Sunday, August 31, 2014

the quality of mercy

I sit here writing this post, surrounded by closets that are half cleaned out, with garbage bags strewn throughout most of the house, half filled as I sift through the fabric of my life.  Old bills, photos, and half finished projects that were abandoned because I have trouble concentrating.  File cabinets full of outdated school documents, greeting cards received over the past 30 years or more.  A small stack of letters and cards from a favorite aunt now gone, cards from Christmases and birthdays past with small notes that are about all I have left of my dad.  Cards that made me laugh, from my college graduations, posters from Stevie Wonder's 60th birthday, framed photos of the grandkids that I was waiting to hang until I painted...several years ago.  On and on the list goes.  I am overwhelmed, with the size of the task I have taken on, and also with the emotions I feel as I sift through things from my past.  I reorganize, gritting my teeth and throwing out things I know I kept for a reason, but can't remember why I did as I look at this "stuff".

I'm making some progress, knowing I have tomorrow off to bring some semblance of order to my closets, and thinking about where I am in life right now.  I recently decided to go back to acute care nursing, as a ceritified wound care nurse.  I signed up for a semester class online, my first ever.  It horrified me that the first night of class, when I spent the last hour before orientation started desperately trying to figure out how to sign on (I am NOT a novice with computers or software), that maybe I had bitten off too much, and maybe I should have reconsidered before sinking such a large amount of money into such a big step, maybe I was getting too old to try something new.  I was getting deeper and deeper into a worry state, when I found an article I had saved.

Called "The Quality of Mercy" it details one working day in the life of a couple of nurses and a doctor, including what it feels like to be the patient in the bed.  Told simply, it is a deeply moving article written by Joyce and Richard Wolkomir, with photographs that give a very real feel to the world of nurses and the people in their care.  It was published in the April 1998 issue of Smithsonian Magazine.

I held the article in my hands, not sure if I should throw it away or not.  I had so much stuff to get rid of, and really needed to make a big dent in the cleaning out.  I decided to read it one more time before I tossed it.  I settled on the couch and began to read.  As I read I found myself nodding my head.  With almost 20 years of experience as a nurse, I was no novice, and could relate to one nurse in particular, who had become a nurse "to be of use".  That was when I realized something else was happening.

My fear and worry about the step I had taken back to learning had disappeared.  I became a nurse to help people, to try to make some small difference in their lives.  I realized that I still believed that, and still felt as passionate about nursing as the first day of the first shift I worked as a nurse.  I also realized there was no age limit to working, or to learning.  I could only be held back by my own fears.

I finished the article and put it in my "to be saved" items.  I will read it again someday I am sure.  It reminds me why I became a nurse, helps to bring back my focus.

I get up and move back to sorting through the stuff of my life.  

life is good...                                                                   

Monday, July 28, 2014

grammy fails

Life has been so busy for many months for me that I often feel as though I am in a whirlwind.  Just about the time I feel like my brain is going to explode, I receive a dose of kid wisdom.  It doesn't hurt that this kid wisdom also makes me laugh most of the time.

This weekend the twins were coming, arriving Friday while I was at work.  Usually all 4 grand kids land on me at the same time. This time it was just the twins, with an occasional cameo appearance from John, who prefers his mommy's house (next door) to my house.  (Can't say I blame him for that.)

I prepared for their arrival by doing the most important thing.  I made my bed.  Don't wonder at my reasoning, it is sound.  The kids often take a break on my bed to watch a few cartoons during the weekend, between forays outside to play.  This means they slide under the covers, even in 90F heat, and I sleep in the dirt and sand they drag in and deposit there during the day.

I got a text from Steve later that day:
I asked Dunc why he had lied to Gramps that afternoon about making the bed.  His reply was "well I straightened it up a little after I laid on the bed, and THAT counts too."  Hard to argue with that kind of logic.

Maddie asked me to keep her busy this weekend and I took her at her word.  I don't think this qualifies as child labor:

photo by Dunc's mommy, Jen
Last night we were talking about school beginning for the twins soon and I told Duncan that I would be starting to school about the same time he did.  His response was:
"Did you fail a grade?'

I told him yes (evil Grammy surfacing instantly).  His next comment, without missing a stroke, was:
"What grade did you fail?"

At that point I could not continue the joke, knowing it would just backfire on me, so I told him I had been lucky, and was going to get to learn to treat wounds, and would be able to take a test and get a piece of paper soon that would say I was certified to do it.  He just nodded absently and wandered off. Wounds aren't that interesting after all, unless there is blood. is good. ~cath
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