Friday, March 28, 2008

Career Question

So Leatrice asked me what ever happened to my thoughts about becoming a nurse practitioner? Well going along with my blog on decision-making, I realized that nurse practitioners do what they do in order to have more "autonomy". I don't want more autonomy, because making decisions is not my forte. And I'd have to make major decisions all day long about the health and course of treatment of my patients. That burden would be too much for me. I much prefer implementing the orders rather than creating them.

It's funny though. Last night I worked and I had two patients "go south" on me for a little while. In other words, they weren't doing very well and things were touchy as to whether they would stabilize or become critical and have to transfer to the ICU. One stabilized, fortunately, and the other was still in limbo as I was getting off shift. It was a very stressful shift for me, but it wasn't so terrible that I was longing to leave this job for L&D. I was happy doing what I was doing. As always it was good to get through the night knowing I had done the best I could to care for my patients. Times like these make it seem like the career change to L&D might be more hassle than it's worth since I'm mostly satisfied right now. BUT, I still think I'd be settling to stay. And it's risky to take that leap but unless red flags appear, I'm going to stick with my decision.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Making Decisions

Ask my parents and they will tell you that I am terrible at making decisions. My closest friends would probably say the same thing. When it comes to making decisions with my friends about what to do and where to go, I shy away because if what I choose turns out not to be fun, I'll feel it was my fault. And deep down inside I'll be afraid of what others will think about me as a result.

When it comes to making decisions about my life...relationships, career, family, finances...I'm afraid to make a decision and it turn out to be disastrous. I'm afraid of being miserable. Four years ago I made a decision about a job that turned out to be a huge flop...I was miserable and the job wasn't suited to me at all. In the end it was that decision that gave me the guts to change careers, so even though I was miserable and regretted my decision, it turned out to be one of the best things that could have happened to me. Now I am a nurse because of that "wrong" decision. And being a nurse is the third most "right" decision I've made (1st being choosing Christ and 2nd being David). Still, being miserable IS miserable, and the fear of it remains in me.

But now every night that I am not at work I lay in bed while David is asleep, and I think about what to do with my career. I'd say I'm 75% content with my job at the moment. I like taking care of my patients, the benefits are great, and I like the people I work with. The 25% that is not content is related to the field of nursing I am in. When I am not at work I keep thinking about what it would be like to work in labor and delivery. I love babies, and helping to deliver babies during my L&D clinical when I was in school was the most amazing experience I think I've ever had.

Making this career change would mean I'd have to move to a different hospital, have fewer benefits (no other hospital can compare to the benefits offered by the VA), and start all over in many ways. So, do I give up my benefits, the comfort of knowing what I'm doing, and enjoying the people I work with? Or is my level of contentment more on a weighted scale--even though I have three things I'm happy with and one that I'm not, is that one thing really worth more than all the other three put together?

I think so.

So, I'm making my decision. I'm going to apply to work in labor and delivery this summer, with hopes of starting in August. I will be free from financial commitments to the VA at that point, so it makes logical sense to wait until then, though the waiting will be hard.

I will probably be fearful for the next 4 months that I am making the wrong decision. All I can do is remind myself of the avenues that God opened as a result of my "wrong" decisions in the past. Reminding myself of that will probably not relieve me from much of my anxiety. But God's provision is truth. And truth is the only thing that is certain. Therefore, God's provision is certain.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Well, my good friend Rachael recently posted her amazing birthday surprises given to her by her husband, so now I feel guilty for not having bragged about the surprises my husband gave me for our anniversary. I owe it to him to brag about him!

Two weekends ago he planned our anniversary. We trade years and last year I planned it, so this year it was his turn. He got off work early on Friday, came home, and had me pack my bags for the night. So we did, and then we went to Chick-Fil-A for lunch...our favorite fast food. Next, he drove to River Road and I was wondering if he was taking us to the Westin La Paloma...but he drove right by it. So I thought maybe he was taking the long way to the Interstate or something. However, a block later, he flipped a U-turn and drove right back to the Westin! Trying to throw me off track...it worked:) So we checked in to our hotel, which was very nice and reminded me of our honeymoon suite in Honolulu 4 years ago. We napped for a short while (love naps!) and then he said it was time to go. To where, I didn't know for sure, although I guessed he was probably taking me for a massage. I was right...we both had a massage at the Red Door Spa...which was VERY nice. Then, to my surprise, afterwards we hung out at the spa and he ordered a couple glasses of Sangria from room service to be brought to the spa so we could sip them as we sat with our feet in the hot tub. I expected the massage, because, well, David is just that good. But he went above and beyond with the Sangria and hot tub plan!

We came back to the room and took showers and got ready for dinner, which I expected. We went to Janos and had a nice dinner. He had a rose brought to the table, which I pretty well expected too. I don't expect these things in a "deserving" way, but I am not all that surprised by them because that's just how David does things in general.

When we came back to the room, I was kind of expecting that was the end of the surprises...a massage, wine by the hot tub, a nice dinner, and a rose at the table. But there was a plate of chocolates sitting in our room! I know that may seem small in comparison to a massage or fancy dinner, but to me, they were the highlight of the night! I LOVE chocolate, and David had already done enough to make the weekend great...he didn't have to order the chocolates. But he did and it was fantastic. I was pleased as punch.

One more thing! The next morning we woke up and I was looking forward to relaxing in bed...a nice, comfy, fluffy bed. There was a knock at the door and I figured it was just housekeeping seeing if we were still there. David answered the door, and in came breakfast! I was floored. Breakfast in bed to me is so romantic. And he ordered me waffles! I think I mentioned maybe once how much I like waffles.

Thanks David! Don't worry, I already have plans for next year in the works!

Friday, March 21, 2008

Life is So Precious

I was meant to be a nurse. Words to describe it: Stressful, fulfilling, depressing, hectic, never-ending, sweet.

People live and people die under my watch. When someone dies, it's like life stops for a minute, and I see a man in front of me who lived a whole life, the ups and the downs. One day that man will be my Dad, my husband, or maybe a son. And I will be the family member coming in to see the lifeless body lying on the bed, limp and gray. No longer will I be able to speak with him, spend time with him, or show him love. In front of me will be just a body, soon to be put in a body bag and wheeled down to the morgue.

Caring for the sick and the dying makes me think a lot more often about the relationships I have and what I focus my attention on. Because life on earth is not eternal; time here is limited. I can't really grasp what Heaven will be like, but I know what earth is. I think right now of the minutes passing by as I am lying here writing. Every minute seems like a minute closer to death right now. I'm learning what it means to focus on the joys of life rather than on all the things I have to complain about.

Life is so precious.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Laura Story

Her music is amazing! She wrote the worship song, "Indescribable" and has an awesome new album coming out. Check out her bio and music at http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=173086511

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


Balance. That word makes me cringe. Whenever I have some sort of moral dilemma, the thought that pops into my head is, "It's all about finding balance." Usually, I'm torn between the black and the white. One has certain pros/cons, the other has different pros/cons.

Hmm, I think I'm stuck in one of those moments where I know exactly what I'm trying to say but can't come up with the right words for it to make sense to anyone else.

Anyways, back to my thought. Here is the situation--I had a patient on my most recent shift who had been giving the staff a hard time and was being rude and demanding. When I came on shift I volunteered to take him because I knew it was either take him or take a man who was dying. I chose the angry man over the dying man, mainly because I'm terrified to have a patient die while under my care (a different issue, maybe I will write on it in a future blog). So I went into the angry man's room right away because I'd heard he likes to have things on time and consistent every day. I went in with the intention of doing my best to be pleasant, give the impression that I was there to make him comfortable through the night, and get my butt out of there as fast as I could to avoid getting stuck in there with his one-after-another demands when I had other patients with more urgent problems. When I went into the room and he was surprisingly pleasant. However, at his first request for me to help him take his shirt off, I told him quickly that I would have the aide come in and help him. He asked me why I couldn't help him and I told him quickly, "I'm just slammed right now," (which was completely true, I got on shift and had to start running a million miles an hour to make up for what day shift had missed because they had been short-staffed). He didn't comment, and let me go on my way after I gave him his medications. I didn't think much more about it until this morning on my drive home from work.

I replayed those moments in his room in my head, which then caused my moral dilemma. Should I have done exactly what I did to minimize confrontation and give myself more time to be with other patients who had slightly more urgent matters? Or should I have stayed in his room and helped him with whatever he needed? I can think of a few reasons why staying in there could have been the better thing to do...perhaps he was lonely and his demands were really a cry for attention, perhaps what he needed was really only to help him with his shirt, and by me putting him off he could have felt like he didn't matter to me, or perhaps any extra encounter with a smiling face is what he needed for encouragement and motivation to be a nicer person.

Now, this was only one encounter, and really there were only two choices. Either stay and risk getting stuck or not stay and risk compromising the nurse-patient trust relationship. So, I made a choice, and I decided to escape any possible confrontation and tend to more urgent matters.

But what about next time? If I always make a similar choice, then my pattern would be avoidance of the "difficult" patient. If I always were to make the opposite choice, then my pattern would be inefficiency in getting all the other patients what they need in a timely manner. I don't want to become either of those, so what do I do? I have to find balance. I'm finally coming back to the point of this matter...that most everything in this world requires some sort of balance because there is little that is always black or always white. It may be white in one situation but not in another.

So I start to long for Heaven when I think about how much I need balance in my life in order to make decisions and prioritize my time, efforts, and energy. Because in Heaven, it will be black and white all the time. (Well, I guess I'd rather think of it as being white all the time!) I won't have these moral dilemmas of wondering if I made the right choice here, said the wrong thing there, should have made a different decision etc etc.

Maybe I think it's odd that we have to work so hard on this earth for balance when balance won't even need to exist in Heaven. But I suppose balance is what is required when the world isn't perfect, and when there is sin in the world. Kind of a consequence of sin, I would say.

I will never be able to escape this quest for balance in life on earth. And so I long for the one place where I can escape this...Heaven. How sweet it will be.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Flashing Red Lights

You know what it means when the red light is flashing, right? Stop, look both ways, then proceed with caution if the coast is clear.

I had a sudden awareness that the red light is flashing for me. That is a good thing, I think. In the past I usually just have my green-light-only glasses on so I get an idea and I jump on it and go for it (kind of like this run-on sentence--right Katie :) I go for what I "feel" in my heart is appealing. No stopping and sometimes panic sets in as I approach the intersection hoping everything will come together so that I can make it safely through.

Anyways, the red light is flashing because I have been thinking about going back to school to become a nurse practitioner. With my green-only goggles on, I would keep pursuing this because it sounds like a job more suited to me, they have online programs, and the sooner I get in the sooner my career can head in the direction I want. There is nothing inherently wrong with all of these thoughts. But what happens next is I start thinking and planning all day long about how this will happen, when I need to do this or that, how will school fit in with work and family...etc.etc.etc. So my mind will go a million miles an hour for the next two or three years while the process continues. BUT, somehow I am not wearing those goggles today.

So I saw the flashing red light. And that is comforting. It's not rush rush through the intersection. It is approach slowly, be alert, decide when/which way to go, and the proceed. No panic required.

Thank you, God, for opening my eyes to the world of flashing red lights.