Monday, January 26, 2015

Us. Them.

The past year has been identity shifting in many ways. One of the more surprising ones for me is that I no longer feel like a nurse. When I used to interact with healthcare providers I felt like an "us" who came in street clothes. Being on the other side of the reflex hammer through 2 hospital admissions and twelve specialists, though, has left me feeling that health care providers are "them."

The hospital stays really finalized the shift for me. When we did the Pre-Op tour I felt uncomfortable in my flip flops. I wanted to curl my toes under. I had never, ever been in a clinical setting with open toed shoes before.  But day after day of living in a hospital as the mom broke me of that. By the time we left I had no qualms as I sauntered about the place in my sandals.

As a nurse I never truly understood the families that would call to ask for help with simple tasks. I felt they were lazy. And I would cut a hard look when I found out they had turned off an IV pump. When my consecutive hours in a hospital topped 100 I understood the families better. 

Some days I wanted to do every task myself because it gave me something to do. Other days I wanted to do nothing because I was exhausted and couldn't think straight. 

Everybody on the planet knows those pumps are annoying. It's intentional. It gets the nurses' attention. But it also made my brain cells start dying at a rapid pace. Hearing it from the hall for 12 hours is different from having it by your head for a week.

I recognize that I started getting cranky during our hospital stays. Looking back I have tried to factor that in as I consider the way I was treated. Factoring in my irritability, there were people who truly treated me like I was an idiot. Which didn't do much to help my crankiness. Having my intelligence change each time someone new walked in the room was maddening. Some talked to me like I was an equally valuable part of the team. Others treated me like I was the child with a developmental disability. 

Being stuck in isolation made me hate everyone. That was not the nurses' fault, I had shifted from cantankerous to downright ugly at that point. 

I am fully entrenched in this Mommy-thing, but do occasionally wonder what I'll be when I grow up, now that I'm not a nurse. One of T's speech therapists suggested I become a Speech Language Pathologist, since I do it every day anyhow. I did investigate programs and the best ones in the country is near one of my best friends. We'll see if the wind blows me to Iowa in twenty years.  

I also think being a park ranger would be fun. 

I've dreamed of a ministry where some woman I know and trust comes and takes my healthy kids when I have a sick one at home I want to focus on. I'm pretty sure I would have to create, it, though. I'll call the ministry, and the women who volunteer for it, Owa. It sounds grandmother-ish without stepping on toes. At least I'm assuming no grandma goes by Owa, since I made it up from "older woman." Young moms shouldn't be the only ones helping each other out. We need some backup from those who aren't in the trenches. 

I've also thought about being an exercise instructor. That would guarantee me time in the gym. 

Microbiology still thrills me. I actually printed off the application for MITs program. I decided not to submit it at this time, though, as they want to know my career goals. I don't think "raising babies" will grant me admission. Maybe I'll look again in a few decades.

Though I'm not a nurse anymore, I do retain some nurse-ish qualities. I prefer military time. I write notes in medical shorthand. And I make Medication Administration Records when my kids go on antibiotics. Old habits die hard.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Blowing On Embers

The house we're renting has a wood burning fireplace. In the cold months we frequently start a fire once our littles are asleep. Everything about it is lovely. The pops & hisses make a melody of their own. The flames jump and pulsate in an intoxicating dance. The heat roses our cheeks and unburdens the furnace. And it has given me a picture of my heart.

Sometimes when we wake in the morning we find embers still faintly glowing, despite hours of neglect. It's fun to blow on them, watching their heat and light increase with our breath. A few times we have seen a pile of gray ash, assumed it dead, but discovered embers hidden underneath. Most days, though, the remains are cold and lifeless.

Like a neglected fire, the warmth and life within my soul has been slowly dying. I felt the cooling begin shortly after we moved from Kansas City. I fought valiantly, attempting to restore the flame through prayer and Bible study and exercise. The slow decline continued. Sometimes I would feel a brief flare up, but would quickly cool again. 

I'm tired of the flares. I want a roaring fire, or I want nothing. I don't want to go to a conference. I don't want to read a self help book. I don't want to be a good Christian girl. I want Jesus. I want the joy of my salvation returned to me.  Though there are moments I despair, the drive for a roaring fire hasn't left. I want to be joyful and peaceful and patient and silly and kind. I want to commune with God.

The ability to create a single flame clearly does not belong to me, though. I feel guilty for not praying more, or better, and for not reading my Bible more. Astoundingly, those feelings have not spurred me on one bit. I am incapable of breathing life into my own embers. I am completely dependent on God to rescue me from this mediocre soul.

But I know He will. 

Though I feel like a cold pile of gray ash, the desire to write this post serves as proof there must be at least one ember hidden somewhere. I am optimistic that some poking around will reveal a spark underneath. And I have faith that Jesus will breathe life into me again. He's the only One Who can.

Breath of Heaven, hold me together.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

This Time A Year Ago

I've been feeling nostalgic for the last two weeks, but have found myself unable to plunk down in front of the computer. Two out-of-town trips, a birthday, a party and two major holidays left my words to percolate in my head. My heart has grown warmer and softer and larger and all sorts of -er adjectives as I have focused on the beauty of my daughter.

This time a year ago I had a baby in a wheelchair in triage. When I finished roaring the first words out of my mouth were, "Is she really a girl?" The nurse's affirmative answer caused a wave of joy and relief to join my endorphin rush.

This time a year ago my favorite portrait photo was taken. I was exhausted, but completely content. This picture captures my motherhood journey.

This year I'm even more in love with that baby girl. I'm still in awe that I have a daughter of my very own. I enjoy so much about her: the delicate mannerisms, her stubborn determination, her gorgeous scrunchy face, her love of cuddles, her patience with her brothers, her irritation with her brothers, the way she tears across the room when her daddy gets home, and ever so much more. 

I love this child.

copyright (c) Elizabeth, Bug's Beef. All rights reserved.