Tuesday, August 23, 2011

My little BFF

She says, “I’m her BFF”, and then she giggles. It makes my heart smile.

Haydn, is my oldest niece. And I so dearly dearly love her. I’m often asked if she’s my favorite. I find that question mildly offensive; I’m not going to choose any of them over another. So, the answer to that is no. I don’t have a favorite. I love each of the children (Haydn, Louise, Jonah, Ava, June, Sophia, Caroline, Sweet Nicholas, Baby 9, and Baby 10) as much as the other one, just differently.

I have loved Haydn longer. I have played with Haydn more. Life has afforded me an opportunity to invest more of myself, more of my time with her. We are sweet friends.

Haydn struggles. She has dyspraxia. I don’t completely understand that. I don’t really get it. This isn’t something however that’s wrong with her, it just something about her that’s different from most people. It means that she has a motor learning difficulty that can affect planning of movements and co-ordination as a result of brain messages not being accurately transmitted to the body. So, it doesn’t affect overall intelligence or ability, but just affects particular aspects of development; so she’s not stupid, slow, or autistic. She’s dyspraxic.

People see what they want to see. They hear what they want to hear. They conclude and decide what they want to. It is not my responsibility to raise Haydn, to make decisions for her, to train her up in the way she should go. My only responsibility to her is to love her, to support her, to be the BFF she believes me to be. I hope that I always meet her where she is and not demand that she be more than she can.

I stood right outside the hospital door the night she was born. I waited. I heard her first cry. I found tears streaming down my face. I had a niece. I had a little friend.

I hope that as she grows I’m the big friend that she wants and needs me to be.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Responsibility of Choice

Sometimes it’s hard to know what to do.

You debate. Do I chose A or B? Do I or don’t I? You wrestle with uncertainty and find that you are frustrated with your own indecision and insecurity on the matter. Choices can sometimes become so burdensome.

And yet, all the while there is a small voice, a gut feeling, that presides within you, that is telling you what to do, that is attempting to lead you, that wishes to be heard, acknowledged, followed.

Why is it that we sometimes find ourselves shying away from that voice, from that gut feeling? Was it not designed to lead us in the right direction? Was it not telling us the way to go, the choice to make?

Fear is often the dominating voice that directs our choices, that quiets that voice within us. We hold on to fear as if it had the power to save us, when in actually it may be the thing to destroy us.

I don’t always know what the right thing to do is. I don’t always know what is best for me, so how can I know what is best for my patient?

“We all make choices”. I say this all the time. I say this to mean each person is responsible for the consequences they create, each person has the freedom to choose something different. But sometimes we’re wrong, and the choices we make aren’t good, and we’re still responsible. We made the choice.

Placing one’s self in a position of authority results in one bearing a great deal of responsibility. There are times when I have found that responsibility to be quite heavy, scary, and grave. I did not know or understand how heavy a weight it would be until I felt it on my shoulders, until I carried it on my back.

I sent her out. I brought her right back. I shouldn’t have sent her out. I knew that. I did it anyway.

We live. We learn. We grow.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Unicorn Spotting

There are some things we hear about all of our lives. We learn about them in school, study them in our history books, imagine them on television. But the reality of seeing such things is rare and unique and invaluable.

I had such an experience today. Something I have heard about all of my life. I studied about it in school, learned about it in history books and novels, and watched many a movie in which it was featured. Today was not a history lesson, a story, or a movie; it was reality that I encountered.

I suppose the experience was surreal. Yet it was beautiful and magnificent and truly a chance of a lifetime. The sight was one of aged beauty of overcoming significant tragedy.

A few years from now this opportunity will definitely be obsolete. Time with result in extinction. Life, therefore, demanded that I soak up this opportunity.

And so I did.

It’s not every day that you encounter something that once seemed mythical. Not so mythical though, once it has a face.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Coming Home

Home has become a common theme in my writings. As things have changed so dramatically in my life over the past 5 years combined with the constant moving I've experienced, the idea of Home has come to mean so much more to me than it ever has before. I could link all the posts I've made concerning this topic, but then there wouldn't be any room for this post.

I’ve often reported that Nashville, Franklin, and more specifically, Concord Rd. is my home. That means that home is found in a place, a geographical destination, a physical ground. I still ascertain that fact to be true, but I realized this past weekend that there are multiple facets of home. Home is comprised not just of a physical place but of the people that give that place the meaning it possesses.

I traveled this past weekend on a whirlwind trip to see one such person. The calendar is only three weeks shy of making it a year since I had seen her. I can attest that 49 weeks is much too long, yet it was like it was yesterday and I know that the next time will simply feel like tomorrow. Time does not pass with true friends.

The Bible speaks of Jonathan and David’s relationship; I Samuel reads, “the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and Jonathan loved him as himself.” I suppose there are very few people in life that find their soul knit together with another, with a true friend.

We were not in Nashville or Franklin or at Concord Rd. Yet, my soul was at home.

There is such comfort in being with another who knows you like she knows herself. There is such comfort in being with another who loves you so unconditionally, so purely, so undeniably. There is such comfort in being with a friend who completely understands what it truly means to “get Jesus” and lives her life in such a way, without judgment. There is such comfort in being with another who helps make you stronger, healthier, better, happy. There is such comfort in being with someone who is knit to your soul.

Life and time has afforded me amazing opportunities and experiences with Karen Craun Perkins. We have laughed and cried and shared so much. We have traveled many miles: Hawaii, Las Vegas, Georgia, and many other simple towns. We can shop together and it works. We enjoy eating new foods. We appreciate the ups and downs we independently experience. We share our faith.

Sometimes we find that home isn’t found in a place, but in a person.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Circadian (out of) Rhythm

I’ve mentioned it before, (night shift, 36 in 48) but it seems that the gross reality of the situation has been staring me in the face lately. I am NOT a night person. I, specifically, was not designed to stay up all night long and sleep during the day. It is against my personal nature, against my circadian rhythm .

Yet every time I work it’s either a 24h shift or a 12h shift and it’s always during the night, always demanding that I sleep the next day. Some people thrive with this type of schedule, some people not so much. Me? Not so much. I hate the way it makes me feel, hate that I spend my “off” time recovering, hate that I’ll just have to do it again in a few days.

I think it may feel worse today because I’ve been off so long and my body and sleep cycle is super out of sync with sleeping during the day. It may be because I slept just enough last night to not sleep very much today, to make me feel exhausted when I go in tonight.

Vacations are always wonderful but it seems I always have to pay for them in some way on the back end. If anything, during a vacation when I finally start to feel “normal” it just makes me realize how exhausted I feel most of the time.

There are two thoughts that I have seemed to adopt as steering themes for my life:
1. There are positives and negatives to everything and
2. We all have choices.

I enjoy critical care, that’s a positive. Critical care is a 24h, 365d job; sometimes that’s a negative. I worked last year on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and the day after; that’s just the fact. The hospital and health care arena have different time demands than a lot of other arenas do. I knew that and I chose to adopt that arena for my life, which was my choice.

I fear though, in the very near future, that my paradigm is going to shift the remaining positives to negatives and demand that a choice be made. With every new choice there will still be positives and negatives facets. But it is my responsibility to myself to make choices in which the positives outweigh the negatives. Sometimes that choice is simply in how we view our perspective, sometimes it reaches beyond that.

So what does my future hold? We shall see. But we all have choices…

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

9 days off, 2 nights on

I’ve been off for 9 days.

I’m working the next 2 nights.

It’s nice to have a break sometimes, to get away from the drama that is the ICU. The last shift I worked my patient started crashing. They had been “fine” most of the night and then they weren’t “fine”. I almost lost them.

It’s amazing sometimes how quickly things can change. How swift things can go from okay to bad to worse. When things go worse it usually takes days to recover and that waiting time is difficult, almost unbearable for families because there’s no guarantee that it will go from worse to better.

I had a friend with me that day. A friend that is about to enter her senior year in high school. She flew in from Nashville, TN to spend some time with me. I invited her to spend a weekend learning about the hospital, the ICU, critical care, nursing duties, my responsibilities, and to essentially let her shadow my life.

It was interesting to evaluate my life through someone else’s eyes, to think about things in a completely new way. It’s hard to remember what it’s like not to know something. It’s hard to know what it was like when I was learning things for the first time. I worried all weekend that she would be bored, that she wouldn’t learn anything, that she would feel like it had been a waste of her time. But I was trying to look at her experience through my eyes, it was her eyes I should have been looking through.

She watched when the patient started crashing, when we intubated, placed the central line, the arterial line, and simply worked as a team to emergently save the patient. I’ve seen this situation numerous times; it’s what I do. She had never seen that situation before.

I don’t have her eyes. I don’t know exactly what she saw and how that situation impacted her. But I believe that event had the potential to be a life altering moment in her life. It had the potential to shape her view of health care, critical care, team work, and emergent situations.

I’ve been off for 9 days.

I’m working the next 2 nights. Hopefully, with different eyes.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011


There are times in life when we find ourselves in situations that we never intended to be in. We aren’t always sure how we got there, how to get out of them, or what to do. Change is hard. Life is difficult. Sometimes circumstances make us so incredibly lonely.

It’s hard to do that which is right sometimes. It’s hard to change.

There are also times in life when unique opportunities present themselves; when we find ourselves in amazing situations that bless us in indescribable ways. These situations work to make us stronger, help change come easier, and make us feel less alone.

This weekend, life afforded me such an opportunity. I found myself surrounded by a group of people who enriched my life and initiated lifelong friendships. We shared. We laughed. We cried. We grew.

I do not know what the future holds. I do not know the plans that God has for me. I do not even know the course of tomorrow.

But I do know that I’m loved. I know that I’m not alone. I know that I am blessed beyond measure. I know that there is always someone there to lend a hand, an ear, a hug, a prayer. There is strength in these truths, hope. There is a new found knowledge that I will never be in a circumstance such as this again that will result in incredible loneliness. Thank God for that.

Friday, August 5, 2011

"You're a prize," she said, "you can do anything you want" . And you know what? She's right.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Round and Round and Round she goes. Where she stops, nobody knows.