Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Why my scrubs don't fit....
When I presented this theory to my husband, he said it was brilliant and I should write that down. This was after a conversation about how I needed new scrubs because the ones I have are worn out and don't fit because they shrunk in the dryer. He said to me, "Baby, I am sure that the dryer is the reason that the scrubs you have been wearing for the last 6 months don't fit." Followed with a knowing smile, as we both glance towards the elliptical in our bedroom that has also been there for 6 months, and I can recount on less than 2 hands how often I have frequented. But wait, there are reasons for this that are my fault, but for a noble cause I assure you.
I work in the ER. Which means I wear scrubs every day I work. And I work long stretches, I don't put on my cute jeans or a bathing suit. I do look in the mirror briefly as I throw on a little makeup that I will later touch up at redlights between my house and the hospital doors. We women who are ER nurses, mid-levels,and doctors will tell you that the worst feeling is when you wake up to go to work and realize your scrubs don't fit. We talk about it with each other and we all know why they don't fit and it is frustrating. They are scrubs. The equivalent of pajamas with a draw string. They do not hug your curves. and so it takes time to get to the point where they don't fit, at least 15 pounds by our estimation after a recent poll of my peers.
Sure we all have access to ellipticals and treadmills and our male counterparts see this unfold and at times will even cook healthier options for us to consume, contrary to the donuts and fast food that seems to be an ER theme.
Your scrubs don't fit because of the patient bolus in triage, or the crying child that signed in 2 hours ago that you know would take you 15 minutes to get taken care of with a couple of stiches or more often, some much needed parent education. or the nursing home patient that should have been a DNR DNI 10 years ago but no one talked to the family or the patient before today, and the demented nursing home patient is repetitively asking for help because they are trapped in their own mind with no real awareness and you just feel the respect of who they used to be and why no one protected them from such an endless end. or the high school football player with a broken finger on his dominant hand that needs a quick procedural reduction so that he is capable of realizing his high school quarterback dream, and it would only take an extra 20 minutes for you to help connect the dots. after all, if that was your child, you would want someone to do the same. or the DOA that never had a chance that EMS couldn't call at the scene because they took one last gasp, so you call it when they roll through the doors, and it's done, but the family is still 30 minutes out and the shift change would handle it beautifully, but would be unable to say, "i was here and we did everything we could, but your mother died." Don't they deserve to hear it from the one that was here? But that means 30 more minutes and that means not making it home on time, and that means reaching for the donuts or the back up diet coke just to stand in the gap. It is the ER. It is about respect for the dead and the living. It's about doing the right thing. It's about going the extra mile. It's about being what you were called to be because to whom much is given, much is required. It's in the Bible. It's what we do. And we would never trade it. From the housekeeping staff that cleans the rooms to the doctor that spends three hours saving a life, to the midlevel that keeps the ball rolling in the background to the charge nurse that puts out one more fire to avoid patient complaints, and the unit secretary that anticipates all of our thoughts and moves for us prior to our asking, to the PCA who did the compressions so long that it wasn't until the next day when their shoulders ached they realized the code went so long, and stretches on and on to the last minute of your shift where you know you are supposed to go home right then because the patients tomorrow deserve a rested provider...and in the midst of all of this madness, we linger at the turn of that clock and realize we are exhausted and may fall asleep on the way home to our families, so we reach again for that last vending machine product that is comforting in a way because we know how sugar works and after all, it's about safety for the drive home, right? I am not complaining at all, as none of us are, but if the reason my scrubs are tight are a result of the events above, then maybe we should have a 24 hour fruit and vegetable bar with a weight watcher's representative that just sneaks healthy snacks into our world without judgement or questions because they have been informed why are scrubs don't fit and they know that although we are smart women who know all about healthy choices, our hearts are too big to choose ourselves above our patients or our colleagues, and maybe we will spend less time trying to find new scrubs and more time celebrating the age old truth that women are emotionally driven and will jump in without regard for our health or well being if it means one more patient is taken care of....and although they do not say it aloud, we can always see in the faces of our male counterparts that it is ok to let go, someone else will clock in behind you and handle it the way you would. And when we let go and trust that simple truth, our scrubs fit. That and the weight watcher's representative would put us in magazines. Still, as women, we must learn to balance our worlds with less doubt in trusting others and more confidence in the prayers we pray on the way to work and on the way home....Dear God, please use me today. Send me the right patients. And don't let me kill anybody." PS- put the scrubs on sale just in case....
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
" Do not be afraid, for I am with you;
I will bring your children from the east
and gather you from the west."
Finding our children....
It is no secret how much I love children. When my husband and I found out that our chances of conceiving biologically were almost impossible, I was relieved. Since I was in high school, I have known that I will adopt children. God took me places all over the world and showed me the faces of abandonment that are so indescribable with words. To be honest, everyone in my family has lots of children and infertility is not something that has happened much. I actually worried I would be too fertile and get talked out of adoption in the long run. Although that is funny to read typed out....it is usually impossible to change my passionate mind about anything I set it to complete. I really did worry about it. It is my calling as a person to choose the different road that opens up new possibilities no one has considered yet. When Jeremy and I started dating, I remember clearly playing in the floor with our friend's 5 year old son, and laughing at his 5 year old jokes. Jeremy laughed at me and said, "I bet you want a bunch of kids," keep in mind we had been dating for less than a month when this happened, and I answered, "yep, I want at least 4." As soon as it came out of my mouth, I froze, thinking to myself, "good rach, scare him off early....tell him about your student loans now, too." But when I looked up, he was smiling ear to ear and said something about that sounding like a lot of fun....A few months down the road, we discussed the logistics of "at least 4" and the fact that we were both already 29. Jeremy was thinking money, logistics, wife not working, complications, etc.... I took this opportunity to suggest adoption! Bracing myself for skepticism, I was pleasantly surprised when he liked that idea a lot! You would have to understand Jeremy better to get how amazingly easy this topic has been for us. I am the dreamer, the excitement, the ideas, and the vision. Jeremy is the one responsible for completing these visions and making sure I survive my own passionate endeavors. He is more realistic, and wants to make sure I can have the dream, but still remember to eat and sleep. When I get a vision, it is all I can think about. I allow it to take me over, and that is when God seems to bless me with my best work. So back to the adoption front. It is scary. It is permanent, and it is not just something you have to live with. It is changing another person's future forever. A friend of mine told me the other day that if we as Christians don't rescue and raise the abandoned children, Satan will raise them, and use them for his purposes. I love my family so much, and I fit in with them, but there has always been something deep down that tells me I was cut from a little different mold. Something God either put in or left out of his recipe for me makes me have a relentless urgency to find my children. My heart does not ache for a pregnancy, it only aches to hear that first cry, and be able to tell that child, like it or not, you will never be unwanted again, because we want you and we need you to be part of us.
Wednesday, October 19, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
There is a part of me that absolutely hates sitting on my couch right now, knowing there are people out there with their safety in such jeopardy. I am definitely the "save the world" type. And I know Uncle Ted really "gets this" about me, so I hope he stays safe today as well. When I watch the news, I see the heartache and fear in people's eyes, and I want so badly to rescue them from that fear. It is a humbling relief to know that God can and will do the rescuing. Still, what am I supposed to do right now? What skills did he give me to use for his glory? Maybe it is just to type what my thoughts are...so I will do that until I get another assignment from Him.
Over that last 24 hours Nashville has experienced its biggest natural disaster in my lifetime. But I learned today that it happened in 1926, too! Now we have the technology and resources to know within minutes if all of our loved ones are safe...I would have been a nervous wreck in 1926!
I am really proud of Tony Trumphour, who last night took his duck hunting boat on a moment's notice to Lavergne, TN and rescued 5 people and 2 dogs...saved their lives...risked his own...was completely protected by God. So then I told Jeremy that we need a boat! And we need to be more like Tony T....
I walked around our condo with Lucy in the rain just checking on the structure...we found a couple of flaws, but all in all, a very safe place even in the worst flood Nashville has seen in a while...good choice on purchase...thank you God for leading us to this place.
All of my family and friends are safe. Even Leslie and Lance who just bought a house and moved yesterday into what turned out to be one of the most dangerous places to be in the flood! They are warm, dry, and happily organizing new closets with lots of help and just praying the waters don't rise anymore. Turns out it was great they planned ahead and had everything packed and ready before this weekend...
Then I watched the news and realized that I drove beneath I-24 at Bell Road 4 times before it went underwater. The last time was coming home from Allison Ashley's house around noon on Saturday May 1st...at 3:30pm...we watched a house/portable (from Lighthouse Christian) literally crumble on live coverage in almost the exact place I was less than 4 hours before...Thank you, Lord, that I came straight home and didn't stop at Starbucks or try to run a couple of errands while I was out...came home so I could tackle errands with Jeremy's company, instead of by myself...Thank you God for such a great husband..who enjoys "Rachel errands" and "Rachel to-do lists".
Also, Big D was scheduled to drive the church bus today...obviously did not watch the news before leaving the house around 7am to run the route. He picked up "Chuck" who actually called after he had left worried about Dad's safety and curious if he would get to go to church today...Mom informed Chuck Big D was on his way... When Big D and Chuck got to church (Madison Church of Christ) parking lot was under water, and about 20 people there wondering about service...Now those are the most committed church of christ 'ers I have ever seen. Or, they, like Big D did not flip on the news before leaving the house. Normally our church services have between 700 and 1000 people there...
Best conversation was with little Brooke Castle, on how her swing set was OK except for the big stump under it, but as for the people with rafts in the creek behind her house..."that is not a vewwy smattt ideeeeaaa!!!"-How is a 3 year-old smarter than a teenager with a blown up float?? She is very advanced for her age...
Regardless of what the next few days bring, there is a song by Casting Crowns called "Praise you in this Storm" that keeps running through my mind...
Dear God, please give us the strength and wisdom to see your face and do your work always, and let the floodgates of heaven pour out so much blessing that we will not have room enough for it....may we see the rain as you see it, and know that you are there, just like you were there 2 days ago in the sunshine...
Please teach me to have these conversations with you in sunshine as often as I do when it rains.....
Monday, July 25, 2011
1. New Year's Eve of 2007 when I found myself wiping a tear when the ball dropped, just glad I made it through. I realized in that moment my life would no longer be in just "survival mode" to get to the next day with no money, no tangible support, and a huge web of people who worked together in small ways to keep me whole. 2008 would be different.
2. My first day at my first job out of school where I found myself spending 30 minutes calculating the right dose for Tylenol in a 13 month old...it's on the back of the box...but knowing my prescription would be trusted as the guidance was scary....now I can do it in my sleep.
3. The baby I saw that was 18 months old that presented to the ED with his father, who swore the baby crawled in the oven to get the burns on the palms of his hands...you crawl with fingers not with palms...It was all I could do not to pick up that child and walk straight out the door to my car and drive away until there was no place further than his abusive parent...but I didn't. I held it together, called DHS, flew him to Vanderbilt, and included in the notes the potential for abuse. It was hard to let him out of my care and trust someone else to save him...but they did. He had an old skull fracture from 6 months before, which was enough to get him placed in foster care. God was watching...and he was placed with a wonderful Christian family who wanted a third child...they brought him to see us in the ER 3 months later. He is happy and safe, and will never remember the hell he experienced before age 2. Great moment.
5. I did compressions on a man for an hour knowing his wife was not far away praying for him to survive. It was sudden when he collapsed and he arrived to my ER in a reasonable amount of time. 15 ER staff, including one MD, another PA, tons of nurses and EMS, and housekeeping staff standing outside the door holding hands and praying...About 45 minutes into that hour, I felt something change...it's hard to describe, but if you've ever been with someone when their soul leaves their body, you know it. You still fight for them wondering if you are wrong, but it is an indescribable replacement of hope with peace. Then you change gears, you go through every phase of grief in a moment, and realize your patient is no longer on the table. Your patient is now the wife in the waiting room who just lost her husband...and you have to find it within your heart to let God have him and go to her. It is hard, but I trust myself to care for her more than anyone else because I know God will guide me. He will give me the words when He didn't give me the medical technology to just buy more time. It's ironic how hard you work for just one more moment for someone to live. I always wonder if I had just had more time, would it have been different. Then I feel the peace of death and time stands still until that wife has everything she needs from me. The truth her husband is gone. The tears that stream down my face for just a moment. Then the question, can I pray with your family....they always say yes because it is easy to listen to a prayer...it makes the gravity of the truth easier to bear...I could not tell you what I have said in any of these prayers. I can tell you I felt peace that is immortal and walked out of that room, took a deep breath, and went to see the next patient. It is hard. But it is an honor. I hope I never live to experience a death of one of my patients where that tear is not on my face.
7. In 2007, I babysat Brooke, just me and her, so Caleb and Emily could go to the zoo. She reminds me so much of Emily its crazy. But that day I noticed one little thing about her that was like me. She was sick that day and I rocked her for an hour. When she finally gave in to exhaustion, she rubbed her feet together before she went to sleep. I do that. I have never met anyone else that does that. I'm sure they do, but it was a moment.
1 If the LORD had not been on our side—
let Israel say—
2 if the LORD had not been on our side
when people attacked us,
3 they would have swallowed us alive
when their anger flared against us;
4 the flood would have engulfed us,
the torrent would have swept over us,
5 the raging waters
would have swept us away.
6 Praise be to the LORD,
who has not let us be torn by their teeth.
7 We have escaped like a bird
from the fowler’s snare;
the snare has been broken,
and we have escaped.
8 Our help is in the name of the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
may 24th, 2000. 520pm (what i was thinking on this day)
well i'm on the plane! and im all alone. and here come the tears. maybe this was a bad decison. but i am convinced that God wants me to do this. It was hard to leave my family, but i feel called to do this. i know god is working on me right now. wait... the stewardess is calling my name... ok, i'm back. she brought me a care package from leslie. just in time to make me laugh enough to not really cry alone on the plane. she was not at the gate bc she was late. but apparently she was persuasive with the stewardess that i needed this little bag of goodies. she was right. contents of bag: sundrop, animal crackers, gum, and a picture of me and leslie in a snow globe on a mountain last summer. well i can't keep crying now. imagine leslie conning delta airlines at the gate in an urgent manner about what her friend "needs". now i am ready. in the air. no going back.
august of 2002... Mt. rinker. (what was in my head that day)
i'm standin on top of mt rinker listening to lauren gingles on the walkie talkie trying to talk to every staff member we have on trail...wondering if they made their summit and wanting to make them laugh. she is on mt hope. just one valley between us. our groups are drinkin root beer and takin pictures, celebrating as if they have already forgotten how hard it was to get up here and the number of times they begged me to let them quit. i stepped away just far enough to climb down to check the clouds on the other side of rinker where other groups are climbing mt elbert. and it just hit me. this is my last mountain. for three summers i have hidden out here in the safety of this job where the only thing i have to do is help kids see God. then lauren's voice interrupts my thoughts. "rach, i can see you! can you see me!" such a fun game to play when there is at least 40 miles between us. all i could say was , "lauren, i dont think i'm ready to let this part of me go." i sat down and tears rolled down my face. Her next words stuck with me forever. "rachel newman, you are more than ready. God has bigger mountains waiting for you and more miracles to show you than you even know. you're not letting any part of you go, you're just adding another chapter and it's gonna be great!" so i got up, wiped my eyes, and said goodbye to mt rinker and every other mountain that had been my refuge the last 3 summers.
the point: the fear i felt on the plane in may of 2000 was the same fear i felt in august of 2002. "am i ready?". the truth is i was always ready. God makes us ready for everything. then he spends our lifetime convincing us he is right: for a second i wanted to get off that plane and run back to my parents at the gate and say, i can't do this. and 3 summers later, for a second i stood on mt rinker not wanting to ever leave. it's not the task before us that makes us scared. it's the possibility we may not be worthy to undertake it.
that is why i have that quote "i demolish my bridges behind me, so there is no choice but forward."
and lauren and leslie are the two friends who will never let me doubt myself. the way they do it, is by never allowing me to doubt god. which always makes the apprehensive moments go by so much faster!
micah 6: 8 "...And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God."
I was in Romania on a mission trip my senior year in high school.The purpose of the trip was to raise support for Christian programs giving aid to Romanian orphanages by paying the salaries of Christian women to care for these abandoned babies. 4 mission team members total. We were allowed in the orphanages to see the progress that had been made and with that info, hopefully be able to raise more support back in the states. I was 17 years old and in Romania in December and was the only person whose bags got lost in Atlanta. Imagine a 17yo girl whois approx 6ft. tall who arrived in Romania with her bible, journal, CD player, and snacks. I had even checked my coat! I ended up spending 8 days in Romania without my "stuff". Learning to be low maintenance can be funny. When we entered the orphanage in Arad, Romania, it was day 3 of our trip. We were given a tour and instructed not to cry or we would get kicked off the tour. (Not good for babies to see us breakdown because they are orphans). Among the 50 kids I met that day, I met an 18 month old little girl. She was fiesty and she had the cutest bald head. I wanted to take a picture with her for my mom because I was that bald at 18mos, too. That's when I saw this awful scar on the back of her head. I asked about it and was told that she was born and thrown into a dumpster (which is common there). Dogs are also very common. A mama dog with puppies found her and dragged her around by the head and nursed her for approx 3 days. Someone heard the baby crying in an alley and wrestled her away from the dog and took her to the hospital. She was mostly dead and severely dehydrated and only 3 or 4 days old. The doctors did not understand how she could have cried for someone to hear her. They stitched the terrible wound on her head from the dog and called the orphanage. A few weeks later, no infection, no disease, and a blue-eyed healthy baby girl with stitches was in a Christian orphanage. Shewill always bear the scar, but it will be covered when she gets hair. Because of the scar, her story will stay with her the rest of her life.
I cannot put into words how badly I wanted to take those kids home with me in my backpack! That was 14 years ago, but I see her in my arms like it was last week. It was one of the first miracles I saw in real life. Now I can say that I've seen countless.
We pray for God to do the "unexplainable" so that the world may see Him the way we do.
In the meantime, God is making angels out of even dirty and diseased dogs in Romania.
Micah 6:8 "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God."
In my efforts to enjoy my days off that sometimes seem sporadic, I found myself at Valley View for day camp week. Although my cousin's children played a big role in me getting there, I must admit that any day at camp is always a great one for me. It was really fun to see kids learn how to swim and just to run around with them enjoying the playground that our church continues to provide.
Tuesday, November 6, 2007
Someone once told me that my mission in life should be where my deep passion and the world's deep hunger meet. In the beginning of anything, something else has just ended. And i find myself kicking and screaming at any beginning and end. Maybe it's because the middle is always filled with good and bad, and even if the bad outweighs the good, i still have a hard time letting anything good end, even if it was just a glimpse of what it could have been. The hardest part about being so optimistic is the disappointment that seems to always follow. Like how easy it is to be in another country that is poor, where every detail of who you are is pushed and stretched and you become something only God knew you could be. Then you come home and wonder what happened to that person and why did they not come home with you? I hate it. And i don't understand how to be that person all the time. Maybe it's because vulnerability is such difficult task for those who are never hungry and even if they were, they would never admit it. Why do we live in a place where it's a negative thing to ever depend on anyone else? Even when most of us finally ask for help, we apologize and are constantly trying to even the score somehow. We don't want to owe anyone anything. We refuse to be weak, and we fight so hard to disguise that we are all human and need so much more than we realize. This is my problem. The constant circus of trying to earn everything when there is really no need. Doesn't God own everything? And doesn't he have me written on his hand? Still, I am so frustrated with those that walk around with a sense of entitlement that usually is preceded be laziness. It was nice to do things for free for the poor and have them just be grateful. They can't pay me back, and they know the only reason I did what i did is because my faith in God is not limited to evening up the score between me and God or me and anybody else. I will never get what i really deserve and i'm really glad because i know the gates of hell would welcome me with open arms. with humility and on my knees I am grateful this earth will be the closest i ever get to the gates of hell. Although i am very proud of our country and believe in my heart God blesses the US on purpose, I fear there will be far more poor people in heaven from so called God-forsaken countries than there will be from where we live. We make it so much harder for each other. I do it every day, and I have no excuse. We may not need food or shelter or money or healthcare, and we definitely have warm places to sleep and plenty to entertain us, but how much do we hide behind all of those things hoping and praying no one will see our vulnerabilities or vices? More importantly, why? In poverty, nothing is clear, but there is plenty of room for miracles. the next meal is a miracle. In the land of opportunity, the clearest thing is where to get in line for the rat race, how to take care of yourself, and the underlying message that do-it-yourself is the only attitude that is truly respected. This obviously doesn't apply to everyone, but it is a struggle to not fall into a place where miracles are difficult to see because too many people are willing to take credit for their own hard work. "if i speak in tongues of men and of angels but have not love, i am nothing but a resounding gong or clanging cymbal. If i have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if i have faith that can move mountains, but have not love, i am nothing. if i give all i possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, i gain nothing." I cor 13 I never understood this verse when i was young because i thought it was saying something else. now that i know what love really means, i understand. the things we respect in each other in society are knowledge, intelligence, work ethic, and self-sacrifice for the improvement of ourselves and others. but why do we strive to achieve things in these categories? Ideally we would be doing it to show the unfailing love of God to the vast number of souls who do not know him. If we take credit for everything and believe it had anything to do with us, then why would we ever recognize God's love for us? and if we don't recognize it, how will everyone who doesn't know God ever meet him? The biggest superpower in the world and i live in the middle of it. and i've traveled all over the world. every time i come home i face the dim reality that we may be winning every race there is and we may be helping more poor than we can count, we may be moving mountains and fathoming all mysteries. and we all know there are plenty of bodies being surrendered to the flames to protect us and give freedom to others. but if we don't enter the race of how many souls will stand at heaven's gates with us, then we have gained nothing.