Butterfly Sparks Designs

Monday, July 26, 2010

Veer Straight and Forget Not Where the Bacon Comes From.

Just finished up a week of camp nursing at the wonderful East Texas camp where I'm blessed to work each summer.

We work an 80 hour week, and every day we work two 7-8 hour shifts for 8 days.  It's exhausting to say the least, and I usually find myself in my bed with my dinner, unable to move for about 24 hours once it's all over.

So what makes it worth all those hours of hard work?

Well, it is a really unique setting to be a nurse.  I get to meet hundreds of sweet kiddos each week, and since it's a Christian camp, I get to witness all the essence of Jesus intertwining with my service to the little campers.  And Jesus + campers = awesomeness.

The kids were unusually funny this week, as were the coworkers, so I spent most of the week in stitches.  In fact, in all my pictures, I'm not just smiling, I am laughing with my mouth wide open :)  That's a good thing.

Here are some funny lines from the health center this week:

--"Veer straight," said one of the campers when explaining how to get to an activity.  I'm pretty sure to "veer" usually involves some sort of curve or turn, so to say "veer straight" was funny.

--"I'm pretty sure I'm gonna die with this bug bite," said one little camper.

   "Oh!  Don't say that!"  I said.  "In Jesus's Name, you will live!  A long life!" I replied.

   "No, I'm pretty sure my days are numbered."

   "Well," said my coworker, affectionately known as "Fuzzy."  "He's not just a 'the glass is half empty kind of person, he's a 'the glass is totally broken and shattered apart' kind."

--"Man, I wish we had some bacon for breakfast around here, I would LOVE some bacon this morning," said one of the counselors.

"Yeah, I know.  You'd think with all of the cows we have around this camp, we could easily get some bacon!"  (That might or might not have been said by a particular nurse, but I won't name names.  Even if said nurse was me, who might have momentarily forgotten that bacon doesn't come from cows.  It comes from pigs.  I try and regularly provide entertainment for the people.  It's what I do :)

---"I'm not good at knowing things," said one of our nurse assistants :)

---"I have a very large stomach ache," said one cute little pint-sized female camper.  "Oh yeah?"  I asked her.  "Yeah.  Do you have some of that Pop-Ice stuff?  I think that would make it feel better."  Pop-Ice popsicles have a way of curing many ills :)

Oh, the campers.

 I learned alot this week about how who you work with makes a pretty big impact on your work.  The medics I worked with this week were a barrell of laughs.  So no matter how tired we were, when you are laughing, you just don't care.  And when I work with the Medics, I always breathe easier, because since emergency response is part of our job, I know they will take those calls.  Those calls always give me the anxiety, because I haven't ever worked the ER as a nurse, and because I wasn't trained that way.  I have learned to manage patients once they are stabilized from an accident, but actually knowing how to make the decisions when they aren't always puts me on the edge.  I never had to worry about it this week, because I knew the guys had it covered.  Therefore, I could enjoy the health center work with alot more peace than usual.

So, the nurse survived camp one more time.  I counted up this weekend- after 4 summers as a camp nurse, this was my 15th week to serve in that capacity. 

It's been fun.

But now I will go recover for the next few days. 

And if I don't hear another person complain about their aching stomach, their turned ankle, their poison ivy, or their congested sinuses for awhile, I will be none too sad. 

Here's a nurse quote I found today, which applies to a great many things, actually:

"It is not how much you do, but how much love you put in the doing." Mother Theresa

I always knew Mother Theresa was smart :)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Someone's Beloved

I read this on the back of the July 12, 2010 issue of NurseWeek magazine, and thought it embodied the heart of being a Nurse so well:


This is what I thought as I admitted my new patient, and my true contribution as a nurse began.  I asked myself, who am I to you? I am your nurse.  I help, teach, monitor and give comfort and compassion.  I am your guardian.  And you?  You are my teacher.  You show me the resilience and endurance of the human body and spirit.  Our relationship makes a complex healthcare system personal.

I Am Your Nurse."

--(Taken from an ad for the American Association of Critical Care Nurses).

And that is the truth and the beauty behind the crazy world of being a nurse :)

Tryin' To Quit

Hi. My name is Beth, and I'm addicted to Coke.

Not the white, dusty kind, but the dark, soda kind.

Coke and Pepsi. I'm no respector of my soda, and I have developed an affinity to an ice, cold Coca-Cola or Pepsi now several times a week, for going on the better part of a year.

And since I'm a Nurse, I know that insanity has to stop. It's like pouring acid and pitchers of sugar straight into your veins.

My coworker, Alice, has noticed my problem, and a few weeks ago when we nurses were talking about all the unhealthy food Americans love to eat, Alice looked over at me with the eyes- you know, the ones that come with silence and an all-knowing glance. She looked down at my Coke and looked away.

"Alice!" I said. "I'm trying to quit, really I am!"

She said nothing.

Nothing like being chastened by an older, rather militant nurse.

Something about a chaotic, constantly moving shift at the hospital brings out the desire for a Coca Cola like nothing else. Call it the stress, the need for caffeine, or whatever, but I've been known to tell the coworkers all too often, "I'm heading to the basement for a drink. I need a cold one." I don't do alcohol, so Coke has become my substitute. (The basement is where our hospital houses the Coke machines).

And I'm not the only one. One of the night shift nurses came in last night with two, count it TWO, very super-sized large, to-go cups of soda for the duration of her shift. I am not alone in my addiction. I know that's pitiful, but somehow it makes me feel better.

I decided to stop the insanity Sunday. I enjoyed my last cold one at the Mexican restaurant, Chuy's, in my hometown. There are certain foods that just seem better with Coke- Pizza and Mexican. But I digress.

I haven't had a cold one since.

And you can imagine last night at work, for the last hour of my shift, between 10:00 and 11:00pm, when my rather confused patient started having problems, I was itching for a Coke.

He kept yelling out rather loudly and sporadically, "Deeee----BOORRR-- UHHHHH!"

This sweet man lives with his daughter-in-law who cares for him, named Deborah, and he was very confused, thinking he was at home and he needed his Deborah- Quite Loudly. The other patients started complaining.

I was getting pressure from the coworkers to just give him a sleeping pill, so he'd pipe down.

I tend to be the kind of nurse who doesn't favor giving sedatives to the confused, elderly folks, because in many of them, it tends to make them worse the next day. Sometimes you can talk these people down without the drugs, and I was trying my best to do so, in hopes I wouldn't have to medicate him to slumber. All the other nurses didn't vote on the same side of that wagon, though, and they were very vocal to let me know.

"Just give him the pill!" Alice said loudly, over and over.

She was not a fan of my conservative medicinal ways.

The pressure, people, of the screaming man and the pushy nurses was just the right combo to test my abstinence and resolve against the soda.

I thought to myself, I can just hop in the elevator, pop in some coins, and have a sweet cold one in no time.

But I persevered. I prayed that man into a final, heavy sleep, and the nurses all thought I gave him the sleeping pill which piped em' down. I grabbed a cold glass of water and told myself it was just as good as a cold Coke.

I took some Advil to wage war against the caffeine withdrawal-induced headache, and I WON THE BATTLE!

I will quit these Cokes, by golly. Sweet mercy, they will no longer have a hold on me!

(I hope. Y'all pray for me. I'm takin' it a day at a time like those 12 Step programs whose mantra is "Just For Today." Just for today I won't have a Coke. I have admitted I have a problem, and I am quitting cold turkey.)

I have a better compassion for the addicts now.

I think we might need some sort of 12 step meetings for quitting cola. But then that might just look like a pity party, and come on, can't we all just say no to ourselves and get on with it?

I'm praying I'll keep having the gusto to Just Say No to myself when it comes to the soda and will keep popping the Advil in combat to the headaches that come like a freight train in my head- that alone should speak to me of the nature of my enemy, Coca Cola- it doesn't quit you easily.

Pray for me, bloggy friends. This battle will not end in defeat- I'm confident!