Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Great Mood

I don't know what it is about today, but I am in the best mood. Nothing really spectacular happened. I think it is the weather.

Yesterday, my friend Kate and I rode bikes for about 2 1/2 hours. It was SO wonderful, just cruising around the city, going off on winding trails, catching some rays, and laughing at dogs, ducks, and whatever else crossed our way. When I got home, I fixed lunch and ate it in a baseball chair on my front lawn. Later that day, I went running just to spend more time outside. It was great.

Today was great weatherwise again. I went to class this morning, then took a long nap. It stormed while I slept, though I heard the beginning of it. Then it was amazingly sunny outside, with all types of cool clouds and a perfect breeze. I went to my afternoon class praising God for beauty. I came out of my class to see an amazing sunset. It was the kind where the clouds don't even look real, and it had all sorts of gleaming oranges and bright pinks. Wow. I just kept thinking that over and over. I went to church, and when I left, there was a refreshing crispness to the air. Yay for fall.

Good job, God.

On another note, I became really excited about going back to work tomorrow while I was sitting in class today. This is going to make me sound like a huge dork. Oh well, it is true. In one class, we were sharing a quick synopsis of our personal philosophy of nursing, represented by an art form. (I can hear those of you who really know me snickering now. Sarah? Art? Ha!) Anyway, I was really encouraged listening to everyone share what was really important to them in nursing. I know it's impossible to live up to all those ideals every day, but just to know people were thinking about them and had the ability to verbalize them gave me confidence in my co-workers. I had to write my philosophy some 15 million times in undergrad, but I never really got to hear anyone else's. I'm excited about trying harder to actualize some of what I claim to be my philosophy. See, I told you I'm a dork.

I'm just in a good mood. Maybe it was the peanut butter and banana sandwich that was my dinner.

It's official. Check out the new plates on my car AND the new sideview mirror. It was a victim of streetside parking.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Thoughts on Nursing

I really like my job. (Gasp!) Yes, I did just say that. I really like it. All 12.5 hours at a time of it. I do a lot of gross stuff. Yep, I clean up poop, bathe immobile people, catch vomit, and measure urine. I also pack wounds, clean mouths, and get sputum samples (that's one of the worst.) I deal with blood, sweat, smells, drunks, druggies, explosive diarrhea, and bowel impaction. Yep, I'm a nurse.

But, wow, there is so much more to it that all that stuff. I also hold people's hands while they cry out in pain. I also talk with family members making tough decisions for loved ones. I make people comfortable when they don't have much time left. I help families deal with a possible cancer diagnosis. I explain this chaos we call healthcare to everyday people. I bother doctors to get what my patients really need. I celebrate with patients who make progress. I offer people help with addictions. I help people get back on their own. I keep mistakes from being made. Etc, etc, etc. (This examples all actually occurred in the last 2 days I worked.)

But sometimes I feel like I shortchange people. I'd do so much more if there was time. So much is required of me, there is little left to go beyond the list of tasks I'm expected to complete within my shift. They're here, then they're gone. Sometimes real interaction takes place, sometimes it doesn't. I know as I grow in my practice I will become more efficient at the "task" items, and will have more time for the "real" items. But right now I want to do so much more more.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

The Human Body

So I went to the Body Worlds exhibit today in St. Paul. Here's what the website says just to give you an idea of what it is if you haven't heard of it. A little pricey, but I recommend it to anyone.

The exhibition features about 200 authentic human specimens, including entire bodies, individual organs and transparent body slices that have been preserved through the process of Plastination, a technique that replaces bodily fluids and fat with reactive plastics. BODY WORLDS offers a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see and understand our own physiology and health and to gain new appreciation and respect for what it means to be human.

I thought it was a really neat exhibit, extremely unique. I was so impressed by the intricate detail of the human exhibits, and I can't imagine how much time most of them would have taken. My favorite were the ones that showed the blood vessels. Wow, they were cool! They injected the vessels with this dye that made them like plastic, and then used caustic agents to take off the soft tissue around it, so all that was left were the blood vessels. And I liked seeing the kidneys. I don't know why, I just think they are funny. So little, yet sooooo important. Maybe I just liked them because I work on a nephrology (kidney) unit. :-)

It gave me new appreciation for how wonderfully we are made. Wow, God did a heck of a job. I'm amazed. Totally in awe of his creativity and wisdom. It made me think about how though I claim so much possession over this body I am in, it's really not mine. I only have it because of a gift from God. Romans 12:1: "Therefore I urge you brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleaseing to God-this is your spiritual act of worship." I am to offer my body back to God, to take care of it and allow myself to be used by him for his purposes.

Another interesting thing about the exhibit were that there were this quotes all around on big posters. Some were Scripture, some where quotes about how this life is all there is and we are nothing after death. I'm really glad I don't believe this is all there is, otherwise I would be one depressed person, despite how amazing some of creation is. Jesus said, "I tell you the truth, he who believes has everlasting life." There are a ton of other verses that talk about eternity and God's promises to those who believe, and I wish I had time to recount more of them here. But, alas, I must sleep for now.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Has it really been that long?

I just realized the other day that it's been over a month and a half since I've had a hug. At least, I think it has been that long. Maybe I got some random hug along the way that I'm not remembering right now.

Wow. That sounds really sad. But I don't think it's really bothered me all that much. But it has the potential to eventually.

I wonder how many people go years without a hug or a touch. I bet it is a lot. It really makes me think about reaching out to people, not being afraid to touch them. It also brings to mind the huge issue of loneliness. Though I've had just a small, small taste of it, I know it really destroys people. I think at one point (ok, maybe two points) in my life it destroyed me for a while. I don't ever want to be there again. How many people live day in and day out with love? I see quite a few in my line of work. How many more are out there? Can I make a lasting difference to any of them?

I want to be deliberately touching lives. I'm not quite sure how to do that right now. In reality, there are too many ways. I just don't know which one (or two, or three) are good fits for me.

I have a lot of decisions to make and a good bit of wisdom to seek.

September 11

I can hardly believe it's been five years. I, like most people, remember exactly what I was doing five years ago today when news of the terrorist attacks first broke. I was a senior in high school, in Biology II class. We were about to take a test, and our drama-queen of a teacher ran in and gasped loudly, putting her hands over her mouth. Then she simply said, "I can't tell you what happened till you take your test!"

We thought she was a lunatic. (Actually, she was a lunatic. But that is beside the point.) She eventually did tell us the inaccurate information that New York had been bombed and told us it was the end of the world. I went through the rest of the day, glued to the television though some teachers would only let us put the picture on, but not the sound. I remember being furious with my keyboarding class which was made up of mostly freshman, except myself and one other senior. I was trying to watch the coverage, and they wouldn't be quiet. I couldn't hear well. So I yelled at them. I was a little tense that day. I felt on the verge of tears the whole school-day, but did not cry till I got home.

It is odd how so much has changed since then. Maybe it was something else or a combination of things, but I feel like the world kicked into high speed after that day. Maybe I just started becoming aware of it around that time. Even now, I try to keep up with current events, but they come to fast. One day it's a conflict in this sandy country, the next day it's in another nation. One morning I hear news of earthquakes and floods and fire; the next day's top story is a tsunami, hurricane, tornado, etc.

Wow. The bigness of the world's problems just hits me sometimes.

I get so overwhelmed I can't always watch the news. I have to put down the newspaper, ignore the breaking news of today.

I have to go elsewhere. And this is one of my favorite places. Maybe it will mean something to you, too. Ask me about it if you want.

Psalm 46
" God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; he lifts his voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations he has brought on the earth. He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear, he burns the shields with fire."

"Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress.

Friday, September 08, 2006

I want to share a bit with you....

One of my all-time favorite song lines: "I got a little hope here in my pocket, wanna share a bit with you...."

This is kind of my main hope (haha) for this blog. I get overwhelmed almost daily by all the bad stuff of life: emptiness, loneliness, poverty, disease, injustice, futility, abuse, materialism, yada yada yada. Sometimes it truly gets me down and it's hard to see the good, the bright side. But there is always this glimmer of something else, no matter how bad things get. There's hope. I'm a diehard optimist 99% of the time because I believe seeing the good and keeping that light of possibility is crucial. Crucial for happiness, and just for accomplishing anything. I love hope. It makes life worth living.

I can honestly say without hope, I wouldn't want to be here. There would be no point. So what do I hope for? What do I hope in? I hope in something more, something greater than this rat race of life. I hope I am something more than a beaker of water with a bunch of solutes poured in. I hope in true joy with something or someone bigger than myself. I find my hope in God.

"We wait in hope for the Lord; he is our help and our shield. In him our hearts rejoice, for we trust in his hold name. May your unfailing love rest upon us, O Lord, even as we put our hope in you." -Psalm 33:20-22

Of course, I won't always use this blog to post cheesy digressions seen through rose-colored glasses. I think I'll use this blog mostly to get some thoughts out of my head. I'll probably use it to deal with issues that bother me. I likely use it to rant on some of the bad things I mentioned earlier. I'll probably spend a big part of it sharing my dreams, goals, and ideals with whoever is reading. And I may just use it to update people who care on my life since I recently moved 900 miles from anything I've ever known. I should apologize on the forefront that I get a little melodramatic when I write. Sorry. But please post your comments and tell me what you're thinking! I'd love to hear from you.