even more than a good, brave man

Of course we all know that last week was Martin Luther King Day which of course means a holiday for most folks…and the perfect time to maybe catch a good movie about an American Hero…which would be why American Sniper scored 105.3 million at the box office last weekend.

Don’t get me started…

The days leading up to Martin Luther King Day and after is also the perfect time for American school children to learn about the man and what he accomplished in the times that he lived; which is what Daniel has been doing…as he does every year since preschool. Last week, as I helped study for his test on Dr. King on Friday, I was struck with the fact that this time he was learning much more than him being a good man, a great man, a brave man with a dream for all American children. As a student his age should. Together we studied and talked about segregation, voting rights, peaceful activism, the Nobel Peace Prize and assassination at the hand of a sniper. And I was struck with the consideration my son had as he expressed his understanding of the subject of Dr. King that we were studying together and recent events in the news. It really is hard not to draw some comparisons whether one is a thoughtful, curious 6th grader or a musician accepting an award for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture.

So we made plans for this weekend.

We spent Sunday afternoon watching a film about American Heroes.

Moving.

Shocking.

Painful.

Inspirational.

And as we watched the pivotal scene where some 8,000 marchers (Black, White, Asian, Latino along with spiritual leaders from many religions and creeds) walked across the Edmund Pettus Bridge with Martin Luther King, Daniel reached for my hand and whispered, “They did it!

Yes, they did.

American heroes…all of them.

Of course, as it always is in history, there is much more to the story; and there is the reality of today. May my son always continue in his thoughtful curiosity to learn and understand.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, “What are you doing for others?”
~Martin Luther King

 

like cellophane

Quote

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

It’s one of the age old philosophical questions…isn’t it?

Well?…

Does it?…

Does it make a sound?

Then what about the wife, the mother? If she makes a statement to her family as they are gathered around and they all seem to nod in assent does that mean that she has ever made a sound at all?

Really?!

It’s like no one ever knows you’re there.

Wives and mothers totally get what it feels like to be Mr. Cellophane.

Do they even see you if they don’t hear you?

I mean really?

Am I right?

Of course I am!

Today feeling like cellophane.,

Thank goodness for friends who work along side you, friends, who like you, rarely ever take the time to make it just about them alone, to remind you and them that it sometimes needs to be just that. It needs to be all about you…and them.

And good food and wine…

And karaoke…good, bad, really bad and great karaoke for the win, bitches!

Exactly what is needed to remind you that you are impressive, distinguished, remarkable, valuable you.

All of us.

 

 

deal 2015

For the last two years I have chosen a word for the year. It’s so much easier than resolutions, which I never did any way because…why? Three weeks later they are just going to be broken and then comes the guilt, the shame and the self-loathing.

Yeah.

No.

I am already too good at that having perfected it for the last 50+ years.

No resolutions for me. Not ever.

Focusing on one word to sum up who I want to be and how I want to live this year is what I choose instead.

2013 was the year where I chose to embrace. Miles helped to define 2014 for me.

And for 2015?

I thought about it as I began to write down The Big Top calendar. As usual, the days of the month filled up quickly with work schedules, a couple doctor appointments, birthdays, meetings, holiday plans, parties, classes, practices and half marathon training.

Sigh!

Already it promises to be a busy month because even as the kids have grown up what else would I be doing but juggling?

It’s very easy to become overwhelmed as one imagines that there isn’t enough hours in the day while looking at that calendar.

Very easy.

I look at my coffee mug and smirk thinking that yes, I’m just going to have to deal with it.

DEAL!

When it comes to this year I just need to hitch up my big girl panties and just get stuff done.

Leap.

Without fear of failure.

This last year, with a big gulp and a swallow, I began to try to learn and understand just who I am. With a lot of help, I am learning how to be content that I am enough for me and me alone. I’m not perfect and I never will be but I am enough. Enough to take on the hard things, and be okay if everything doesn’t fall into place as planned. It will be okay to not have everything figured out. It will be okay because I am going to just deal with it. I am going to remind myself (often I imagine) that you don’t always need a plan. Sometimes you just need to breathe, trust, let go and see what happens. Sometimes you just need to deal.

In 2015 there will be good days, bad days and ugly days. And with a little luck, hopefully there will be some great days too. Each day I will face and I will deal with it, as I always do. But this year I will deal with intention.

forever devoted to those committed to my care

While talking on the phone to a patient’s family, they tell me that it makes them so happy knowing that I am there taking care of their loved one.

And in that moment, I am reminded of just one of the eleventy million reasons why I am lucky to have the best job ever.

Eleventy million?

Yes, in spite of my suspect math skills I know that isn’t a real number. But it should be as it represents a virtually infinite number of reasons why I love what I do. Every day there is something to remind me like hearing a parent express to you their trust and their gratitude.

It’s what I do and I love that I get to do what I do. It’s what I pledged to always do almost 25 years ago when I received my nursing degree, as I recited the Nightingale Pledge.

I solemnly pledge myself before God and in the presence of this assembly, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will abstain from whatever is deleterious and mischievous, and will not take or knowingly administer any harmful drug. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession, and will hold in confidence all personal matters committed to my keeping and all family affairs coming to my knowledge in the practice of my calling. With loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physician in his work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.

Composed in 1893 by Lystra Gretter, an instructor of nursing at the old Harper Hospital in Detroit, Michigan, it was first used by its graduating class in the spring of 1893. It is an adaptation of the Hippocratic Oath taken by physicians. While the words are dated, the meaning rings true today as I put on those scrubs, pick up my patient assignment each night and spend the next often exhausting 12 hours caring for tiny humans and their families.

Coincidentally this past week in Michigan, the Michigan House of Representatives, led by Speaker Jase Bolger just passed the bill, HB5958, that would allow discrimination to become sanction by the state. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act, akin to one that made nationwide headlines in Arizona but was vetoed, appears to merely force the government to step aside if a person’s “deeply-held religious beliefs” mandate they act, or not act, in a certain manner. Although subject to legal interpretation, under the Religious Freedom law, a pharmacist could refuse to fill a doctor’s prescription for birth control, or HIV medication. An emergency room physician or EMT could refuse service to a gay person in need of immediate treatment. A school teacher could refuse to mentor the children of a same-sex couple, and a DMV clerk could refuse to give a driver’s license to a person who is divorced.

Personally I share the frustration and outrage expressed by friends who identify themselves as LGBT over this legislative action. I doubt seriously they will seek out a church who preaches hate from the pulpit to preside over their wedding vows, or a ultra-conservative Christian bakery to make their wedding cake or do any other business transactions with those that openly expresses such hate. But imagine an openly LGBT person seeking emergency care in a hospital. Can a healthcare worker really refuse to provide emergency, life-saving care to them because it goes against their deeply held religious beliefs? Would a god actually condemn someone who has studied and pledged to provide care for all individuals needing it?

In 1950, The American Nurses’ Association adopted a Code for Professional Nurses that applies to all nurses, including those involved in patient care, administration, education and research.

Provision 1:
The nurse, in all professional relationships, practices with compassion and respect for the inherent dignity, worth, and uniqueness of every individual, unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, personal attributes, or the nature of health problems.

Provision 2:
The nurse’s primary commitment is to the patient, whether an individual, family, group, or community.

Provision 3:
The nurse promotes, advocates for, and strives to protect the health, safety, and rights of the patient.

Provision 4:
The nurse is responsible and accountable for individual nursing practice and determines the appropriate delegation of tasks consistent with the nurse’s obligation to provide optimum patient care.

Provision 5:
The nurse owes the same duties to self as to others, including the responsibility to preserve integrity and safety, to maintain competence, and to continue personal and professional growth.

Provision 6:
The nurse participates in establishing, maintaining, and improving healthcare environments and conditions of employment conducive to the provision of quality healthcare and consistent with the values of the profession through individual and collective action.

Provision 7:
The nurse participates in the advancement of the profession through contributions to practice, education administration and knowledge development.

Provision 8:
The nurse collaborates with other health professionals and the public in promoting community, national, and international efforts to meet health needs.

Provision 9:
The profession of nursing, as represented by associations and other members, is responsible for articulating nursing values, for maintaining the integrity of the profession and its practice, and for shaping social policy.

As an American, I am thankful for the First Amendment affording me and all American citizens the right to religious freedom…praise god for that! As a person who mostly identifies as a Christian, I am compelled to live by the Greatest Commandment especially in loving others as I (should) love myself. As a Registered Nurse, I am equally compelled my vocation, my pledge and my code to provide the best of care to each and every tiny human who passes through the NICU where I practice, regardless of who their parents are…whether they be straight, gay, married, single, under-age, US citizen, immigrant (legal or illegal), homeless, addict, mentally ill or convict. A life is a life and always precious and worth preserving to the best of my abilities as a nurse. Discrimination of any kind has no place anywhere in this day but especially in an acute care setting where I do what I do. Shame on Michigan House Speaker Jace Bolger and the Michigan legislature as well as anyone who cloaks themselves in such a ridiculous, hateful, discriminatory law in t6he name of whomever they choose to worship!

Let us be anxious to do well, not for selfish praise but to honor and advance the cause, the work we have taken up. Let us value our training not as it makes us cleverer or superior to others, but inasmuch as it enables us to be more useful and helpful to our fellow creatures, the sick, who most want our help. Let it be our ambition to be good nurses, and never let us be ashamed of the name of ‘nurse’.

~Florence Nightingale

play it again: sorting and searching

Originally published October 12, 2008

While many are panicking as they pull their money out of banks and the stock market, my darling daughter #4, Jodie, is ready to put her little stash in the bank. Yes-sirree! The faith of one 12 year old is going to restore everyone’s confidence and end this financial clusterfuck for us all, gosh darn it all to heck! Jodie earned a little over $60 tap dancing her little heart out on a street corner at the Manteca Pumpkin Fair and rather than attempt to blow it all in one place, she decided that perhaps she should SAVE it.

Is this really my child?

Seriously, I was glad to see that she was listening to my words of wisdom rather than my years and years of poor financial action or perhaps she was making this decision based on the pile of bad money management in my personal history. Either way, I couldn’t help but be proud of her decision. She does have savings that we established when she was still a little carpet crawler but it is safely and quietly growing in a credit union account in the Bay Area. One of these days, I tell myself, I will move it closer to home but there is always something else to juggle. In the meantime, Jodie wants to open up her own personal savings account at a bank just down the street. In her perky, golden-blonde goodness she imagines her stopping there after school to add even more money to it when she gets it so she can save, save, save and watch her money grow, grow, grow.

See? I told you she will restore America’s financial confidence.

After a little discussion, I agree this is a good idea for the money she earned and suggest that we go together to the bank and open up her own personal savings account. All I need to do is get her social security card and off we can go.

Easy-peasy.

Not so easy-peasy.

I have the three youngest children’s social security cards filed safely away. The only problem is I can’t exactly remember where they are filed safely away. The obvious, logical place would be my filing cabinet where I have filed “important” paperwork like past income tax forms, my continuing education certificates, the kids’ birth certificates, Daniel’s adoption papers and medical records, insurance policies and other stuff like that. But I am not necessarily a logical, obvious kind of person. Still I am stubbornly certain that those cards HAVE to be in there so there I was this past week, sorting through my files piece by piece trying to find those cards.

During my process I come across one important document that I kind of forgot about…but actually I haven’t. A four-page Traffic Collision Report # 01-054-0734 of the incident that occurred February 23, 2001 at 1615 hours on Camden Avenue just 51.6 feet north of Merrill Loop. Party #1 had no driver’s license number, was 4 ft 5 in tall and was perceived (incorrectly) to be 80 pounds. The report also states that she was 9 years old which was also incorrect. She was 8. She was traveling east on Camden Avenue (it runs north to south) at an undetermined speed. Party #2 did have a driver’s license, was a foot and a half taller and twice the recorded weight of party #1. He was also more than 50 years older. He was traveling north on Camden at an estimated 35 mph. the report goes on for three more pages with detailed illustrations of the point of impact and the 95 feet of tire skid marks up to the point of impact on Camden Avenue. The three witnesses’ accounts completely support the evidence in the street: the skid marks, the stopped flatbed truck with the one ton trench digger secured on the flatbed, the crumpled, battered and bloodied body of the 80 pound 50 pound, 4 ft 5 in tall, 8 year old body of my daughter Zoë and the banged up razor scooter lying curbside.

The sorting and searching of my files stop as I slowly re-read and re-live every detail of that horrible, horrible afternoon. I feel my breath catching and my heart pounding as I scan each and every line of Officer # 3495’s carefully printed and typed report. More than 8 years, 12 inches and approximately 60 pounds later I still haven’t forgotten. I will never forget. How could I possibly forget? I just have it filed away very neatly in my file cabinet…and in my heart and in my mind.

I never did find the social security cards. I stopped searching. After my little afternoon of recollection, my heart just wasn’t in it, I guess. I know they are somewhere, safely filed away and they will turn up right around the time I receive the replacement cards I requested.