I couldn't sleep.
I worked last night and I only slept for 4 hours before I woke up on my own this afternoon. I could barely get to sleep when I got home too. Too full of thoughts. And... I'm glad that they weren't sad thoughts. There are so many thoughts, I can barely contain them. Not to say that I'm not still struggling with some things... it's just that... sometimes a sense of thankfulness overcomes and overwhelms the sad things.
I can't even describe what I'm feeling. I'm just very full of... "yay!" It's a mixture of thankfulness, joy, big smiles that crinkle your nose... kind of like when you see babies of puppies and they're just so cute you have to pinch their cheeks or give them a big hug or give them big fat kisses all over their face because it just can't come out any other way.
Lavish love. I think it's quite fitting that love is the topic of my first blog entry since I've decided to stop counting the days since Anderson's passing and since I've decided to change the name of this blog from Tifferson Continued to Lavish Love. I think... there are many aspects of love that I wanted to put down in writing. I don't really know where to start, but I'll just start... wherever my mind takes me.
I love being a nurse.
I had no idea what kind of nurse I'd be when I started nursing school. I probably had an inkling that I'd be a fairly efficient one, but seriously... when everyone went around and said that they want to be a nurse because they love caring for people... I really couldn't say that was true for me. I got into nursing for more... utilitarian reasons... and because I thought that it was something that I could feasibly and reasonably do. And it's very versatile and flexible. I really don't think nursing is for everybody. Sometimes... the more I think about it... the more I think that maybe I shouldn't encourage people to be nurses. It's potentially stressful, very tiring, it's long hours, hard on the body, hard on the heart if you tend to get sad when you see sad people or people going through health problems... you need a multi-tasking mind... you need to be able to prioritize... to handle stress... to handle things coming at you from all directions...to be disciplined with your sleeping, to be flexible with your scheduling... and the shoes are typically comfortable... but hideous.
That being said... I love being a nurse and I love that I am a nurse. :) It makes me happy. I think I'm very nicely suited to being a nurse... and being a night nurse actually... is very nice in that I can sleep when everyone else is at work and wake up and hang out with people... and I also have days off during the week so I can do things during the week for those people who are still in school. I... really, really like what I'm doing right now. It's... perfect. :)
I've had a string of very grateful patients lately. Is it a string? A run? I've had a few very grateful patients lately. I've also had fairly calm work days so I've been able to talk to my patients a little bit more than normal. Also, maybe the fact that most of my patients were oriented (which in nursing-speak means... "not confused") had a little bit to do with how I've been able to have conversations with them lately. My patients have been very encouraging.
I had a patient a few shifts ago who was a little bit of a grump lump. She was very sarcastic... to the point where bitterness and frustration were just dripping from her words. She was very quick to respond to my assessment questions with passive aggressively bitter remarks... and for some reason... that particular day, I was very quick to quell them. Normally those things kind of hit me by surprise and I have no words in response. After a while... this woman... started to laugh. I couldn't tell at first if she was making fun of me or laughing at me... or something else... but before I left the room... she said thank you. Thank you for making me smile. And I probably responded with something like, "no problem, any time". But... that was just my reflex response. On the inside... I was... somewhat surprised... maybe even shocked.
I had her a second day on a subsequent shift and her demeanor was much improved since the previous day. This time, she went right to laughing and before I left, thanked me for making her laugh. I was happy. Happy to have made her night a little bit better.
Along with the converted grump lump, I had a cancer patient. She was particularly sweet. Very particular, but very sweet. She was quite liberal in making her requests known, but she was also quite liberal in letting me know that I was the nicest nurse ever. Almost every time I walked out of her room, she'd say, "you're just the nicest, sweetest nurse!". And... it makes me really sad when they say this... but she also said that I was so much better than the day nurse. On the one hand, I'm glad that I could make their night a little bit better, on the other hand, I'm always so sad to hear they had a bad day. It happens a lot, actually. I've had quite a few patients ask me if the day nurse was coming back the next day because they didn't like them or some other reason like that. And I'm fairly certain that these nurses were very good nurses. Perhaps just personality differences or conflicts. Usually with the family and not so much with the patient.
I've worked the past three nights. Amazingly enough, I've had almost the same patients all 3 work days. It's lovely when that happens. I had one patient... a very pleasant and sweet lady. But I could tell, she was lonely. I can't remember which night, but over the course of the two days she was my patient (3 if you count that I discharged her at the start of my 3rd night), she opened up to me. She cried in front of me. She told me about her daughters and how she misses them and how she wished they would take care of her. She told me about her friends and about how she wishes she could be there with them and support them. And she told me that she told her friend that she loved them. And we both decided that people don't say or hear it enough... that they are loved. So... please say it to somebody today. Even if it's just "I love you" to a friend... (not if they're going to get the wrong idea and stuff like that) but to someone your heart cares for... just let them know... they are loved.
So I was thankful that I got a chance to discharge this patient on my third night at work last night. She was so happy to go and I was happy for her. Before she left... she said, "come here and give me a hug and a kiss". So I hugged her. No kiss. Sorry, lady. Anyway... it was so nice to have gotten to take care of her. I don't know if I get too attached to my patients. I don't think so. I'm genuinely happy for her and I'm happy I got to spend a few nights with her.
After one of our long chats (which probably wasn't even that long, but LONG by nursing standards... probably a few minutes), I grabbed her hand and squeezed. We probably exchanged a few more pleasantries. As I left the room, I heard her say (to my back), "you're a darned good nurse...". I didn't turn back and say thank you... I... was almost floored again. I had no words.
Now, I'm pretty much convinced that a "darned good nurse" from a patient's standpoint has not much to do with your nursing skillz... and yes, that's skillz with a "Z". OK, I'm sure that if you absolutely didn't know what you were doing, it would show. But... I was thinking about this with one of my friends... that a good clinician... gets the job done and gets it done well... but a great clinician... gets the job done AND the patient looks forward to seeing you when you come around. If the patient doesn't trust you or respect you... or if they don't feel that you respect them... all your "good work" almost goes out the window and they might just call you a bad clinician simply for the fact that your people skills are atrocious. Being a good clinician has as much to do with who you are as a person as your skill set and competency. So when my patients tell me that I'm a good nurse... or that I'm such a nice nurse... or when they ask me if I'm going to be their nurse again tomorrow... and when every single time that happens it amazes me... it really makes me wonder... when did I grow some people skills?
I've heard it said that some people start out nice and then they just get tired or worn out and they become callous to their patients. I hope that doesn't happen to me. I actually see it... in the ways my fellow co-workers talk about their patients... in the ways that my aid and I differ when we talk about our patients. I'm actually... amazed at my patience... and my tolerance. I know this probably doesn't mean all that much since it was from elementary school... but I remember reading on one of my progress cards... that my teacher suggested that my parents put me in team sports because I didn't get along well with other people. Aaaaand... that's pretty much true of me. People frustrate me. I'd grown hard and callous from being hurt and disappointed so many times by so many people that I didn't trust anyone anymore. There were VERY few people that I trusted growing up. And still among those that I trusted... each of them had always done something that hurt me. My solution was to... not rely on anybody. I made it one of my goals to always follow through with what I said I was going to do. And I really tried my best, but I know that I've let some people down and I know that I've probably forgotten some things. I still remember that I promised I'd make a pair of earrings for someone... back in like... 2007 and I still have an outstanding verbal debt to that woman to this day.
Anyway, back to the point. I think a lot. I introspect and self-evaluate a lot. I search my heart a lot. Sometimes, I have no conclusions... so it's kind of fun to get some help sometimes. I was at my friend's wedding last weekend and on a slide show, she mentioned her and her husband's Myers-Briggs. So it got me thinking. What was mine again? I know it's changed. And then I got curious and I tried Myers-Brigging my friends. And I gave up so I ended up just posting it on my FB status update.
I think... that it's quite interesting that most people fit into only 16 personality types. It makes me think that... no one is as original as they think they are... and that Solomon was right... there's nothing new under the sun. What has been, will always be.
So in thinking about my Myers Briggs... and my fairly recent change from an INTJ (a mastermind - rational) to an ENFJ (a teacher - idealist)... and just barely an E... it's been quite interesting for me to ponder this. I never, EVER thought that I would be even remotely extroverted. But you know what... in thinking a little about my life... about my heart and what it desires... it desires to be with people. Even at the height of my introversion... I still remember being sad that it seemed that "no one" wanted to hang out with me. Why was it that if I wanted to hang out with people, I had to plan it? I had to organize? I had to initiate? Did no one love me enough to WANT to hang out with me without me first reminding them? I remember being quite upset about these types of things... for pretty much... my whole life. This past year has been somewhat of an exception.
Why does an introverted person yearn and crave to be with people... to connect with people? Shouldn't the introverted person gain their strength and energy from being alone... in my own world? Is that what that means? I was almost constantly discontent with the way things were... with my friends, or lack thereof. Always wondering... why I wanted to have friends but didn't seem to have very many close ones. I dunno. It reminded me of this time... when I put on a black skirt. And I looked down and saw that it had a flap here and a flap there... had a hole in it... and I thought aloud... why would I buy such a weird skirt? Why would I own something so bizzare? Doesn't seem like me. Aaaaand then someone else told me... uh... Tiff... I think that's a shirt. And I looked more closely... and so it was. I was wearing it wrong. Upside down and on the wrong part of my body. Not the way it was created or intended. That's kinda how life feels now. It feels like I'd been living wrong my whole life and only NOW has everything seemed in order... to make sense... upright and the way it was intended and created to be. And btw... I'm pretty sure that the day I wore the shirt on my butt... was the night before I got married. How fitting... or ill-fitting actually... but fitting... symbolically.
And... as for feeling God's lavish love for me... I feel so loved that God paved the way for me to be a nurse... and to be a nurse at the exact floor, at the exact time, at the exact hospital that I'm working at. I feel loved that God prepared me and my heart to be a good nurse... and that God has used nursing to teach me to be a good person. For the people I've met at the hospital... I'm glad that I was able to be there for them... to make some of them smile... to make some of them laugh... to help them in what little ways I can for a few hours of a given day that I was randomly assigned to care for them.
I don't know if I was naturally born an introvert or an extrovert and life has turned me into one or the other and/or back again... but I think that if you love God, you love what God loves. And God loves people. You don't have to be "way out there" crazy to love people... you can love people in a very low-key way... but my focus... my focus in obedience to the God who created me for a specific purpose... is likely NOT to tend to my own needs, but to put others above myself... to love others with a love that lays down my own life for my friends... to be focused on others and not on myself.
As for friends... I pretty much spend nearly all my free time either planning things with people, or spending time with people. It's one of my favorite things to do. Not so much the planning but the spending time with people. I also love spending time alone. I don't think I've completely let go of any of my original tendencies... I still see my masterminded-ness within me... just as I see the teacher-ness within me. The introverted version of the ENFJ is the INFJ which is a counselor - idealist. I am still all of those things... only now, I plan to be with people because I want to spend time with them... and because I care about them... I want to know what's going on in their lives... I want to hear them share. I want to laugh with them and enjoy life with them. I love doing that. I feel so happy connecting with people and being with people. Does that mean I love people? I think maybe it does.
In order to give give give... at work... not at work... I need to stay recharged, myself. To constantly be giving (and I think what I'm giving is... love) to people... requires an even greater supply within me... a bubbling well... that regenerates and fills on its own... and the only way that happens on a regular basis, without drying out... is when the bubbling well of love in my heart has found its source in the God who has so much love that He IS love. Trying to love people without God's love within me is... tiring, I think. Reminds me of what I spoke at that retreat a while back... God loves us, we love God, then we love people. When it happens in that order... all is well... the shirt is on right... just the way it was intended and created to be.
I don't know if that made sense. I don't know if what I said was what I intended to write about when I started writing but I'm out of time now and my brain is tired.
Ok... gtg. Write you more later.