I don't have a clear idea of what I want to write... I just know that I think I probably need to. I've been fairly emotionally unstable lately... or maybe just full of emotions... like my emotional cup is so full that any little bump on the table causes tears to spill over the brim. Last night was my first night back at work after 2 weeks off. Thankfully I was resource nurse and thankfully I got to go home early. God takes very good care of me. Since I've got a few "extra" hours, I figured I'd just write my heart out so I can sleep soundly.
I'm not sure if it's the crazy switching back and forth between night schedule to a normal "day" schedule... or going from eastern time back to pacific time... or a backlash from the crazy gluttonous diet... but my hands were shaking today as I was starting an IV. Not good to have shaky hands while starting an IV. Veins are delicate. This lady had already been poked multiple times. I could feel myself getting really hot and sweaty trying to stop my hands from shaking. Once again... very thankfully... the lady responded well to my distraction questions and we were able to hold a light conversation as I started her IV. We talked about the twin towers, where we were when it happened, she told me how she used to be a 3rd grade teacher, how her favorite subject was English... I asked about her kids, she told me about them... she asked if I had any kids... and she told me that it's a wonderful thing if you find the right person to have kids with... (the length of this conversation should give you some indication as to how much time it took me to recompose myself before I started this IV...) ... and then I finished. I feel very good when they say, "oh you're done already?". Success. I distracted them enough that they may have forgotten the fact that I just inserted a catheter into their vein... and then taped it all up real nice. What was the point of that story? Oh... the shaking.
Yeah... that's how I feel right now. I'm about to do some pretty crazy nursing things at work... and unlike starting the IV... I've never done this stuff before. I go back and forth between confidence and fear. This is what it sounds like in my head: I can do it! No, I can't. Yes, I can! No, I can't. I'm ready! No, I'm not. I'm emotionally shaking. Quivering.
I also really wanted to blog because I wanted to ask for your prayers. This Thursday, I'm doing a short presentation in front of like 30 managers/directors/supervisors at my hospital. In 2 weeks, I'm going to be transferring out of my unit and starting work on another unit. And a month or couple months after that, I'm likely going to be transferring from that unit into the ICU. Simultaneously, I'm starting to solidify my research question and I'm at the point in my doctoral program where I'm going to start writing chapters of my dissertation.
A week ago I kind of had a mental and emotional breakdown. I was so overwhelmed... I couldn't handle it anymore. I resorted to running. Well... literal running... I actually got on a treadmill and ran. If you know me, I never do that. I felt like all the pressure and the expectations... all the unknowns... all the changes... they were all catching up to me and I asked myself WHY I was doing this to myself and HOW in the WORLD did I get myself into this situation? I was freaking out.
OK this is going to be a long and boring blog... I can tell. Sorry. That's what I get for not blogging when my emotions were at their peak.
Why, oh why, did I start a doctoral program? Why did I interview for an ICU position? Why did I stir the pot and start emailing my CNO (Chief Nursing Officer) about things I wanted to see improved at our hospital? Half the time, I feel like I just "fell" into it. If you miss 100% of the shots you don't take... what about making the shots you just kind of throw into the air? I kinda feel like I just threw a ball in the general direction of the hoop and it either bounced in on its own or like banked off the backboard and ended up in the hoop. And the emailing... I don't know. I'm a crazy emailer. I just email everything.
Let me take myself back to why I wanted to get a Doctorate of Nursing Practice (DNP) to begin with. Actually, I didn't really know what a DNP was when I applied... I just figured that I already had a masters degree... if I was going to go back to school, I'd better get a doctorate this time... and I knew I didn't want a PhD. And yes, a DNP is different than a PhD. Basically, a PhD generates "new" knowledge... and the DNP, a practice-based doctorate, works on applying that knowledge in the clinical setting. DNPs are supposed to be expert clinicians... educated to achieve the highest degree in the field of nursing... reaching the highest level of clinical competency... while still practicing in the clinical setting... while being expected to contribute to academia through teaching and publishing... and to be involved in developing nursing policy... nationally, statewide, instutition-wide...omg... I think I'm starting to have palpitations just thinking about the expectations.
So... presenting in front of nurse managers, unit directors, and house supervisors... communicating with executive management... and also working as a staff RN... those are all good things that help me along the way... so I guess that's why I gave it a shot... that's why I just went for it. And now I'm at the point where I'm about to start "doing" something... and I'm getting all shaky.
I did write an email or two while I was having my breakdown a few weeks ago. I wrote that all I wanted to do was to cry and have someone say, "it's gonna be OK". I did a lot of crying. My dear friends emailed me back a lot of encouragements... everywhere I turned, I was getting encouragement... but it wasn't until a few days ago that I actually heard someone say, "it's gonna be OK" and it really spoke deep into my heart. And then I cried again.
At the point where she said, "it's gonna be OK"... it hit me and time stopped...just for a moment. Deep within my heart... even though I knew everything was going to be OK... I still wanted to hear someone say it. And someone did. I was so moved. It was as if I was harboring an intense craving for 2 weeks and the craving was finally met, unexpectedly, in the most random of places...at the back room of a nail salon. And not only that... she went on to say, "you were meant for great things. I'm not sure what yet, but I can just feel it. You were meant for something special." And then it was as if the table was bumped really hard and I couldn't hold back tears anymore. Tears just fell out of my eyes... down my cheeks... plopping one by one in rapid succession onto my chest. There I was... one hand held by a manicurist... the other hand stuck in a UV light machine... and big fat tears were falling out of my eyes. And then my friend pulled tissues out of her magic mommy purse and wiped away my tears. I was so humbled. I felt such amazing grace. My friend treated me to a mani/pedi... she spoke words of encouragement which spoke directly to the desires of my heart... and went above and beyond... to physically wiping away my tears when I couldn't do it myself. I felt so loved. So very loved.
I've also been reading about Daniel and his buddies. They were Israelites... brought in captivity to Babylon and subject to a foreign king. Not like it's the same... but sometimes I feel like I'm a captive to my schoolwork and my work schedule. Sometimes I feel like it dictates my life... what I can and cannot do. Anyway... so Daniel and his buddies... out of all the good-looking youths that were plucked out of Israel and sent to Babylon school... the four of them were something special. They made it into the Bible for one thing. The reason Israel was taken into captivity was because they disobeyed God. And now these 4 very special boys were chosen... chosen for something more. They were faithful with small things and God put them in charge of big things. If you think about it... it is kind of a small thing... to choose to eat vegetables rather than the king's choice food. Even though food stuff was pretty big among the Jews... it was just food. They stood their ground and ate their veggies and God blessed them... physically... in wisdom... and in favor before the king.
I was thinking about how they ended up where they were... as rulers and governors... and they were technically second-class citizens in that country... but having deep within them a fear of God... and a solid conviction to obey Him no matter what... that was the beginning of their wisdom... and it just permeated to the rest of their lives so that even a pagan nation could recognize that they were something special. And Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego survived the fiery furnace unsinged and unscathed... and may have seen Jesus in that fire. And Daniel... who was so upright and faultless that the only thing that his enemies could think of to bring him down was through his faithfulness to God. He also survived a den full of hungry lions. Those four guys survived miraculously. Their lives were extraordinary... not because of anything they did really... but what God was able to do through them when they feared Him and were simply and faithfully obedient to Him.
So... maybe all of this is just part of my training... building me up for bigger things in the future. I have been placed where I am for a reason. I was chosen to live my life, and mine alone. I was chosen to be a nurse at my hospital... and Anderson played a huge role in preparing me for that. I am who I am, as a person and a nurse, largely because of him. God used Anderson to soften my heart... to open my eyes... to show me love so that I would experience love and also be able to give it... and my experience living with Anderson in the ICU is partly why I thought I wanted to become an ICU nurse to begin with... and the reason I chose to write about why I feel that visiting hours and overnight guest policy should be less restrictive is because of my experiences in the hospital as the wife of a cancer patient... and I'm pretty sure I'm going to write my dissertation on patient- and family-centered care because I want to help others have a better, more efficient, more "healing" experience on multiple levels... and getting there means I'm going to have to communicate my heart and my passion... and what better place to start than right now at the next nursing leadership meeting. This Thursday. In 3 days.
I don't know what I'm doing half the time. Failing is also a vital part of the learning process. So "succeed" or not... it's all going to be OK. God has promised that His plans are for good and not for evil so in the grand scheme of things... He has already succeeded... even if I fail at this presentation. And maybe a failure will be a good learning experience for me so that I'll be better prepared next time. Maybe I'll fail as an ICU nurse... and that'll just tell me that it's not where I was meant to be. Maybe I was just meant to be a med-surg/tele nurse. Hopefully I can still be a good nurse practitioner either way. And if I need to quit, then I'll quit and find something else to do and something else to be. Anyway... it's all really a win-win no matter how I look at it.
God has proven Himself more than able and more than gracious... to me... to other people... to all my Jewish homeboys and homegirls in the Bible... and even in my hour of need... when my heart cried out that "I cannot".. that I am inadequate for the task set before me... His grace is more than sufficient to meet me where I'm at... faults and insecurities and all... and show me that He is God... in great things and in small things. And He also takes care of those little details and sends beautiful hands to wipe away my tears when I need it too. This is a God that does big things like speak the world into being... and small things too... like cradling the heart of this widow-nurse-student. Hmm. I think I'm OK to go to bed now... and I also think this blog was more for me than anyone else cuz it is NOT a pretty post. Sorry. Ending now. Thanks for reading if you got this far...