Monday, November 28, 2016

Joy in the Ride

We found ourselves sitting on the floor of my current rental, playing scrabble, reminiscing on times passed. Times had changed, our friends had married, moved away, had children. We remained as we all had been before, single, but now older.

We talked and laughed and smiled and felt unalone. Talk traveled from the past to the future to the current.

We talked about the course of our lives and how it deviated from the others. Pondering how we had remained as we all had been before while they had moved passed and on.  

“It’s like we were all at a train station”, she said. “We were there all waiting to get on the train. And everyone got on the train and moved on. And somehow we missed it. Somehow we missed our train. And I keep waiting for the train to come, so I can jump on and catch up to everyone. But the train doesn’t come. And I’m still at the train station. I’m still waiting for the train.”

There was a lot of truth in what she said. Some one had put words to feelings I’d had and didn’t know how to express.

Years have passed now and I still think on this night, this conversation, that train.  

I’m not sure what train I was expecting when I waited with all of my peers at the train station. I suppose I expected marriage and children like most of them. But unbeknownst to me, I found myself getting on a train that headed in a very different direction. Confusion of many sorts has accompanied me on my travels, but I suppose it would have no matter what train I chose.

But the truth is, I did get on a train.

A train that has taken me around the world and back again. A train that has afforded me abundant opportunities and amazing scenes. A train that has introduced me to beautiful souls. A train that has taken me on highs and lows and continued on steadfast.

I have found that there is no station. I still have such a long long way to go. And while this isn’t the train I expected to be on, it is the one I chose.

Life is always what we make of it.

Joy is always where we look for it.

And the truth is, I’m enjoying the ride. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2016


The longer I work and experience life in critical care, the more I realize how incredibly little I know. The body is a phenomenal and fascinating organism. Chemical, hormonal, mechanical, electrical functions all working in concert to orchestrate the moment by moment intricate functioning of homeostasis.

Intervening requires understanding. Diagnosis requires understanding. Treatment requires understanding.

I had a conversation with a former student recently. A student who is in the beginning stages of her nursing career, about to come off orientation. She said she was afraid to go off orientation, afraid she’d miss something.

I told her she would. She would miss things. I told her that I do. I miss things.

I’m good at my job, but I’m not perfect. I know a lot, but there is more that I don’t know than I do know. I try not to miss things, but I do. I miss things.

I told her to do her best, to take peace in that.

Most days, I walk away taking peace in the truth that I did my best.

But, intervening, diagnosing, defining treatment is a life or death matter. Missing things can result in death. The responsibility of that truth can at times leave little room for peace.

In place of peace, I am left with a consistent feeling of reverence for the body and the phenomenal and fascinating organism it is. But I am also left with worry and fear (stress), with wonder and a desire to grow (eustress).

The desire to grow, the desire to know more, the desire to not miss things interestingly intertwines within the chemical, hormonal, mechanical, and electrical functions of my own homeostasis.  

It is in maintaining a healthy reverence that I find the most peace. Reverence for the body, the one I care for and the one I dwell within.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016


Driving today. Freely around town. Pups in the back. Food in hand. Passing manicured medians, blooming crepe myrtles. Radio streaming.

DNC this week. RNC last week. Politics roaring. Voiced thoughts, yelled opinions, slandered character, free speech.

A million miles away, 7 women sit at home, grieving the loss of a man, worrying about the one taken and tortured by the Taliban, unable to work, unable to move, unable to speak.

Tomorrow, a most amazing event in the 240 year history of our great nation, a woman will be nominated as the primary party candidate for president. A woman. It doesn’t matter if you like her, if you vote for her, if you appreciate her. It doesn’t matter how you feel, the truth is, a woman is being nominated for president.

His shift was over. He looked defeated, weary. I inquired of his downcast look. He told me of his family, his life a million miles away. He told me of his family here, helpless. I heard his words. I heard his living story. But it felt the million miles away that it is. It felt foreign. It felt unreal.

I deny that I live a life of privilege. I do not have exceptional wealth, I do not drive an expensive car, wear name brand clothes, or go on exotic vacations. But the truth is, my ruler is off. I have measured privilege with the wrong metric. I have measured privilege against excess and not against essentials. I have never gone hungry. I have always had a bed to sleep in. I have never had to worry about clean water or even warm water. I have never had to worry about how being a woman effects me politically or socially or financially. I have never feared the Taliban.

I sit at home. Weary from work and lack of sleep. Content in life. Privileged. Mindful of my Muslim friend, of his family, of those 7 women so far away, of the one taken and tortured, of the ones sitting here helpless.

He told me his life, his story. My heart was affected. He walked over to me, gave me a hug, comforted me.

And as he prays to Allah, I will pray to God.

Thursday, January 14, 2016


There have been so many as of late. So many who hurt so much that they don’t value. They don’t value to the point that they find themselves laying in beds, with or without tubes in their mouths, with counteractive drugs running through their veins, with restraints on their wrists, writhing wildly in bed or lying so incredibly still.


The families come and sit and watch and wait and grieve and their mere existence displays the value that is, that they do not feel.


And there are too many times when there is no family at all, and the value they don’t feel is loudly reinforced by their aloneness.


I’m not sure what it is. I’m not sure if it was the stepping away for a time. I’m not sure if it was the teaching. I’m not sure if it has just been time and aging and maturity. But I feel the jaded cloak that has so long enshrouded my heart cracking and the reality of the work that I do weighing heavier than in previous times.


When rounding, I find myself at times standing alone in the room with the patient, in the dark of night, the patient sleeping, the lights of the monitor illuminating the room, the beeps of the pumps occasionally serenading the overwhelming stillness. When I find myself here, I always think about the day they were born, I think about the purity they embodied, I think about the mother who held them at her breast, and I wonder what transpired from that day to this day.

Black Freeze.

Life has transformed and changed their body and their mind and their heart, but they are still that embodiment of purity.


Sometimes, when I close my eyes, I see the blood stained stripes on the bilateral upper extremities.


The patients remain, pulling at the cloak, unable to be released from my HIPPA locked reality.