Friday, October 29, 2010

Letting Go.

The image of finding my patient unresponsive is stuck in my head. I keep seeing him laying there all haphazard.
You get jumpy about things. Like whenever I hear a loud noise, my instinct is to go help whoever just fell or is seizing. I learned to watch for chest rise when I worked at the nursing home, so I always have, but now I'm jumpy about it. Maybe that will get better.

That night, I was talking in my sleep. Thomas told me I said, "Layers," like I was giving an answer in class. And there was nothing else. After he told me that, I just kept thinking about this story I heard once about a woman who had a near-death experience. She said the singing in heaven wasn't just harmony, it was like layers.

Yesterday, my voice teacher told me that singing is about trusting and letting go. Trusting that your voice knows how to do it, and letting it go. She's telling me about the anatomy of the voice, and it's amazing. Your larynx opens and closes hundreds, even thousands of times in one second depending on the pitch that you're singing. It's the same about running. Your legs know what to do. Actually, once you start walking, and I assume it holds true for running, it's a reflex. There's no brain involvement at all, just spinal cord. And breathing - well, it's all automatic. You don't have to control anything. You just let go and run.
Dead people usually look...dead. Shriveled. Dry. He looked like he was sleeping. Perfect. Peaceful. He had been working so hard to breathe for so long. He was labored at baseline. Then nothing. No movement. No more labor.
All of it helps me let go, and you have to let go, else you can't go back there again. But I went back twice already, and it wasn't so bad. I still like my job. It's a battlefield, and you question your decisions. But sometimes, you just have to let go.

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I lost a patient today. It's the first time at this hospital. I mean, yeah, I've had patients die here before, but they've been hospice beds. Today, I lost a full code. Actually, I'll be honest. I lost one of both today.

There's nothing like walking into a room and finding your friend unresponsive. He'd had trouble breathing on and off all day. I kept trying to get the doc to order different things. He wasn't interested. I bypassed him and got help from other people. Everything helped temporarily. I watched him so closely all day.

His CK was high from the labs we drew during the code. Maybe he had a heart attack. Maybe it wasn't respiratory. I can't say.

It's a hard lesson, and I'm not even sure what I'm supposed to learn. Should I have called a rapid response earlier and convinced the resident to take him to the ICU? Would that have saved his life? How much of it was out of my hands? How much?

The Solomon of nurses told me I practically ran the code today. It's not true, but looking back, I bet nobody would've guessed it was my first code. They always told me during mock codes that I wouldn't have to worry about pushing meds. Someone with know-how would be pushing. Except in the PICU. In the PICU, they told me to slam everything. So that's what I did. Epi in. Atropine in. Bicarb in...atropine...atropine. "How many atropines?" "We can only give three." And then, "After this bicarb, I'm calling it unless anyone has anything else." And that's when I swore, and somebody thought I stuck myself. It felt like ten minutes, but it was 45.

The guy asked me if it was my first time at the morgue. I told him it was my second time that day, but he wasn't listening. He wasn't asking for an answer. He was asking to fill his own ears.

Another one down to AML today.

Wrote this Yesterday

Today, I am tired of death. My patients' bodies are shutting down, and it makes me tired. Striker makes me tired, because he is tired. And his wife is tired. Baby makes me tired, because she is tired. AML is terrible. It takes healthy ones, defeats them over and over mentally, physically, emotionally, and then it kills them. Tonight, I am just tired, and I am going to go to bed now.

In other news, today was my first day as charge nurse, and it wasn't terrible.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

A family lined the halls that day. All the same family, watching waiting. Then, when it finally came, a soberness rested on the whole place.

A young one died that day on our floor.

One nurse said, "I just don't get it." She didn't say, but I know she was talking about life and God. We're okay when the old ones die. It's part of the reason we work here. But the young ones take us deeper to ask questions about who is ruling the universe.

I've been thinking lately about how God is King. It changes everything. Everything. If God is king, then all the stuff that I think matters really doesn't. All of the stuff I think about on a daily basis has very little to do with reality. The world is upside down.

Thursday, August 12, 2010


I just watched a movie about cooking and blogging and butter. It was lovely, and a couple of tears surfaced, though none dropped.

I met some people at work. One was the nicest man, and I wish I could have him over for Thanksgiving dinner. I don't know if I'll ever hear from him again, but I have mixed feelings about this. Oncology nurses face attachment issues, and everyone has his own opinion about what "too attached" means. If I see him again, I may understand more about that.

I think about people I've cared for in the past, and I have no regrets about attachments. I only feel honored to have cared for them. Sometimes, tears surface or even drop for them, but I am not a mess. My life has more meaning, because I cared for them. I think of the man whose hair I cut during his induction chemotherapy. I think of Norwegian man. I even think of yellow man who was more obviously close to death than the others. None of them are living now, and soon, my Thanksgiving friend will go, too. Normal people don't understand what an honor it is to care for these. They think about is the pain I must feel.

I met someone else at work that helped me remember simple math. If I expend more energy than I take in, I will lose weight and be tired. At work, there's very little replenishing built into the system for nurses. Bottom line: I need to eat more, buy more plants, and take more baths.

Recently, a friend asked me if I'm doing what I'm made for. I think I was wrong when I said, "Not yet". It's like sentences. Every word is important. And this word in my life is part of my testimony.

"They overcome him by the blood of the lamb and by the word of their testimony." Revelation 12:11

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

What I Saw

My day was spent seeing machines breathing for tiny bodies, babies with flat affects who startled as I drew near because of abuse. There are no opportunities for teaching when the parents are just not there. There are no opportunities for interaction when the other's consciousness is just not there. I gave pain medications based on a heart rate and a blood pressure. Sedatives, paralytics. I saw lifelessness, and I saw myself sustaining it. 

Even though my actions may have meant healing and life, I couldn't see that. It's why I wasn't cut out for the PICU. It's not because of the PICU, it's because of what I saw there. And I didn't want to stay long enough to become numb to it, to see something else.

Betty says crying is like washing the windows of your soul. I went into the shower after that day and spent some good time sitting on the floor of the shower all huddled up and crying for the children until he came in. He saw me, and got in the shower with me. He lifted me to my feet and held me. When he got out, he put the plug in the tub, and sat beside the tub and let the water fill up around me. We talked. I don't remember what we said. But it was good and healing.

Maybe it's because it was the first time anyone had ever really entered into my place of sorrow. Maybe it's because it was the first time it was really evident that I wasn't alone in anything anymore, that I didn't have to run away or hide to be sad. Maybe it's because it was a picture of God - how He enters into life with us and makes it bearable, because we're not alone, how we don't have to be clean to be with Him. Whatever the reason, I saw it as the very definition of precious itself. 

"I will make your battlements of rubies, your gates of sparkling jewels, and all your walls of precious stones." 
Isaiah 54:12

So Long Insecurity

I just have to repeat this from Beth Moore's book. 

"We can stop playing the game. ... When we work from an activated mentality of God-given security, we are fully capable of thinking another woman is beautiful without concluding we are ugly.  We can esteem another woman's achievements without feeling like an idiot. We can admire another woman's terrific shape without feeling like a slob. Where on earth did we come up with the idea that we have to subtract value from ourselves in order to give credit to someone else? You see, it's our insecurity that makes us so poor at math. It constantly leads us to the draw the wrong conclusion." 

Oh, it feels like relief. How freeing it is to be objective, to enjoy another woman's talents and beauty without comparing it to my own. Do you ever just feel happy for another person without thinking of yourself - even if it's a little kid? Please just extrapolate that feeling. You can feel happy for another person without thinking of yourself. 

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

ants and the important things in life

Yesterday, I got to work, and they told me I had the day off. I went to Arlington Cemetery. People swarmed like armies of ants. I didn't get to see the ceremonies at the Tomb, because others had more patience to weasel their ways to a point of view. I did get to see Thomas, though. I spent some time watching him. He stood straight as an arrow and held his mouth and jaw strong as the ants streamed around him. He and the other men are images of strength. Afterwards, we went to a pool party with his buddies and ate burgers. All of his buddies's wives want to be nurses.

Today, I got to work, and they told me a patient I took care of last week died over the weekend. I didn't think about it again until the drive home. It makes me cry a little. I love it, though. More than any other feeling, I feel honored to have taken care of that woman in her last days. I rubbed her feet and back. I warmed up her soup in the microwave. I did all of the piddly things like keeping track of her IV lines, giving her meds, making up her bed. Somehow, they're important.

Our day on the floor was so busy that our manager bought us milkshakes. I didn't get time to eat mine. I don't even know if it came. There were some things that I couldn't get to today, like lunch, and double checking fluid orders. I think this is a trend I'll be experiencing more. I ask God for help with knowing which things are the most important. I do everything I can, and I leave the rest up to Him.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

You're it.

Several things have changed this week, and I can finally talk about before. It's been about a month and a half since I've done any nursing work. I've transitioned out of the PICU. It takes a special person to work there, and I'm just not it. 

I couldn't talk about it for a while, because it felt like failure. I couldn't get any vitality from the PICU. I couldn't learn to cope with those kids. I used to hear people say, "I could never do that" about various things. And I always thought they were being silly. Of course you could. But I'm there now. I could never do that without losing myself. I wouldn't be I anymore.

When I was out and about and I saw a little one, my heart would be crushed. It was too easy to think about how he or she could be in the PICU in a blink. It was too easy to sense their vitality and remember where it's not. It was too easy to know exactly what that little one would look like in the PICU.  

Sometimes staying happy is a battle. Depression is the enemy, and canons of isolation and accusations are densely packed. It's been that way for me lately. I've gotten some ammo of my own, though. 
  • Always have something planned for Monday morning. A walk with another woman is a good option. 
  • Be bold about helping people. Don't think. Just do it.
  • Meet with people. My Beth Moore Bible Study Group has been my salvation.
  • Don't go to bed sad. 
I just landed a new job this week. On Monday, I start working in an adult oncology department. It takes a special person to work in oncology - only this time, I think I'm it. 

Monday, April 19, 2010

and another thing....

A little girl went to Home Depot a couple of weeks ago. She walked in the door, walked to her left and lifted her chin high as she scanned All of the signs. You know someone is lost when they are reading the signs. A tall man walked toward her, and, sensing her lostness, asked, "What can I help you with?"
"I need wood," she said apologetically. 
"What kind of wood?"
"I'm building a box," as if she'd already started.
"Oh, so you need wood-wood." 
So I brought home my cut pieces of wood-wood and began sanding. I wasn't sure how this box was going to assemble. I had some Elmer's wood glue, tack nails, and considered that my box might need more love. I carefully glued the first two pieces - a bottom, and one side. My dad had warned me that my box might be more trouble than it was worth. But the glue set up quickly, and I didn't need to let the first pieces dry before gluing the rest. I put the whole thing together in twenty minutes, to my surprise, adjusting the points of contact as each piece melded to the others. I placed exactly one tack nail before I discovered that more would not be necessary.

I'm currently putting the finishing touches on before painting. The cuts weren't perfect, so I'm sanding down a few edges, carefully filling spaces with glue, sanding every surface to perfection.

I have never done anything like this before, and I find it very satisfying to take time to create something well. It's going to be a great box. It's purpose is to be beautiful while containing the ugly, necessary things on a shelf in our living room. The visionary in me finds it possible that there will many more such boxes to come. I've had quite a fetish with boxes and baskets lately. The creative side in me is considering putting a panel of weaving on its face. The practical side of me wants to create a lid to keep dust out. I've got big plans for this box.

"God saw all that he had made, and it was very good..." Genesis 1:31

Monday, March 15, 2010

Only a Year Between Five and Nine

I went to a nice dentist today. He said, "Do you eat? Because you have the teeth of a nine-year-old," which made me feel very pretty indeed.
I'm listening to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland in my car. The man who reads it is great. He does all the voices just right. He makes me wish I was British.
My dentist said that several years down the road, I may need my real tooth to be replaced with an implanted one. "We always try very hard to keep your own teeth intact as long as possible, because we can never make something better than what God already gave you." He was very nice.
I went out for supper with some more friendly people tonight. One of them is a nurse in the NICU. She says she hated her job for the first year, too. *Sigh of relief* because it gets better. Only a year, right? Only a year.
My dentist and I talked about the midwest and how people wave. And how people are rude here.
I introduced myself to a neighbor today, and he said, "Hi," without offering his name. There are probably a hundred people living in this apt complex, and I know the names of two of them. Bree, and her mom Trina. They live next door to me. Trina listens to loud hip-hop music. Bree is about five years old. I hope we can be friends one day.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


I made a mistake this morning at work. It didn't cause my patient harm, but it could have if someone else would not have caught it. I feel terrible about it. And I feel anxious about it still, even though it's over. I'm ready for a day off.
I hear my preceptor's voice in my head about everything. I hear her explaining how to make the decision to give this med, to hold another med, to reposition, to wean oxygen, and most recently, when to change lanes in traffic. Her voice is very calm and she has a Dutch accent. She's great. I'm glad I don't have my friend's preceptor. Her voice is a few octaves higher and several decibels louder. Having her voice in my head might incite a new anxiety prescription.
I've been told a lot lately that I need to ask more questions and ask them sooner. I think it's this thing deep inside of me that needs to be reprogrammed. I can fix things. I've been pretty good at it, actually. At Curves, I would just wander around until I found something broken, and I'd fix it. It's instinct. For now, I need to take my fix-it hat off and put on my inquisitive hat. I need to ask before I fix things.
This is my biggest struggle in the PICU right now. Emotionally, I've been pretty stable, actually. I think it's our patient load. Many of our patients have been awake. And maybe I'm growing some thicker skin, too.
It's time for bed. Goodnight.

Friday, February 19, 2010

New in Town

So in case I haven't mentioned it enough, I've been recently married. Two months today, actually. I know this, because I received an email from, a sequel to Their emailing intention was to help me with all of the things with which I must be struggling at two month of marriage. I can browse easy recipes, get tips about battling the post-wedding blues especially the ones related to wedding debt, and even buy The Name Change Kit for $29.95. I admit to you: their help isn't really relevant to me. I don't need their recipes. Our wedding is paid for, and my name is successfully Katie Banley for all major government and financial institutions.
People talk a lot about marriage being a difficult thing. Right now, I feel that there are a lot of hard things going on in my life, but marriage is not really one of them. My marriage is pretty much an escape from all of the hard things.
The most difficult thing between us was uncovered by a recent conversation in the kitchen. Generally, I have been feeling that there is no food in our house. Generally, Thomas has been feeling as though we have too much food in our house. Bread is an example of this. I have been buying bread, English muffins and a loaf of whole wheat bread here and there. Thomas sees this bread and feels pressure to eat it so that we can start fresh and obtain something new. "We have so much bread, so I'd better eat it all up." I don't understand this mentality. Neither do I understand how the bread could be gone every time I turn around. Conversely, Thomas doesn't understand how we could possibly have a continuous supply of the thing he's working so hard to deplete. I'm buying; he's depleting. I'm gathering; he's preparing for the hunt. Our efforts are thwarted by the other.
This is the extent of the difficulty between us so far. I can't discount anyone who says that marriage is difficult, though, because I can see how things outside of a marriage could easily become things between two married people. There are plenty of difficult things outside of us. At some point, they will probably come between us, and we'll have to work hard to resolve them.
Thomas and I get along very well. This is a blessing from God. Many people are married to someone with whom they don't get along. My brother says that marriage is something in your life that God has given to you to manage. For us, God has managed the getting along part already. We just do.
What I am trying to say is that everybody gets their own things to manage. I don't know how he decides, and I don't know that his methods measure up to our idea of fair. I saw a homeless woman asking for money on a busy Baltimore street the other day. I've seen a lot of homeless men on the Baltimore streets, and coming from the Midwest, I am moved every time. But seeing a woman in her thirties on the streets makes me wonder what's really happening. It makes me wonder what I'm doing with all of my time. We all need to be somewhere. We're like hamsters on steroids around here, peddling away on our impersonal wheels.
It's the strangest thing for me - feeling like I'm overstepping social norms to introduce myself to my neighbor. Have you seen New in Town? Maybe you should, because then you'd understand that in my heart, I'm just Blanche, the lady with the clipboard who brings over tapioca and asks:
"Have you found Jesus?" -Blanche
"I didn’t know he was missing" -Lucy

Thursday, February 18, 2010

I am a new PICU nurse.

I am a new nurse in the PICU, and that means that my schedule often leaves me wondering what day it is, what time it is, and what to call the meal I'm eating. It's very disorienting coming home in the dark morning and seeing people fresh from showers getting into their cars for work or to see kids waiting for the school bus. It feels like night, and I am ready for bed, but it is really morning. Do you say, "Goodnight," before you go to bed at 8:30am?
I am a nurse, so I pretend to be confident, to have things together. But sometimes I feel as though I am walking in circles. Sometimes I really am. Parking... There are several parking garages, several randomly closed streets, and a mountain of traffic. Navigating... After I park in the correct parking garage and find the correct exit, there are several tunnels connecting buildings. I must find my unit in a matrix of unmarked hallways and dungeonous-looking corridors. I function mostly by intuition, and this makes navigation hard. Once I come to a fork in the path, I first try the hallway that just "looks right" or "feels right". One of my classmates recently decided that she should invent a GPS for inside buildings. I have sarcastic feelings about that. Things like, "Then we can really rely on technology instead of our brains." and "Then nobody ever has to know where they're going just like we never know people's telephone numbers." and "I think they already did that. It's called a map." Stuff like that. But the other part of me is honest with myself and thinks it's brilliant. Storing my lunch... I must say that this is a relatively easy task, and I think that I can confidently say that I have mastered it. Finding a bathroom... Very few toilets service all of our nurses and visitors. It's incredible, really.
I am a rookie, and that means that I make everyone else feel smarter. There are new orientees coming through every three months. So right now, we're the rookies, but in a month, we won't be. The rookies who just graduated from rookieship helped me fill out a piece of paper the other day. Then they looked at each other and started laughing, because somebody is finally dumber than they are. It's a good feeling.
I am a new nurse in the PICU, and that means that I am in shock. In nursing school, our patients were mostly alive. Usually, we could have conversations with them, take them for a walk, ask them about meals. Now, my patients are mostly dead. I might've already said this, but I used to think sick meant throwing up, pooping your guts out, etc. Now I realize that "sick" can mean unresponsive, deformed, brain dead. When I first got here, I wanted to wander around the unit in spare moments and see what else was going on. Right now, I am having trouble. When I walk around, I hate what I see. It catches me off guard and I am pricked at the unnatural body positions, unnatural facial expressions, unnatural portion of death among the living. Sometimes I come home, and I just lay on top of my husband and cry.
"Are you wiping your snot on my shirt?"
"Man, now I have to change shirts this week."
He says other things, too, that help me breathe and function. Simple things like, "Why does it have to be your goal for them to get better?" And it's profound, because some of them are not getting better and are not ever going to get better. If my goal is for them to get better, I fail. If I can change my goal to just love the poor, suddenly, my work is meaningful. Suddenly, I am doing something that matters deeply to my Savior. "Jesus said you'll always have the poor."
I am a new PICU nurse, and it means I'm functioning. It means I'm wondering if nursing is really the right career for me. It means I'm crying more than usual. It means I'm tired. It means I'm leaning on my people even more than usual. It means I'm hearing beeping in my sleep. It means I'm learning to take care of the sickest kids in the hospital. It means something, and that means everything.

Till we have faces, I don't see.

I went to church on Sunday, and it was a long awaited relief. This East Coast thing is very...different. I have not met my neighbors even though I've got two doors six inches from mine. I don't really expect to know their names unless I get really ambitious and introduce myself. Anonymity is the norm.
The people at church were warm, but not fake. We sat by an oncology nurse practitioner who began her career at my facility. Her husband is a techie and musician. They and their children are hoping to be missionaries in the Middle East by the end of the year. They invited us for bagels with their family after church. They've adopted a kid from Guatamala and have three of their own. They also invited us into their small group. I'm itching to be a part of it.
Anyway, church. The pastor's laying the groundwork for a series related to life's big question: Why? He's speaking about the question with words that relay that he's asked the question before like the rest of us. Simple words weren't enough for him either. He needed more like the rest of us.
It's a tough thing for a pastor to address. It would be so much easier to preach a sermon on prosperity or to get people all hyped up about God being alive and everything else. But he's taken it down a notch and pricked every heart. He's treading carefully, thoughtfully.
He advises us all to draw a closed shape like a circle or a square. It represents God's wisdom and knowledge. He asks us to shade in our portion of wisdom and knowledge. "Do you have a dot on your paper? Can you even see it? Maybe some of the answers to the why's lie within God's wisdom and outside yours."
I'm glad it's not the end of the series; it would be a real bummer. But it lays the groundwork. Why deformed bodies? Why beatings? Why brain death? Why trauma? We wouldn't be asking if we understood. But perhaps there is an answer. Maybe we don't have access to it.
Haven't you heard so many people say, "When I get to heaven, I'm going to ask..."? I stole this idea from this sermon. It was stolen for the sermon from some writer (CS Lewis?). Maybe when we get there, our knowledge and wisdom will brighten and all we'll say is, "Oh, I see."
"Now we see through a glass dimly, but then, face to face." It's my hope, and I'm hanging on.

Saturday, January 09, 2010

Nice About Death Flavor

There's this really cool girl in orientation with me. She's been a PICU nurse for a long time and traveling as one. Traveling nurses sign short-term contracts with hospitals who are short for nurses. They are thrown into the mix on hospital floors with very little orientation. They need to be adaptable and competent in their work. It is well-known in the profession that it is a very high-paying position. Hospitals go to travelers as a last option. It costs hospital units a large portion of their budgets. Most units would prefer to spend that money making new hires, but at times, there are none immediately available. When there are patients, hospitals must have nurses, so traveling agencies are services committed to filling those positions.
It's a general theme right now around the country that traveling nurses are landing regular staff RN positions at hospitals, because of the economy. They want stable positions, because the window of opportunity for getting staff RN positions has been closing. This girl has a rich background of experience in the PICU, and she's going to be working in my hospital as a PACU nurse. Pediatric Post-Anesthesia Care Unit. She takes care of kids in the transition between the completion of surgery and their transport to hospital beds. She keeps kids from dying as they wake up from surgery. She also reminds me of Meg Ryan, but looks more like Claire Danes. So I stare at her a lot. I hope she doesn't notice.
Anyway, she told me that people will come to me, because I am nice about death. Then our leader chimed in. "She has an oncology point-of-view." She says oncology and the PICU clash in their thinking. I guess PICU nurses are generally not welcoming to death. They generally do everything they can to stop it, even after it stops making sense. It's their job. It's the parents' wish. It's the doctor's order. For whatever reason, it's how they function psychologically. To switch the goal of care from "get better" to "die well" would be, according to our nurse educator, "too much" for the PICU nurse. I don't think that's true, though. But I have no experience to back it up. I think there are points where even PICU nurses want to tell the parents to give up. Anyway, my facilitator suggested that there should be a palliative care unit where patients can go after pulling the plug - a unit the specializes in helping patients die well, a unit separate from ICU nurses.
It's going to be different. In my last nursing experience, we were helping people die all of the time. It's a healthy thing to die well, to be allowed to talk about it, to be allowed to grieve it - even before it comes. That's how I see it. Death is a good part of life. But I would see it that way, because I come from oncology.
It all goes into the mix. Everybody brings their specific flavor to the team. There's a girl who wanted to be a vet and worked with tigers and dolphins and whales for a while. Another girl went to Bethel at Minnesota and prays before she eats. Meg Ryan brings her flavor. Us new grads bring our flavors. It's going to be a tasty treat.

Dream Theme

Last night, I had a dream about my childhood friends. I was at Michael Vandal's lake cabin with my friends Katelyn, Adam and Marla. We were doing lakey things like skiing and swimming and what-not. Katelyn was going to take me skiing, so she was setting up the boat. It was going to be the last ski of the season which is usually really warm, but for some reason, this time, it was really cold. Suddenly, the lake started flooding several inches a minute. The boat Katelyn was preparing tipped over! There was no choice but to start a rescue mission for her. The lake had two life-yachts tucked away around the lake, and one of the locations of the boats was Michael's cabin! So I navigated the boat a little. I picked up these two old ladies who were hanging out in the water in lounge chair floaties. The last thing I remember was thinking, "I should probably pick up some people who will be useful to me on this mission."
It's the strangest thing, though. I have had several dreams where Michael Vandal is a major part of the dream since graduating from high school. No big deal, right, but the kicker is that we were never really close friends. I dream about him more than any of my other classmates, except for Katelyn with whom I am still very close.
I don't remember having a huge crush on him or thinking about him a lot. We talked once in a while, but not any more than any of my other classmates. I have one significant memory of him from high school, but it's not anything that special. I had decided to quit basketball, and it was a major decision for me. We had a serious conversation about that. I don't even remember what we said. He might've said, "I think you're making a mistake." I might've tried to explain my decision. He might've listened. Normal stuff. It was significant to me, because I was having a really hard time with that decision. Somehow, he helped me a little bit...I think.
They're not racy dreams, either. Normal, everyday stuff. I had one once that we were sort of flirting and I wanted to show off for him. We took a bike ride, and I rode my bike right off of a cliff. I remember falling into the abyss and thinking, "Well, that was a dumb move." In another one, I was swimming in the ocean, and there was this polar bear that was swimming with me, and then a big boat came by, and I think he was on the boat with Jenna Milbrath.
But this morning, I was thinking about Michael Vandal - really analyzing why he would be in so many dreams. I think he might have been the very first boy I ever liked. I forgot about it, though, because it was in kindergarten. I remember saying stuff like, "I love you so much, I'm going to kiss you!" And then I did on the top of his head. He had a buzz cut and I liked that. I still like that, actually. I remember the kindergarten thing to do was to tell each other how much we loved each other with our hands, sort of like our love was a fish we just caught. "I love you thiiiiiiis much." And I remember that I told Michael that I loved him so much that the backs of my hands were touching behind me...which I totally can't do now. I wonder if that's a warped memory.
Now that I think further, I think he was the first boy that ever told me he liked me, and then said he hated me. I don't remember what happened, but I do have that vague memory. So maybe he's been stuck in my dream world, because early on, he was set in my subconscious maze as some sort of symbolic pillar. That must be it. Right?

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

A New Job

I've just begun orientation for a position as an RN in the pediatric intensive care unit for an inner city hospital. It's funny; I still feel a strange sense of loyalty for my old workplace. I suppose it's natural for outstanding facilities to leave a lasting impression. It doesn't matter, though. The real loyalty will be for my patients, no matter what roof is over my head. Truly, either hospital makes a great roof.
Hospital orientations are usually set up quite similarly. First, you go through a period of general hospital orientation. This part of orientation is gruelingly boring. At one point, I figured that my head bobbing up and down trying to fight my lids was probably drawing more attention away from the speaker than if I just rested my head on my hand and let my lids do their thing. I'm a few bucks richer for having gotten through it alive.
We've moved through hospital orientation and general nursing orientation. We're on to departmental orientation: pediatrics. I haven't gotten to taste the buffet I came for yet, but I'm a step closer to the nitty gritty. Today, I met with the peds nurse educator and all of the nurses that are starting new positions within the peds department. Interesting things were said today, things about magnet status, about professionalism, collegiality with doctors and other healthcare staff, education. This kind of language is making me feel comfortable again, like I really am in the right place. Each nurse in the room told how we became nurses. Only one of ten desired to be a nurse from childhood. The rest of us happened upon it, you could say, and didn't really understand what nursing was about until we found ourselves to be one. "Nurses are the only ones who really know what nurses do."
In a few days, I'll start my specialty orientation: PICU. I'll be in orientation a total of 16 weeks. When I'm through, the goal is to be competent to care for two stable patients on my own.
Nowadays, I'm feeling patient with myself. I'm not pretending to know anything, not even to myself. It's all new, and there's a certain period of time where it's okay for everything to be new. It's okay to be able to be picked out as the newbie. I'm the one wandering around the building with my mouth open looking to the ceiling for answers. I figure it enriches everybody to have a newbie around. I'll take one for the team. Inner city life, commuting life, where to park, which place not to stop in the cafeteria, whose faces and names to remember...not to mention policies and protocols, IV infusions, and expanding my knowledge of peds anatomy and pathology. It's a new job. It's the name of the game.

"There are three kinds of people in this world: those who watch things happen, those who make things happen, and those who wonder what happened." -lady in orientation.

Sunday, January 03, 2010

Marriage of the Lamb

I wrote this song to be sung at my wedding. Besides being married at the end of the day, I wanted very much to bless those that came with the idea that this ceremony is just a foreshadow. One day, we'll be dressed in clean garments and be presented to our bridegroom. Check out Revelation 19-22 for the full effect. It's intense.

Marriage of the Lamb

Behold, the bride has been made ready.
She wears the white dress of the saints.
She has been waiting just to see him.
She'll be with him today, the start of forever.

Behold the groom has come back for his bride.
His face was hidden for a time.
Now he has come to wipe her tears away.
He'll be with her today, the start of forever.

Behold the marriage of the Lamb.
Behold His covenant is strong.
He’s come to save his bride from darkness.
They'll join as one today, the start of forever.

Bloody Affair

Church was amazing this morning. The normal pastor is on a sabbatical for two months, so a man from within the church spoke on atonement.
He took us through the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, telling us of animal sacrifices, and finally, the ultimate sacrifice. Adam and Eve reaped the benefits of the first sacrifice. They sinned and suddenly knew that they were naked. God provided clothes for them of an animal's skin, the very first shedding of blood that atoned for the sin that opened their eyes to their nakedness.
A few chapters later, God provided a substitute for another man. Abraham was willing to offer up Isaac, but did he know God would provide a substitute for him (Gen 22:4-8)? He provided a substitute in the same city, on the same hill on which He would later provide a lasting substitute for sin.
One of a few more stops in the Old Testament tells us of Noah making sacrifices for the spared lives of him and his party as soon as the boat came up on shore. In Exodus, the children of Israel used the blood of a male, unblemished lamb as a sign to escape death. "When I see the blood, I will pass over you." Job made animal sacrifices for the sins of his children just in case they had.
Blood makes us cringe, and it's for good reason. Leviticus says the life is in the blood. A friend of mine once told me, as a nurse, "When you see blood coming out of your patient, you recognize that their life is going out from them. You stop that blood in any way that you can." Just so, the animal's life was going out, and God made it clear that the Israelites were to witness it. They were to experience the horror. Their sins, according to justice, required life, the animal's life for theirs.
Isaiah wrote of the same blood in chapter 53, but a different type of sacrifice. This sacrifice was God's firstborn, and after his sacrifice, no other atonement would need to be made.
Romans 3:25-26 "God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus." The entire New Testament is based on the atonement that Jesus made for sin once for all.
Finally, in Revelation, we see that we'll wash our robes so we can take part in the Marriage Supper of the Lamb. What will we wash our robes in? "...washed in the blood of the lamb..."
The story of atonement is found throughout the entire Bible, and it's a bloody affair. It's part of what makes it grip us. It's part of why it changes our whole lives when it does.