The Trouble With Unfounded Expectations

Pregnancy Photos: Before & After
If you click on the above link, you’ll find 15 wonderful photos of mothers. Pregnant in one photo and with their newborn in another. The photographs are inspiring, beautiful, loving, and for people like me – heartbreaking.

For a long time as a youngster, I didn’t see the point in having children. I found them to be nuisances; always loud, whiny, and bratty. I told my uncle one day that I never wanted children. He replied with, “won’t you be lonely when you’re old and the rest of your family is gone?” I thought about that for a half a second and said that I didn’t care, that it wasn’t important to me. As you can probably tell, I was a stubborn child. Who am I kidding? I’m a stubborn adult as well.

As I grew older, I realized that maybe having children would be a good thing. I realized that once I found the person I loved, I’d want to create another human life with them. A baby girl or boy to raise, to nurture, to love, to teach. A small child with my husbands eyes and our thick hair. A pretty little girl with my love of reading and my husbands knack for board games. A handsome little boy with my husbands capacity to fix literally anything and my musical ability.

Well, the day came when I met that person. My husband of almost 5 years. In five years, we’ve not even had a scare. Not one. Every month that goes by becomes harder and harder to bear. Every month we hope that this month will be it, we’ll have good news. Every month we are disappointed. A year into our marriage we were asked when we were going to have babies. At that time we were still quite hopeful. Now people either gloss over the subject (if they know us) or ask us the same question, “when are you going to have children?” When my patients ask, I try to laugh it off – it’s not their business. When family mentions it, I tense up. I can’t brush it off. I can’t laugh it off. I don’t know what to say anymore. There are so many emotions that people can’t understand if they’ve never been on our situation. Anecdotes about friends having difficulties don’t help. Especially when those friends had troubles for a year and then conceived a child – and then another the same year, a few months after the first was born. Telling me that you had trouble conceiving your second and third child don’t help. Honestly, they don’t. We can’t even conceive our first. We’d be ecstatic with one child at this point. We really would.

We’ve gone to a fertility clinic. We’ve been told the problem. We’ve been told that most likely, only IVF would work. IVF. Who can afford it? One treatment equals to almost $10,000. We’ve thought about adoption – over $30,000. Surrogates even cost a massive amount even with a friend being the surrogate. It seems like my husband and I are out of options. 

Sometimes I think, maybe it’s a good thing that we don’t have children. This is just the way it’s supposed to be for us. However, deep down I’m not losing my faith. I believe that everything happens in its own time and everything happens and doesn’t happen for a reason. God has a plan and I need to stick to that truth.

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Family

In light of a very recent tragedy that occurred in our family, I want to say something. 

Family is the most important bond you can ever have. It out measures every single solitary relationship you may ever have with a friend.

Family is the only thing that will stick with you when times get rough, when you’re down on your luck, when tragedy strikes. No family is perfect just as no person is perfect. My family is no exception to that rule. We are all a bunch of messed up people that love each other. True, sometimes fights occur, you feel isolated by one person or another, things happen. In the end though, family, true family will always be there. Always with a listening ear, a warm hug, a happy smile, a good laugh. 

I hope everyone appreciates the family they have in their lives – whether it be your own, your spouses, combined. 

Processed

The first time I bleached my hair (a couple of months ago), I instantly regretted doing it at home. Mainly because my hair ended up almost fried and a million hues. Honestly though, the hues grew on me and I ended up enjoying the color!


Well, I figured once my hair was thoroughly bleached, I wouldn’t need to do much but my roots. I figured that I’d go to a salon and get it touched up. I figured wrong. 

Unfortunately, I can’t afford to get it done at a salon because of how thick my hair is and how much work it takes. Personally, I don’t understand how women can afford to go to the salon every month or two…the prices are phenomenal – in a bad way!

So, as it happens with blonde hair, my very dark roots started showing. 


Me, in my infinite wisdom, decided it would be a great idea to have my husband do my roots – bad decision. Not because he did anything wrong, but because I can’t have my hair washed out without having a near panick attack that the bleach is going to seep into my eyes. I know, it’s foolish. Anything can happen though and my mind always jumps to the worst scenario possible. Well, washing the bleach out was a fiasco! I didn’t even want to deal with it halfway through the wash. We used all our towels. We got the bathroom soaking wet. It was a mess.

Finally, my DH put some blonde hair dye just to even out the color, but it started BURNING. Horribly. I’d never felt that before dyeing my hair. The culprit for the burning was a couple of scabs I have on the back of my head – the bleach irritated it and the dye obliterated it!

Hopefully I will look back on this with fondness and wisdom and go to a salon to get my hair done from now on!

Modesty?


I was thinking about this today: So many women lately have equated modesty with men trying to take away their individuality or that dressing modestly is only a means of control.

I have to disagree. 


Dressing modestly means that you value yourself over anything and everything else. Dressing modestly means that you want people to see you for you instead of your skin or other body parts. Dressing modestly shows that you do not need the approval of others for self-worth. 


Immodesty is usually a cry for validation, it is a way to gain admiration without anything deeper than the body you have. The only validation you need is from God and yourself. Self-respect is the only thing that can’t be taken from you.

The Truth

nursing

When you think about nursing, what do you see? I would bet that you see the quintessential nurse in scrubs coming to see you in your hospital bed, scanning your bracelet, running through your name and birth date, and giving you pills while asking you if you need anything, then rushing to the other side of the room or out the door to see his/her next patient.

Am I right?

Don’t feel bad, that’s the reality of hospital nursing. A nurse usually has anywhere from 5-7 patients of varying acuities at a time. Not only that, but most floors are understaffed in both nurses aides and nurses, which makes a regular day on a hospital floor even more hectic for everyone involved. Not only that, but the acuity of patient’s has increased ten-fold. Patients now have multiple co-morbidities, dozens of medications, IVs, PICC lines, central lines, wounds, mental health issues, etc. On top of all this, most patients think that a nurse is there to serve them snacks and drinks while being cheery and focusing solely on them at all times. No one truly realizes the stress, the pace, and the heartbreak of a nurses job.

My last and only hospital nursing job was at a small-ish hospital in Upstate New York. I could reflect and say that we were pretty lucky – during day shift at least. We would have 5 patients (6 at most) daily…with hopefully two nurses aides. In a regular day, if I am lucky, I might have one walkie talkie patient (someone who is able to get around and do things independently), a frequent flyer or two, and either 2 or 3 more patient’s who had undergone some sort of surgery. Now that might not phase those who don’t work in the field. “Oh, it doesn’t sound so bad! Why would anyone complain?” Well, let’s see…I’ll outline some of my most memorable patients as best I can…these are people I had frequently. Then I might outline an entire day from memory, if I have time. If not, I’ll follow up this post with another.

Let’s get on with it, shall we?

Patient A: mid-50’s, overweight male. This patient had had several flap surgeries on his buttocks due to pressure ulcers. Simple, right? No way. Not only was this patient paraplegic, he also had a right above the knee amputation due to his uncontrolled diabetes. He had a Hoyer lift in his room, which he never wanted to use. He was on chronic pain medications and would demand that they be given in the exact way and time that he wanted. If it wasn’t given at the EXACT time, there would be hell to pay. His glucose constantly ran in the high 300s and would refuse his insulin each time he was scheduled for them. Not only that, but he decided that he would be completely non-compliant with his diet. Every day, he would ask for two hamburgers, 2 puddings, and 2 whole milks. And the hospital kitchen staff would comply with his request or else he wouldn’t eat… or worse, throw a tantrum. Yes, that’s right, throw a tantrum. A 50-something year old man. A tantrum. He would yell, scream, grab his call bell and try to hit the nurses, grab milk cartons, spoons, plates and hurl them at anyone who upset him. On some strange occasions, he would acquire a “baby” voice and start calling several nurses “mommy” and revert to a child-like state. On top of all this, he was MRSA positive, which meant every time we would be called into his room, we had to gown and glove.

Patient B: 50-ish woman who was really a man. This was an interesting one due to the patient being very adamant that only certain nurses see her. I understand that, don’t get me wrong. She was a female with male parts – a penis and scrotum to be precise. She would tell people that she didn’t need to get out of bed to urinate because she could “position” herself over a urinal and urinate that way. Well, anyway, she would come in every month or so and we would all dread being chosen. I was chosen more often than not by her…but she had the worst attitude with everyone. I hadn’t had this patient for a while when I heard that she accused a nurse (one of my co-workers and friends) of not giving her pain medication when it was clearly documented in our electronic medical record. Well, much to my surprise – although I probably shouldn’t have been too surprised – she accused me of the same thing. I still don’t know what her angle was to say these things, but it didn’t get any of us nurses in trouble because everyone was aware of her.

Patient C: A patient who was paraplegic, in his 30s. “Fired” me as his nurse because I misunderstood what he wanted – instead of placing a bottle of lemonade in the water pitcher full of ice, I poured his lemonade into the water pitcher full of ice! How dare I? His exact request was, “Take this pitcher, fill it with ice, and then put this lemonade in the ice.” Apparently to him, this was a clear request. I don’t know, you guys tell me, was I deserving of being called an “ignorant nurse” for doing as he asked?

Patient D: This one is more about the patient by the door instead of the window, however you must understand what was going on with the patient at the window to see why I was so annoyed with the patient near the door. Patient at the window was mentally handicapped, unable to even transfer himself from bed to wheelchair. Because of this, we had to use a Hoyer lift any time he would need to be transferred. Well, this patient was finally being discharged. Unfortunately, he had just soiled himself and had to be cleaned and dressed prior to being transferred to his wheelchair. So, even though his group home caregiver was with him, she did absolutely nothing. Well, my aide and I clean him up and get him dressed. Put him on the Hoyer and transfer him to his chair. What happens? He soils himself again. Back into the bed he goes with the help of the Hoyer lift. The process starts all over. Now remember, please, that this space can’t be more than 10 feet, if that. We have 3 people in the room, not including the patient. It is hot, it is small, it is claustrophobic. With the machine in the room, it’s nearly impossible to maneuver. Well, finally, an hour later, we are all done and the patient is being wheeled out of the room. As I walk past the door side patient, he says very arrogantly, “I asked for my pain medication an hour ago.” Now, don’t get me wrong, I don’t play with anyone’s pain medications – I am very aware that people need their drugs for comfort. HOWEVER, you just heard my aide and I struggle for an hour with this other patient; I’ve had not one minute to recuperate, and you are going to be arrogant about it? Please, tell me I’m wrong.

These are just a TINY TINY portion of the patient’s I’ve encountered. I have dozens, if not hundreds, more. Add to it minimal breaks (30 minute lunch for a 12-hour shift with two 15-minute breaks), nurse managers who do nothing to help but constantly criticize and assistant nurse managers who couldn’t bear to stand up to help for a second and you have only a small idea of what hospital nursing is about. The beauty of hospital nursing is usually your co-workers, who understand you, cheer you on, and hopefully help you if they aren’t swamped – which is a rarity.

Be Thankful. 


Earlier today I was thinking about the people I work with. I don’t mean my coworkers. I mean my patients. I have a good amount of younger patients whose situations are more than upsetting. I have a 30-year-old patient who is blind, cannot move on her own, is non-verbal, has to have tube feedings for nutrition, a Foley catheter to urinate, a tracheostomy to breathe, and is completely incontinent. I have a 31-year-old patient who has gastroparesis and has lost over 200 pounds in the last 6 years because of it. She now has a feeding tube and an emptying tube in her stomach so that she can receive the nutrients she needs and then empty the leftover contents of her stomach into a drainage bag. I have several patients with cancer. Several have been in terrible car accidents. I look at all these people and give thanks that I am able to do what I do everyday. Some days I feel worst than others; more pain, more fatigued, more unhappy. None of those days have been as bad as the ones people I’ve helped and am helping have been going through and have yet to face. I pray daily that I’ll never end up the way my patients have, but that’s never a certainty. Some days it’s harder than others, my moods fluctuate, my body decides not to cooperate, I hate myself one day and love myself the next. I try to be grateful for everything I have because I’m aware that in a moment it could all disappear. Too many of us believe that we can wait to say sorry, to talk to that person you’ve had a fight with later, to see that family member at the next event. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily plausible to think that way. What if you wake up one day and find that the person you’ve been having a petty fight with is gone and you never got to spend a last happy moment with them? What if that person is fighting a physical or mental illness that nobody knows about? How would you feel? What would you do? Regret is one of the worst feelings in the world. Is a ridiculous fight worth it? Worth the pain, the rage, the time and effort? I don’t believe so. Say I love you. Say thank you. Say I forgive you. Say I’m sorry. Love each other. Be thankful. Be grateful. Be humble. 

The Merry Maid (Bullshit)

When will what I do be enough? This past week has been nothing but horror because of early mornings, running around, working, and catering to people. But apparently, because I wasn’t happy about doing all these things all week and was extremely exhausted…I’m a bad person. Apparently, not only do I have to cater to everyone’s wishes and whims, now I have to be pleasant and joyous while doing it. Just let me disregard my own self – my own exhaustion – and be a happy maid. That’s all I feel like I am to people here. I go to work a full 8 hour day in which I drive around most of the time and deal with sick people, I come home and have to cook, clean, do laundry, put clothes away, etc. How is that fair? I’m one that knows that life isn’t fair, however with two other grown adults in the house I expect people to be able to keep it clean without me having to say or do anything. I feel like I live with children. And then when someone else comes to visit (another family member), I get the shit end of the stick because I am not prancing around merrily doing things for everyone! So done.