I dreamed of doing more. I dreamed of being more involved in patient care. I dreamed of playing an active role in the health care decisions of others. I dreamed of doing, of being, of making an impact, of making a difference. I find myself right now in that place I have dreamed of. I'm working right now in the SICU, the Surgical Intensive Care Unit, at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. I will spend 9 weeks there before I graduate. I'm in the middle of my 4th week, so I have 5 1/2 weeks left. I am learning so much and I am enjoying it everyday. I'm living MY dream. I'm still mostly just shadowing the ACNP right now. I make very few decisions on my own and still have very little autonomy, but I have more now than I ever have. My day starts on the floor at 05:30 and ends at 18:30, but it flies by. Most days are half over before I even realize what time it is. So much is going on and there is so much to learn and see. I want so much to grow and to truly become that which I have so desired for so long. The truth though, is that I still have so much to learn. The learning curve is huge and I am simply attempting to learn and grow as much as I can. I have so very far to go.
In the short time I have been there I have seen so much. Events occurred on the floor a few weeks ago that are not common. I observed those events for most of a shift. I have never seen so much blood. I experienced so many things that day that overwhelmed me. I constantly carried those experiences of sights, smells, and sounds with me for hours. When I layed down to sleep and closed my eyes that night, I found that I was still there in that room - seeing those things, smelling those smells. I can understand how men go to war and experience post traumatic stress disorder. Some things aren't meant to be seen. I am so thankful for that day though. I learned so much.
Every day these past two years has been made up of experiences that have slowly brought me to this point. Those experiences have built me up and helped to develop me into the person that I am. God built me for this though, this is why I am here. To share in the tough difficult experiences of those in need. So I'm thankful for that day and every coming day. It helps me to grow, to learn, to see.
I am amazed at the trauma that we can overcome. I am amazed at how quickly and suddenly life can be taken away. I am amazed at families and their various responses to difficult situations. I am amazed at people and their ability to change and grow with various situations placed in front of them. I am amazed at the various people that come to work everyday and the attitudes they chose to wear (or not to wear). I am amazed at the expansive technology we have and the things that we can do and at the things we shouldn't do. I am amazed by how fast a patient can decompensate while in septic shock. I am amazed how a simple cigarette can destroy a whole body. I am amazed that people make the choices they do. I am truly amazed.
There are so many stories that I had intended to tell, so many stories that I needed to tell. Yet they, as I feared, have been lost to time or HIPPA or to wherever the recesses of my soul lie. I did so good last year telling my stories, releasing this adventure of mine. This year I have not done as well relinquishing the experiences that have made up my daily life. I have never been so proud of myself, in all that I have accomplished, as I am in these days. And as excited as I am to finish school and be done with this initial journey, I am so very sad for it to end. Vanderbilt has presented the challenge that I have always dreamed of and desired. The challenge that I have deeply longed for. Vanderbilt has provided me with a true test of my abilities, my knowledge, my skill. I suppose that challenge has been one of the greatest gifts I have ever given myself and while there have been times when I feared that challenge had beaten me (not that I have won yet) there have been times that this challenge has so deeply empowered me. That challenge has become a friend of sorts, an empowering friend and I will miss it. I have within me a deep resilience that has been shown and proven to me in a way that I didn't know could be. I know that I can accomplish and strive and be the person I have always been afraid I wasn't. I am the star of my being and all I have to do is let myself shine - my friend taught me that.
I suppose the challenges of life never truly leave us though. When we conquer one another comes along. When I finish school in the coming weeks, I will have to find a place to live (wherever on this big green earth that is), I will have to find a place to work. Those choices will come as challenges in their own right. I will once again have to push myself to meet them, to embrance them, and to own them. Even when we finish we are never done. Life truly is a marathon and not a sprint. We have so far to go. We worry about so much and there is no reason for it. I say that though as I stress and worry a great deal about August 3rd. I wonder how I will feel and what I will do when I wake up on that day.
The patient of the uncommon events eventually left the hospital and that was good. Somethings work out for the best. But then that is my opinion.
I am afraid to graduate. I have lived a great deal of my life in fear of my future, in fear of failing. I am afraid that I won't be that which I hope to be. But one day, years from now, I will wake up and know that I haven't failed but that I am doing that which I hope to do, being that which I had hoped to be. I will have hurdled the learning curve, I will be writing orders, I'll be doing procedures. I'll be living the full dream and not just living in the shadow.