Has it really only been 3 months since I last held his hand? Kissed him on the cheek? Put my hand over his beating heart?
It feels like a lifetime ago. And yet... if I close my eyes... I can vividly see myself at his side in the ICU at MD Anderson in Texas. I remember sitting in my little chair at the side of his bed. Staring at his EKG, staring at his IV pumps... making sure they changed the bags and reset the machine so it wouldn't beep and annoy him... just in case he could still hear it. I remember wiping his eyes, washing his face, giving him a shave (after he got trach'd)... so just in case... he'd feel better... cleaner... more presentable. I remember it all. It just feels so long ago.
It's nearing the end of October! Let's see... I've felt like so much has happened these past few months. I'm 2/3rds done with the semester taking 16 units (I'm crazy and never dropped the class I'd told myself to drop), I've been doing public health nursing things in San Bernardino County, interning at St. Jude on tele... learning a lot, doing a lot of things that are pretty new to me.
More things that are pretty new to me... I started BSF, maintaining intentional accountability relationships with multiple women, and the most fun new thing... been meeting up with and hanging out with more people the past 3 months than I probably had in the entire year previously. Maybe even the past two years.
I seriously remember thinking this way and it's almost shameful but I'll admit it. Whenever people used to ask me to do things... the first thing I would think of is an excuse as to why I couldn't go. I'M SO SORRY. I rarely wanted to go out to do things, see people, or even talk to people (and then I complained about why I had no one to hang out with...). So this is why all of this is pretty new to me. I'm more likely now to say yes than to think of excuses why I can't go... it's gotten to a point where I somehow have a really hard time saying no. I'm exhausted, but I'll go play tennis anyway. I know I should be doing homework or cleaning my room, but I'll decide to go meet up with someone anyway. Every blank space on my google calendar is now an opportunity to schedule more time with people. I told myself that I need to back off on the scheduling... that I needed more time to myself... more time at home... and then...
I just scheduled another hangout this morning. I told myself to cut back on scheduling things, but... my heart yearns to see people, to share life with them... and yes, to share a meal with them. Maybe... all the energy I poured out on Anderson... I'm now pouring out onto everyone around me. A little bit here, a little bit there... I just feel like there's so much more to give. Like my heart is bigger. My heart feels more. My heart laughs more. I care more. I miss people.
I definitely feel like my heart of stone has been replaced with a heart of flesh. One other thing I've noticed is that my heart becomes grieved when I see people hurting, people in pain... I just want to help them. I don't pick up on everything around me, but definitely a whole lot more than I did before. It might seem like it's normal to empathize with the pain of others, but honestly, I don't think I ever did that much before. It's almost like, I used to have an eggshell all around me and it would take some force before that eggshell would crack. Now I feel like a hardboiled egg without a shell. Every little thing that pokes me makes a dent. Kinda hurts. But I hurt when they hurt. I'm OK with that.
I don't mind. I'm not tired of it. Not burned out... yet. I feel like I've been blessed with so much... my heart's been overflowing with so much... I just WANT to pour out a little love here and there. Even saying "I love you" to other people... whenever people used to say it to me, I'd feel myself not wanting to say it back to them. I'd only said "I love you" to Anderson or my parents... but now it's like I want to say it to everyone. It's so bizzare. Too much love coming out. Pardon me if I make you uncomfortable. I can't help it. Weird stuff comes out of my mouth.
This is getting kind of long but I just wanted to share a little bit about something that made me happy at work. A few weeks ago, I was working one particular night at the hospital. I had 2 patients who were... so sad. One of them was one of those needy, high maintenance patients, the ones that the nurses don't like having. Another one was not that high maintenance, but just sad about their failing health and kept making comments like "I wish I had a new body" or "I've got nothing to live for". Maybe it reminded me of Anderson's struggle. I dunno. I just felt really compelled to spend more time with these patients. The high maintenance one never wanted me to leave the room so that one was easy. But as I waited with her... I felt like holding her hand... so I did. Hand holding is really... difficult for me. I don't hold hands. Anyway, I held her hand. I stood there in silence, holding her hand. With a glove on. I then somehow felt compelled to ask her if she believed in God. So I did. She said she was methodist. So I asked her if I could pray for her. And I did. I'm ashamed that I forgot her name while I was praying for her but oh well... I prayed for her anyway. After that, she was just so thankful. I felt happy that I could do that for her. Such a small thing, but it was something. And then the other patient... I told her that I would come back and talk to her because she was complaining that she was bored with nothing to do. So I went and did my charting things and came back to talk to her. I made small talk. I really don't like making small talk. I asked her about what she used to do. I asked her more and more questions. As I was talking to her, I saw her smile. Just seeing her smile... I was so happy. I asked her if she could try to get some rest... and she said that she would try. She smiled. Really... just such small things... I hope the two of them felt a little bit better during my shift with them. Anyway. It was a good day at work. I love my profession. It's pushing me to grow in areas that I need to grow in. It gives me opportunities to share a little bit of life with people in need. I get to help. I'm really glad I'm a nurse. Makes me happy.
OK, such random thoughts but I just thought I'd write down the changes I've noticed... sorry it was so long... and all about me. K... better go get some stuff done before work tonight...