Saturday, December 21, 2013

Little Momma and Patients

No, I did not make a typo in the title.  Yes, I meant patients, not patience.  Although, ever since working at a hospital, I have learned a lot about both.  I love my job and it's interesting to be on the other side of things: at the bedside as opposed to being in the bed.  My experience with my own bad health has given me a great deal of empathy for the patients on my a point.

With my baby a day or two after surgery
After a few months of taking patients to the bathroom, changing poopy briefs, telling them what year it is, etcetera, I have started summing people up outside of the hospital by how I think they would be as a patient.  It's a rather cynical way of looking at those around you, but I just can't help it. As a former patient and current nursing assistant, I have analyzed myself in the same manner (at least I am an equal opportunity in this way). Although young, coherent, and presumably spritely, it turns out that I am one of the worst kinds of patients out there. I have composed a list of things that patients should not do, and you can see for yourself how I measure up.


1. Apologizing for everything.  Say you've called someone in to bring you water, or to wipe your bottom.  "I'm so sorry to bother you, I know you're busy.  I know I'm being so difficult!"  Admitting difficulty and being self-deprecating does not justify anything.  What justifies the situation is that you're in the hospital and need assistance, so please stop apologizing!!!  Serving you is my job, okay?!

Okay, guilty of this one. I thought surely apologizing would make it up to those around me.  It does no harm, but it doesn't help a lot either.

2. Taking off anything hooked up to you.  Whether it be an IV, a heart monitor, or a simple oxygen sensor on your finger, please, please don't remove it!!!  The nurse and I have put all this crap on for a reason!! Yes, I know it's uncomfortable, but it must stay on.

I'm BIG TIME guilty of this one, unfortunately.  I recall taking off my O2 sensor because it was "annoying me" multiple times, only to get it put back on each time.  Little did I know, they knew every time I took it off.  On the other side of this, it's now one of my biggest pet peeves.  

3. Refusing to "ambulate" aka walk.  Sometimes, getting up and going, if even for five minutes, is essential to recovery.  We know you're tired and we wake you up all hours of the night.  We know you're in pain.  But truly, walking will help jimmy that gas right out of you and get you back on your feet on the road to going home.  However strenuous it might be, it will help.  Just a few steps, maybe??  I'm not trying to kill you, I promise.

I would never get out of bed.  All my doctors, nurses, and assistants would tell me I needed to walk and I was never into it.  After my C-section I hardly made a round; after my ileostomy, I only made a few trips through the hall. And I probably felt the worse for it.    

4. Calling out multiple times in a row.  We get a lot of calls from a lot of patients.  When you keep calling, I feel less inclined to help you RIGHT AWAY (although I will, if only to stop getting the calls).  If I haven't stopped by with what you need after 30 minutes, okay give me a ring; I might have forgotten.  Otherwise, I'LL BE WITH YOU AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!!!!!

Yikes.  I feel so bad for all my nurses and nursing assistants I ever had during my hospital stays.  Whether it was a question about my beeping IV, or needing a new pitcher of water, I'd call out if it didn't happen within 10 minutes.  Again, just....yikes.

5. Explaining how to do things.  Sometimes, you think you know better than your nurse and your nursing assistant.  We know how and when to empty your catheter; yes, I know I need to put cream on your bottom after I wipe it. All the people working on you have done this hundreds and hundreds of times.  You're in good hands.  Have a little faith!!!

While I know my own disease very well, and what medicines work, I don't actually know how to put in an IV or much else, in fact.  Yet, I'd try to suggest things to the nurse and the assistants all the time about how to care for me.  If only I had known the nurse was thinking, Um, okay, like I don't know what to do.


To summarize, I'm pretty sure all my nurses and nursing assistants hated me.  I am, in fact, my own worst patient.     
The sovereign Lord has given me His words of wisdom, 
so that I know how to comfort the weary.
Isaiah 50:4a 

Friday, December 20, 2013

LM presents: A Case for Santa

Since around October, I have seen various articles and posts regarding what I think my generation of parents believe is...: the Santa Crisis.  Christian parents everywhere are questioning the morality of what could be the greatest and most festive fabrication of all time; that is to say, letting your children believe in a man who climbs down the chimney to give you presents.  Of course, he only does so if you've been good enough and he's been watching the whole year!

The argument I've been hearing is that our poor misled children are too obsessed with the notion of Santa Claus and forget about the true meaning of the season.  So we must quickly snuff their whimsical fantasies of the jolly bearded St. Nicholas who can travel 'round the world in 24 hours via flying reindeer.  We better make sure they know the TRUTH about Santa and immediately or else they will end up like all the rest of us: ruined and spiritually misguided.

To the Santa naysayers, I say a resounding, "BAH HUMBUG!"

When I was a little girl, I was terrified of Santa, but I wanted nothing more than for him to stop at my house.  I left notes transcribed by my sister on my door to "leave the presents, but don't come in".  I'd lie under our Christmas tree wondering what he was to bring me this year while listening to my cassette tape of Madonna's Santa Baby. Come the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring, except for me.  I couldn't bear to sleep at the prospect that Santa was delivering my gifts that night!  All I could think about was Santa.  Would I hear him?  Does he know what I really want??  Bright and early (well...dark and early) Christmas morning, I was never disappointed.  Kris Kringle always got it right.  So when my dad broke the news to me at the age of nine, I was devastated.  Christmas would never be the same! 

And it wasn't the same.  It was different.  Christmas had in fact become more whole as I matured and grew up, embracing it for the true meaning, celebrating the most important birth in Bethlehem, and in the whole world. To this day, I still get very excited about presents even though I know who is really giving them, but I celebrate the Christ part.

All of this to say, I am 99.99% positive that letting your children believe in Santa does not lead to spiritual depravity.  It does not make you a bad parent because you're "lying" to them.  (As my dad put it, it's one of the greatest ruses of all time.)  Santa is a fun way to celebrate Christmas and explain how all those presents ended up in the living room. I am pro-Santa because I believe there is a way to balance his persona with Luke chapter 2.  If your kid becomes too obsessed with Santa, making him top priority, you remind them that, yes, Santa is great but Jesus is better and gave the best gift of them all.

So yes, growing up, my child's presents will definitely be from ol' Saint Nick.  Merry Christmas, everyone!

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:16-19 

Sunday, December 8, 2013

LM's Christmas Card

Dear Friends and family,

        Anyone who knows my family knows we are far too frugal (especially this year) to send a physical Christmas card, although it's something I am determined to be able to afford one day.  So instead, our season's greetings come in the version of a blog post.

        The scene is certainly perfect for penning a Christmas letter: it's snowing outside, I have my "xmas" playlist going (consisting of Mariah Carey, Ray Charles, the Eagles....only the best), and I'm listening to my baby babble in the background. 2013 has been a rough, yet amazing year.  A birth, major surgery, a wedding, new jobs...the list goes on!  

           JDK is pulling up wherever his little arms can muster, crawling up stairs (especially if you entice him by saying there are dogs to lick him at the top), and has two teeth. He will be getting a box for his first Christmas present from Santa (I really don't think he needs anymore toys! Ian and I always say he's the richest poor baby ever!)

          After applying to what seems like a dozen places, Ian has gotten a job as a server's assistant at Ruth's Chris Steakhouse.  As a future patron of the posh restaurant, I couldn't be more excited.  We get a discount, but you won't see us eating there for another few years... He's keeping his current job as well, and has done exceedingly well in school this semester, especially considering he's writing papers while bouncing a baby on his knee after getting home from work.  So thankful for a hard working husband!

          I got a job at a nearby hospital as a nursing assistant, reigniting my goal of becoming a nurse anesthetist.  I work 3 night shifts a week on a unit dealing with geriatrics, bariatrics, and a smathering of other kinds of (mostly older) patients.  It's a very demanding job and I couldn't have done it without the miracle of modern medicine!  I will be going back to school next fall to continue my education.

         I hope you have had an equally blessed year and that 2014 will be even better.

Our family to yours