent them across the stream, he sent over all his possessions. So Jacob was left alone, and a man wrestled with him till daybreak.  When the man saw that he could not overpower him, he touched the socket of Jacob’s hip so that his hip was wrenched as he wrestled with the man.  Then the man said, “Let me go, for it is daybreak.”

But Jacob replied, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.”

The man asked him, “What is your name?”

“Jacob,” he answered.

Then the man said, “Your name will no longer be Jacob, but Israel, because you have struggled with God and with humans and have overcome.”

Jacob said, “Please tell me your name.”

But he replied, “Why do you ask my name?” Then he blessed him there.

So Jacob called the place Peniel, saying, “It is because I saw God face to face, and yet my life was spared.”

–Genesis 32:22-30

Last year I heard my campus ministry pastor speak on this story and many points of this sermon pointed out the trends of blessing pursuit in Jacob’s life. (You can listen to the same sermon here! It’s titled “Meeting God”)  One of the things he said, “god is attracted to fools” was a novelty to me in my thinking of who God is and how he works.  The people God chose to pursue within these accounts were oftentimes outwardly insignificant people of their time by their society’s standards, and even rejected by their society.  This should say something about the character of God, this God chooses the lost and messed-up to build his kingdom and create his eternal story.

Jacob spends his life going after blessings (he goes to his father, mother, brother, wife for blessings and in all of these relationships the blessing fell out and he could not create the blessing and satisfaction he wanted from any of his pursuits).  So he goes through his merry way of looking for this fullness in everything else until he is isolated and alone, his family across the river and his brother waiting to kill him in the morning.  He meets some stranger and wrestles with him, oh and the stranger happens to be God.  Just another average day in Bible Times right?  Someone’s going about their business and then BOOM God shows up and tells them to do something kinda weird!  It’s like he’s the main character or something.  The big deal here?  Jacob finally realizes what he was missing in all of his other pursuits, similar to Leah, they both chased blessing so hard from their own means till they came to a point where they demanded blessing from God himself.  And God gives it!  We do this–we are looking for someone/something to BLESS us, to choose us, to tell us we are OK.  Even if you do not think you need this, do you have parents you care about?  A girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse?  An endeavor?  Music?  Academics?  Hobbies?  Why do you even bother to maintain relationships or academic goals if you don’t’ see some justification and self-benefit from them?  You don’t practice any of theses things or relationships without motivation.  You expect something to benefit you through these, and that isn’t inherently a bad thing.  These things are so attractive to us because they mimic shards of authentic soul-satisfying blessing.  Taking another point from that sermon, think of this, when a person meets God it is a personal experience.  It comes through authentic blessing that our soul’s recognize as the true love we’ve been designed for, and it occurs through “wrestling” with God himself.

“God cannot give us happiness and peace apart form himself because it is not there.  There is no such thing.”–C.S. Lewis

So there you go, another dramatic novel by Your’s Truly!  Thanks for sticking around, and let me say that when I refer to different times in my own life as more difficult than others I do understand that this goes for everyone and my experience is only unique because it is my own but that doesn’t make it any better/worse than yours and I want to respect that.  I also don’t think that my life is all that notable and when I dramatize it in writing it’s simply taking a magnifying glass on a simple person in a simple life apart of a very grand story, much bigger than herself and that for me is thrilling.  I share these kinds of things with you in hopes you will find personal use and inspiration to think of similar moments of your life and how you interpret their meaning.  I do talk of God, well, because that is who I believe is driving the car, BUT I don’t expect you to have that exact same outlook on life.  That’s fine peaches! You still have a brain and a soul that I’d bet craves the exact same thing my soul does regardless of what we believe we came from the same deal.  I hope you have the most rich life of your soul and I want true and real things for you very much, I hope you do to.

Woah, well that felt good.  Not sure about you but it’s been a while and I love talking with you like this.  I hope you have a good night and sweet mercifully-dreamless sleep.  The next latte I make at the best job ever will be dedicated to you, and I wish I could give you all the lilacs I stuffed my face in on my walk to work today.

‘The Promise’–When In Rome

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*Thank you pintrest, tumblr, and Facebook for all images here.

How To: Relax!

One of my very favorite things about nursing senior year so far is our mental health nursing class.  I took psych100 (like every other undergrad ever) freshman year and enjoyed it, however mental health nursing is geared more towards real-life applications of what psychologists/mental health experts have figured out I suppose.  The lectures are basically giant therapy sessions themselves.  Really interesting, but simultaneously disgruntling because as we nurslings sit there soaking up our teacher’s wisdom and calmness, we’re realizing that 95% of the symptoms for she’s listing we have experienced as a result of nursing school..

SO why am I telling you this?  HOW will this help YOU?  OK that’s fair.  I am telling you this because some of you may be taking some very stressful tests in the next few weeks, commonly known as “finals”.  You may be quite stressed out by now and possibly quarantined in one of these:

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Or reaching the point of delusional behaviors?..

0a698aea2dc2ae7ffdf7be94653b713dIf that’s the case I’m surprised you resurfaced to read this, but wait!–Don’t get me wrong, I’m flattered you’re here, I just think you should use your break moments to nap…or cry?) ANYWAYS: here are some things you can do that just might not induce crying/hallucinatory stress-induced behavior)

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Our teacher has given us several techniques she uses in her practice and that we can use in clinicals, and I’m going to share some with you.

Anxious?

Activity:

Ask: “When you go to sleep tonight, a miracle is going to occur.  All the problems that brought you to _______(this place)_____ will be gone.  What will your life be like?  Where will you be?  Who will you be with?  I want you to write me a letter from you in that time describing to me what your life is like. (sounds a little pointless but give it a shot, what’s it going to do? eat you?)

To Go to Sleep/Relax:

–>Lay in bed (or wherever you are) and say 5 things you can see, 5 things you can hear, 5 things you can feel. Do it again with 4 things, then 3, 2, and 1.  Repeat (back to 5 and down) until fully relaxed.

–>Close your eyes, breath and do a “full body scan”.  Start at the bottom and relax/feel every single part.  Start at your toes, feel your toes, calves, knees, the pressure of your chair… etc… all the way to the top of your head.  Note areas that are tense.  Tense those areas even more, more, then completely let them go. Repeat once or twice.

–>Find a picture of a place you feel safe.  Keep that picture somewhere close by and when you feel overwhelmed, take 15 seconds to hold/look at that picture, and imagine being exactly in that place.  What exactly does that place feel like? (go through details! down to the temperature, and how your face feels).

–>Try these.  Normally I’d giggle at the whole meditation thing and probably not endorse it BUT here are some awesome 3-20 guided meditation and breathing exercises. *Link*

Want to know something?  I’ve been trying these out for myself, and kid you not, they are gems.  Some of them might seem cliche or obvious (well yes Rebecca, I know the whole “close your eyes and breath” deal) but if you really give it a shot it can’t hurt.  Personally I really liked writing a letter from my future self, accepting that I certainly don’t need my life to go in that particular way but the act of allowing myself the freedom to imagine and “design” a life I want now was therapeutic itself.

If none of these work, try this video*

And of course a playlist of some of my personal favorite relaxation tunes!

“RELAX. Just Do It.” (– Mugantu)

Small Memory–Jon Hopkins

Daydream–Tycho

Dreams Today–Efterklang

Nitesky feat. John LaMonica–Robot Koch, John Lamonica

Lost Cause–Beck

Avril 14th–Aphex Twin

A Man And His Dream–Neva Dinova

World I Need You, Won’t Be Without You–How To Dress Well

Oh, Why–Balam Acab

Wash.–Bon Iver

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The Essence

These Days–Dr. Dog

Lovin’ Arms–Wood Brothers

Wayside Back in Time–Gillian Welch

Yes, this day.  No shower could entirely cleanse my body after a Monday morning gastric-juice facial.  Bleach maybe. But nothing will really disinfect the mental scarring.  If you are not beyond grossed out now I’d say you should hop on this bandwagon and get your inner nurse on.

If I were to create a perfume of today it would be called:

Essence of Monday’ By Nursling

“Gastric contents laced with the whisper of painkillers and wounded pride”

Not clear as day?  OK here’s the tale. This morning I woke up at 5:00am after a night of disorientation sweaty wake-sleep cycles. *insert appropriate visual link* After adequately caffeinating  myself, verbally self-soothing my frayed pre-clinical nerves I boldly walked out the door to the darkness of Hersh, joined my partners-in-crime and scampered off to the hospital.  Made it to the floor.  Got patient assignment.  Introduced self with false confidence to nurse. Crossed my fingers and dove in.   “Ok, cool you can do X, Y, and Z…chill out Domico.  Yeah now we’re feeling somewhat capable.”

So the morning started off and I felt like my little lifeboat wasn’t taking in any water!  Until..the captain (Yours Truly) drove herself straight into an fully visible iceberg.  There is thing thing called the G-Tube. It is a direct connection between the outside world and a human stomach.  The stomach is where a lot of things end up.  Things that are better left unseen and unworn.  Among things that go into ones stomach are medications, and if a person is not doing the whole oral-route deal then G-Tube train it is!  This nursing student thought she was pretty comfortable with these Tummy Trains but to her horror she learned a tough lesson this day.  In the process of administering various meds via this train, I was pushing air out of a syringe before flushing the tube. The contents of this syringe, which I was holding with the tip upwards, was a bodily and medicinal cocktail.  Guess what happens when you evacuate more than the air bubbles?! And now I hope you can see the rest of this scene vividly without me re-living the rest.

Face. In The Face. In MY face.

Oh, and right in front of my teacher.

I’ve shut the rest out of mind for now, but I will tell you the end story was my face turning stone, finishing the process promptly (still professional here! *giving self a pat on the back for maintaining external calm, because inside was everything that is not calm in the world*) and my wonderful teacher trying to comfort my shocked self as soon as we left the room.  And in the end, all was well and my lab culture analysis has never been more thoureaugh.  Now I feel as though I’ve crossed the bridge and should wear the nursing student equivalent of a Purple Heart.  (Over dramatic Domico per usual! It was just an unwelcome facial spray.  Life goes on and  there will be less welcome fluids on this same person many times over in the future)

How was your weekend?

All of my darling roommates ended up staying in our Hershey Nest too so needless to say things were delightfully funky all weekend 😉  Saturday was the perfect rainy fall day PLUS bonus features of good tunes, the woods, deer,  and friends! On top of that my parents were in town for a wedding and were able to hang out with me Sunday–which is extra special because it’s not often that 25% of their children get them both to themselves 🙂

It’s midnight?  Why aren’t we eating stuff?  Lets go do that. 

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Late-night car adventure to the magical land of “Nald’s” (or McDonald’s, but with half the sign lit up)

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Morning-After-Nald’s Coffee Recovery

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Sunday with the visiting Parental Unit 🙂

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I think I got the best one