Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Show Them Your Tears

My Facebook page is inundated with nursing posts.  It makes sense- I've been doing this long enough that the majority of my friends seem to be nurses, and it also seems nurses love to talk about being nurses.  I... don't? Except for here? Which, well, I guess I still don't these days.  Some of this stuff makes me laugh.  Occasionally I run across something that warms my icy heart.  Mostly these things make me roll my eyes.  Mostly because they come in the form of clickbait garbage; most recently, it's "five things nurses want you to know but can never tell." Number one on the list? We cry for you.

I'm sorry.  That's just bullshit. 

Not because I don't cry for you.  But because it isn't, and shouldn't be, a secret. 
Obviously, you should still have control of your faculties. I save my snotty nose crying for the house, because raccoon mascara eyes is not a cute look for your nurse. Obviously, not everyone is a crier. Not everyone is emotionally demonstrative.  And that's okay.  It doesn't make you less compassionate; people just handle their feelings differently.  I cry. And I won't hide it.

Personal loss changes your attitude about things so much.  Greif is a lot of times a weird, out of body experience; it's so isolating that it almost feels like you're not even there anymore.  I remember driving to both my grandparent's funerals and watching people on the street, going about their lives.  Feeling how weird it was that my entire world was caving in, and everyone else was just buying groceries and going out to eat.  It's not that you expect the world to stop, but you just feel so small and so utterly alone in your pain. I'm doing much better than I was a while back, but hard losses bore a hole in your heart. You're hardened yet softened, and you see your own pain in other people's.  And sometimes that's what other people need. 

I let the tears go with a family recently.  They were incredible people.  And their family member, by all accounts, was an incredible person.  Sadly, cancer cares about none of these things, and sometimes, it moves fast, overnight; even when you're expecting it, you're not expecting it.  It was awful, but serendipitous.  They had just had "the talk" a few days before- the "how far are we going to take this?" talk- she wasn't medically experienced, but she did manage to tell them " I don't want any tubes coming out of me."
They all came together, and they all respected her wishes. 

Sadly, even when everyone is on the same page, death doesn't happen like it does in the movies.  People don't peacefully fall asleep never to wake again.  In fact, sometimes the person you love most breathes like a fish out of water for hours. It's horrifying.  Why would we pretend it isn't? Why pretend our hearts aren't breaking if they are? I went back to the death of my own beloved and all the things I wish someone could or would have done.  I did just those things, and it hurt- some for me, but mostly for them.  I did everything I could, but I did it with tears in my eyes.  I didn't have anything else. 

In medicine, we're so guilty of trying to fix everything.  I've felt so powerless and guilty in bad situations sometimes knowing that nothing I did was going to make things better, and I couldn't take the pain away.  Maybe it's not about that though.  We can't change what happens, but we can make people feel less alone.  That the ripples of their grief don't stop with them, and that their pain is real. 

A few months after this happened, a coworker reached out and told me she was a friend of this family.  That this woman's son had told her that among the pain, he was grateful for everything, but didn't know how to express it.  She was getting choked up talking about it, as was I.  And as many tears as I continued to shed the rest of that day, that I continue to shed now, I'm so grateful to have been a part of this.  Not because I changed anything, but because I was able to be there, and the people who mattered knew that someone cared.  Not because I was able to buffer any of the pain, but that I could appease some of the loneliness.  Because I will always remember them, and they will remember me, and we'll be bound together in out pain in a way I can't quite describe.

It's not the tears that matter, really. It's letting the humanity spill out of you, even when it hurts so much more than holding back.  Not because it's good for you, but because it helps someone else.  And sometimes, that's the least you can do.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Better Late Than Never

Welp. What can I say. I just logged in and realized I ain't even been on blogger since 2015. And I have to say it feels pretty great. So why even do this now? Honestly I let my blog float out into the ocean because I didn't feel like I had anything to say anymore, but now I kind of do. I looked back through a bunch of my own posts a while back and felt like I needed to say sorry. Sorry for being such a dick sometimes. Sorry for sometimes crossing the line from being funny and real to just being petty as hell and hateful. Sorry for sometimes handling constructive criticism really, really immaturely when there were very legitimate criticisms to be had.
I'm not saying everything was crap or that I regret starting this blog, because I met some amazing internet friends and another internet turned IRL friend who is about to become part of my family soon, and it was absolutely great. It was a way for me to connect with a lot of other people in a job where I at first felt very, very alone. For the longest while, it was very therapeutic, probably to an unhealthy degree, in that I probably should have been getting ACTUAL therapy instead of just putting all my business all over the Internet.
Which brings me to the other actual point. From one human to my other fellow humans- deal with your problems. Like as they're occurring. And don't keep telling yourself that if you can function and put stuff all off that it means you're fine. Depression manifests itself in very weird ways, and I think some of my worst moments came from not dealing with things that were actually really awful for me at work and just having no tolerance for anything.
I don't want to blame any of my own shortcomings on this, but it's only in retrospect that I look back at a lot of stuff and realize I was not in a good place. And I say this on the heels of being in a much worse place but having actually FINALLY had the courage to make a phone call and go do something about it. I say this because I had the same opportunity before, wrote down the number about 5 times, and never called. Don't be like me.
If you're in a tough place at work- our jobs are really, really tough, so it happens- most places have an employee assistance program. I can honestly say it was a godsend and I wish I could go back and get all the sessions I didn't use, because it's amazing. Just call them. For real.
I won't get into the nitty gritty, but after personal loss tragedy fest 2k14, I had literally the most traumatic and horrifying patient situation at work, started taking on even more responsibility with school, and I literally just never dealt with anything I was going through, until I started crying all the time for no reason and I had to really psych myself up hard to even get out of bed in the morning. Just counseling allowed me to kind of get to the root of my problems and even though I'm still neurotic as hell, I at least recognize when I'm going down a shitty rabbit hole that's only going  to end in sad feels.
Cognitive behavioral therapy is a miracle. I'm in a better head space than I have been since maybe forever. I'm only able to see some things for what they were much, much later. So sorry to anyone who got  caught up in my bullshit at the time. I still feel like I'm making a lot of excuses, so sorry for that too, but I think we all want understanding in those times we're at our worst. So that being said, I'm not mad at those of you still commenting on old posts that I am/was a bitch. Even though it's rude, you may have been right, and maybe you're going through some hard times yourself. Take care.

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Current Mood

Or at least mood in triage today-
Credit to little brother for finding one of the best memes I've seen in a while. But for real you guys. IRL conversation I had today. 
Patient "I was here last week for such and such symptom, it hasn't gotten better so I called my doctor and he told me to come to the ER but I'm not sure why."
Me "Because it's Saturday"
Patient "Yeah, that's what I thought."
She was cool at least. 
I'm at the triage desk on the reg now though, and it's the actual worst. I had multiple people get mad at me today because they didn't know their family/friends names and I couldn't find them. One of these situations resulted in us calling back to confirm the name of a girl who's boyfriend didn't  know her actual name, only to find she didn't know his legal name either. Thankfully they were reunited when she was able to describe him as " the guy in the pot leaf hat".  It was truly a love story for our time. 
Another dude brought his family member back on a Saturday because "they told us to come back for surgery" and I guess today was a convenient day. I found their papers and explained we don't do surgery here, that they had to call the surgeon. He then proceeded to check in a totally different family member for a different complaint. 
Anyway, TL;DR, triage sucks. Miss you guys and interneting but don't know when I'll be back. I have posts in my brain but also a super active baby that's into all the things now.  Bye!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Life updates

Welp, I pretty much failed that whole getting back to blogging thing, didn't I? In my defense, shits been crazy. Not like OMG I've got so many lunch dates lined up crazy, but like, did you actually mean to say yes for everything on that stress inventory checklist crazy.
My husband and I bought a house, a perfect old adorable to the point of cartoonish house. To say the process of doing so was a bitch is probably an understatement- also so pregnancy, such stress, many tears, wow.
But nothing to put your home buying woes in perspective like actual legit suffering- losing one of the most important people in my life.  To say I lost my grandma a couple of months ago doesn't really cover it. I lost  so much. My hero, my family's matriarch,  my biggest fan, the person who always saw the best in me yet pushed me to be better than I am- is gone.  In many ways I still feel completely lost without her. Our dog died a week later, because apparently my life was determined to become a shitty country song for a while.
In the middle of it all though- my baby. The most beautiful and humbling and terrifying thing in the whole world, surely the only reason I got out of bed for a couple of weeks.  He's perfect. More than I ever would've had the audacity to ask for. The first few weeks I had him, and still occasionally now, I'd burst into tears looking at him, because I was so overwhelmed at how unworthy I was to be part of something so wonderful. I don't have the words. Every cliche is true and still completely inadequate to capture the beauty of it all.
In so many ways I'm a completely different person because of these things. The empathy I experience is different. It's much more raw.  Being on the other side of what I do is humbling. More specifically, it's terrible.  I hope it's made me a better person- I think it's made me a better nurse.  I know what it's like to be pregnant and terrified things are going wrong all the time now.  I understand now when people bring in their new babies for every little thing, or at least, the fear behind it. I know all too well the sadness of that big family, the one who's lost someone about whom we'd probably say "it was time" or "they lived a good life".  I know now that these facts change absolutely nothing, that the loss cuts just as deep, that you feel just as lost without them there. I can really, truly begin to fathom now the pain and horror that would be losing a child. The feelings I get for others hurt so much more right now.
The upside, though, of being hurt, of being helpless, in being in the care of others, is that you learn exactly what kind of person you want to be to every soul you encounter. You're so acutely aware of and so gracious for the kindness of others. You find out exactly how kind and beautiful people can be, and  you can store up every little word, every gesture, all the goodness; you can keep these things and let them grow inside you and wait for the day that you can give them to someone else.
It's small things we can do, and now I know. There's a few moments and people I'll remember forever- I doubt any of them have any clue. The charge nurse that hugged me when he saw me crying in the hall the day my grandmother was dying.  My wonderful L&D nurse holding me like a child while I got an epidural  through Pitocin contractions, whispering in my ear how great I was doing the whole time because she could tell how scared I was. My son's pediatrician at his first appointment , smiling at us and saying "you guys are doing a great job" in her super kind, laid-back way after two weeks of hell worrying that my kid wasn't eating enough..
It's not that I didn't know at all before, but it's so different feeling it. The gravity of other people's goodness, and the opportunities we're given to be everything to someone for a moment. I took my job seriously before, but it weighs even heavier on me now.
Not to say that I'm not still sarcastic and salty as hell. Not that I'm not still small and petty or that I don't mess up on the regular. It's just that I know how scary and vulnerable it is to be in the care of someone else, and I appreciate just how far a little compassion can go.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

MOAR posts

Over here, y'all. Maybe I'll start posting here again someday soon. Right now putting on pants is a whole thing, so bear with me. Miss you, dear readers.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Welp, Here it Goes....

The stabby, ragey antics you've come to expect here, now at my new communal co-blogging endeavor with my buddy Shrtstormtrooper at the link.  Thanks again for being such an accommodating host for my hood rat ways, lady.  Bloggin', take two.

And as a bonus: I hate exercise about as much as this adorable cat at this point.  FU,  round ligament pain. 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Lots of Changes, Except for the Amount of Profanity

Oh, hey there internet! What have you been up to? I've been pretty out of touch with things here in general, unless you're counting baby animal videos and occasionally seeing what comments crazy people and spammers are putting up in regards to year old posts. (We all know because one nurse in the ER one time questioned your need for dilaudid we are ALL cynical bitches- super sorry for my profession).
Anyway, life is pretty busy here. I'm gestating a human now, which is pretty cool, other than the no booze for 9 months part.  Oh also I quit my horrible garbage job and I'm generally somewhat more bearable to be around now, hormones aside. Calm down, I still work in the ER- it's not like I really have any other life or job skills- but this time I'm working for the local non-profit-we-actually-give-a-fuck system of hospitals. I've been here for a couple of months now and most days I don't go home feeling like I've been violated to my core, so that's pretty sweet.
It's a different world for sure. Staffing is actually based on national safety standards and acuity.  The hood clientele definitely still make it in, but not exclusively.  Yup, thanks to this job I'm actually being forced to get over my prejudice towards well-to-do white folks.  They come here fairly frequently, and most of them are actually nice enough.  This place generally seems to care about their staff. They're big on sparkle sparkle press ganey customer satisfaction rainbows and unicorns, but they're equally concerned about employee engagement, which is rad.  My coworkers are generally cool too. I seem to have really hit it off with the people that've left other ERs in the area and have a little perspective about how nice it is not to get shit on on-the-reg.  The bougie hospital lifers are generally nice people too, but they lack perspective to such a huge degree that I usually struggle to stifle my laughter whenever they complain about the hospital. Oh, and I found out I was pregnant basically the day I started working here, and management hasn't said anything about it beyond, "that's so wonderful, congratulations."
Sooo yeah. Overall I feel a renewed sense of purpose and most days I remember why I wanted to be a nurse in the first place. I still encounter the occasional hilarious idiot and I still deal with unforgivable  levels of douchebaggery at times, but things are way better. I'm not sure I have the motivation or material to come back to blogging full time, but I do miss it. That said- I may be guest posting every now and again on my internet partner in crime's  blog here.  Nothing's composed yet and I sleep like 12 hours a day right now, so don't expect frequency, but you should all be reading her blog anyway.
So yeah. Good to catch up. Missed you dear readers.