"from life's first cry, til final breath, Jesus commands my destiny"

Sunday, August 31, 2008
I had one of those "life is short moments" on Friday. My hospital plays a lullaby over the intercom system every time a baby is born. It's pretty cool. It makes you stop and remember that there is new life everyday, despite the death that you usually have to deal with in my unit. On Friday the lullaby played twice in a row, meaning that someone had twins. The ironic part was that one of the nurses on my unit had taken her patient off of life support a few minutes earlier. Several nurses where watching the heart monitor as his vital signs decreased. It was so strange.

On the floor below me two beautiful babies had been brought into the world while a door away there was an old man breathing his last.

Sometimes I wonder why we think that anything of this world matters. The only eternal things are the word of God and souls of men, right? How often I forget that. The hospital is a constant reminder though. I just wish I was better at doing something about it. I wish I was of those people who lives like every day matters. I think I'm gonna work on it.

what's in a name?

Thursday, August 21, 2008
It's funny how God reminds you or Himself sometimes. Just in case you get distracted by your daily life.
I had a rough day at work on Monday. I was irresponsibly operating off of four hours of sleep and was slammed with one patient going bad, at the same time as a discharge that turned into a new transfer who had coded in CT, and been transfered to the ICU. (sorry if that sounds too nursy, but some of you get what i mean). Anyway, it was busy. And me and the nurse I was working with knew that we would not be clocking out at 7pm.

I was beginning to admit our new patient, trying to stabilize her and communicate to the faimly that her posture was indicative of brain damage, while still being hopeful that she would recover. The only man in the room of five women, and I assume a family member, looked at me and said, "I don't know how yall manage this sad place. I truly hope that you have a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ."

I think I let out a sigh of relief as I felt the room soften. "Yes sir," I said. "I couldn't do this job if I didn't." He went on to say something about how sad it is that people don't serve the Lord in their work like they should, and he was glad to know that I was honoring Him.

The attention at that point turned appropriately back to the critical patient. But his comments changed the entire atmosphere for me. It's funny how just the name of Jesus can trump everything else you're dealing with at the time. Even when there is someone lying on what may become their death bed, there is something about His name that is comforting to me.

I really couldn't do this job without It.

benefiting from the lack of experience.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Sometimes I don’t know how in the world I got here. Things were much easier before I had an RN on my name badge. Now I can’t hide behind the person in charge or default the questions to a higher authority. Most of the time I am the authority.

And most of the time I feel like a child lost in the grocery store screaming on the inside for her mother, but too embarrassed that she’s lost to say anything out loud. So I just stand there alone. Not knowing what to say.

Oh the days of childhood…sometimes I wonder when I turned into a grown up.

I have had more family members in the last two weeks ask me hard questions than I can count. How am I supposed to know if her brother is gonna make it through the next shift or if they should take their 18 year old daughter off of life support? How did I ever get in a position where I have any authority on the issue?!? And am I really qualified?

I had lunch today with my roommate, another new nurse, and a good friend of ours who’s still in nursing school. And as hard as we try to talk about things other than the hospital it never happens. We talk about our patients and the doctors and the cute new residents… and then we talk about the pain. The crap that we have to see and how much it hurts and the stuff that we are expected to know. All the answers we are supposed to have.

I am humbled everyday by my profession. And yes, that’s what it is. I’m a Professional Nurse. They used to warn us about that in nursing school. How it’s not just a future job, but how we are going to become healthcare professionals and it will feel like it happened overnight. They were right. I mean, nursing school was a long, hard fight for me. I never felt smart enough and I worked harder than most people to get through. But I still don’t feel worthy of my title.

I hope that I never do. I want more than anything to have experience and knowledge and confidence in my work. But I greatly fear the apathetic and bitter attitude that comes with seasoned nurses. The thoughtless comments that are uttered in front of patients and the reasoning that sometimes it’s just a waste of money to care for certain hopeless people.

I took care of a girls dying father last week (she was 20) and she apologized to me for having to handle her situation. Her dad’s heart was failing and the doctors had told her they couldn’t do anything else. She said, “I’m sorry that you have to deal with us, being a new nurse.” I literally wanted to grab her and say, “No, you don’t understand! You want new nurses. You want the ones that still cry on their ride home or will sit with you even when they don’t really have time, because they are hurting too. The ones who are going to help your father fight until the last moment. You want a nurse who still feels pain.”

I never want to have so much experience that I start to forget that there is a person in the hospital bed. A person who has a wife, a mother, a son, or maybe a fiancĂ©… a best friend who isn’t sure what they are going to do without them. Sometimes those family members need the nurse more than the patient does. I hope I never outgrow feeling.

even when it's not so well

Sunday, August 3, 2008
I've written a lot this weekend...for me at least. I guess I've had some free time. This is the first weekend I haven't been in the hospital since I started. I've had the privilege of singing with the New City Church praise band...wow, that makes it sound so official :) It's really not...but it will be. It's going to be amazing. I love being a part of something so new and so passionate and so Jesus focused. I love my church.

Anyway. We sang this pretty phenomenal song..."It is Well with my Soul." Know it? I'm sure you do, but if not listen to it asap. It was one of those times when I sang it perfectly in practice, belting every note on key and not even struggling to remember the many verses. But then...in the worship service... I just couldn't do it. I got about half of the song out I think. (good thing I was only singing harmony).

I am not one of those people who talks much about the spirit of God moving. I know it happens and it's amazing when it does. But I've been so drilled with how our relationship with God isn't supposed to be about feelings and emotions all the time that I probably don't recognize the Spirit as much as I should. But I felt it this morning. I had some pretty interesting convo with Jesus the night before and then in church... Well, He was in there...

Back to "It is Well"....

Is it well? Do you believe that it is? I mean really. Not in a "yeah, Jesus died for me, of course" kinda way. But in a yes, it is well with my soul when kids die in house fires because their drunk father was passed out, or when a man murders his kids and shoots his wife or when teens OD on prescription drugs, and when your grandmother is dying of Alzheimer's and for some reason God won't take her home.

That is my problem. With me, it rarely feels well. I have such a hard time singing those words. Sometimes I just don't get it. I know that death is part of life, but how do you rationalize it all? How do you see the pain that people experience and just say....alright, it's okay.

I'm no theologian. I don't clain to know much about this song except I know the dude who wrote it had just lost his whole family in a shipwreck. But I think the words he wanted us to remeber are the verses. The chorus is great, but I feel like it mocks me.

The amazing part about the song is that it doesn't have to be okay with your soul! That's what I've decided anyway. Because he says, "My sin oh, the bliss of this glorious thought. My sin not in part but the whole. Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more, praise the Lord, praise the Lord oh, my soul." ...MY soul. My soul that doesn't feel like it's okay. My soul that questions the death I see daily and cries about the crap that doesn't seem fair. My soul that doesn't always get it.

It's okay because "Christ has regarded my helpless estate, and hath shed His own blood for my soul." He did that because He knew it wasn't always going to be well. He knew that I'd get mad and have doubt and questions...and yes, even anger. He planned on it. He can handle it. He can handle it because He is well and He understands every ounce of my soul.
Saturday, August 2, 2008


The Red Cross is desperate for blood this summer. Last week at work I cared for a patient whose open heart surgery had to be delayed because there were no platelets in our hospital. I work in the largest hospital south of the ATL in Georgia. And one of three Level One Trauma Centers in the state! This is a big deal. I checked on our intranet the same day and saw a report from the Red Cross begging Georgians to donate.

"The total blood supply throughout the Southern Region stands at just over a 24-hour supply. Supplies of types O negative, A negative, and B negative blood are below a day's supply. The supply of type O positive - the universal donor is at a SIX HOUR supply!

In the U.S. about four million people need blood each year. That's one person every two seconds, and the overwhelming majority of people who need it, would die without it...Blood donations decrease in the summertime, while demand increases, resulting in severe shortage."

It is safe for you to give blood every 56 days or six times a year. Donations of platelets, the component that enables clotting, can be made every two weeks, up to 24 times each year. Platelets are often needed for cancer patients on chemo." I wish Relay for Life would preach that!

We need 1,200 people to donate each weekday to meet the needs of our hospital patients. If you are at least 17 years old and weigh 110 pounds YOU ARE ELIGIBLE! There are NO blood substitutes.

14 blood donation centers exist in Georgia and drives are held all over. Visit www.givebloodredcross.org or www.redcrossblood.org for more info.

Please fit this in your schedule! I personally gave blood every 56 days through high school and college and then disqualified after traveling to a third world country. I've never done it since.

Take a friend and donate some of yourself! My patient's surgery delay could have caused another heart attack and led to death. DONATE. It really could save someone's life.

Nursey News

The American Association of Critical Care Nurses issued these stats this year.
I found them astounding. Thought you might want to know what some of your nursing friends experience:

64% of nurses reported having experienced verbal abuse in the workplace (I assume mostly from MD's)

22% have reported physical abuse on the job

20% of nurses have been sexually harassed at work

AND YET... 88% of nurses would recommend their profession to someone else!

Guess that says something about the rewards that come from caring for people.