Tuesday, October 29, 2013

One more down.

Another skill test down.

Cannot say how relieving a circle around pass is.

Worn out. Trying not to be Sick. And Happy.

God's grace is sufficient even in my weakness.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Today is a Gift

I like to plan. I like to know what's coming ahead to think about the days after school. But the simple and beautiful truth is that I have no idea. The blessing is that it teaches me to depend upon the One who does know and does see what I cannot, and it also helps me to focus on the present.

Life is often like a race. Today that race is preparing for exams. Pharmacology and physical exams. Fun stuff!

In the midst of that I must learn to recognize grace, recognize the gift of being able to learn, the gift of today...not looking forward to a future work, but embracing the life that God has given me now.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Just a Blip on Nursing School

I laughed almost the whole drive home today though it was just me in the car. That's how it goes after an all day GI lab;)

I have the most fantastic instructors.

And, I learn alot from a scenario that I think is real. 

I Got a Text ...

...A Happy Birthday text from Africa this week. Thank you, Memere! I love you too. (I hope you will see this soon;)

Sunday, October 13, 2013

This is a Comment...

...that wouldn't fit in a comment box.

Because saying a sister is a gift is too generic.

She's one of heaven's BEST gifts.

Bri, I'm ever so thankful for every mountain climbed with you, for every moment that you would linger in the bathroom to listen and give your ever-so-matter-of-fact advice, for all the prayers we've prayed together, for the grand times sledding (even if it was at 2AM), the quiet moments under stars together whether walking to the house from the barn, or sitting on the beach, or speed walking from the bus stop to school before sunrise (when we learned that we couldn't just forgo the season sticker on our bus passes), for all the peaches and apricots we stuffed ourselves with, for the dishes we've deliberated over, for the bunnies and chickens we've shared, for the sermon prep sessions, the wandering airport boutiques to find honey sticks, and planting seeds ...memories are forever.
And memories ARE gifts.

Thank you.

But you've given me more than memories.

You've taught me so much about happiness, about joy in everyday, about contentment, about trusting when you can't see, about surrendering when it doesn't make sense, about living a life of constant giving, about loving no matter what.

Thank you.

I can hardly wait till you get home.  :)

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Clinicals Journal

Things are busy. It's that time of the quarter. Lots of exams. Lots of deadlines.

In the middle of everything, I've got to stop. I've got to write - partly cause I want to make the most of this learning experience; mostly because I want to remember the journey.

Warning: I'm being very real. Telling you just how it is. You might be panicked. You might think...well, I don't know what... Just know: I am learning and that this is my honest journey. 

Clinicals Day 1:

Today is my first day wearing scrubs. They've been hanging in my closet since Christmas, and today, I finally put them on. I focus on collecting my books and packing my backpack as mom and dad whistle and tease the "nurse" they've got on their hands. They know I'm excited. It's a big day. I have take my nurse 90 theory final at the college before I can drive down to the nursing home facility.

I take the test. I have my normal test jitters (Oh, the joys of college:). Then on to orientation. We form a white processional walking down the nursing home walls- these classmates, Pattie*- my teacher, and me. We stop again and again as *Pattie bends down and talks to the residents. They love her. She knows them...and from here on out, they are her co-teachers for us. They are so excited. They love to teach. They've been waiting for her next class to come since the end of last quarter.

 I'm assigned my clinical partner, *Ina. We've sat together the entire class so far. We're happy. Our first assignment is to go on a scavenger hunt to find all the places and tools that we will need while we are working here. This place is so big and so confusing.

Today, I get a peek into the lives of a few people. I get a peek into the shortness, the fragility, the basicness of living. My crazy world shrinks for awhile. I realize that it doesn't have to take much and just eating, breathing and sleeping is all that could be left. But here, I meet heroes, people who've learned to take things in stride, who live day to day, moment to moment, and who love little things, the simple things, who will bless the little world around them for everyday that they live. They inspire me. I determine to use every moment, every ounce of strength, every breath I breathe to it's fullest.

Clinicals Day 2:

It's not quite 7:45 am. I barely sit down in our makeshift classroom at the back of the nursing home, and I'm sent out on my first mission of the day. My partner, Ina*, and I are supposed to find our patient in the dinning room and assist her with breakfast. We get there, and then we realize that we don't know what she looks like. I run back to Pattie* and explain our situation. She's looks at me and says, "Did you ask?".

"Uhhh, well..."  We step in the dinning room and she confirms that we were pointed to the right one.

Breakfast is a great time. I help the lady beside us while Ina* assists our patient. Pattie* comes around and helps encourage them to eat. There's such a warmth around her. She get's close to them. Her voice is low and caring but normal.  She greets them...they know that she's sincerely happy to see them this morning. She's showing us everything she's taught us in the classroom. She's showing us what it means to care but also respect.

I loved learning in the classroom. I realize how much I'm going to love learning in "real time".

We measure the amounts our patients eat/drink. Just for the record: 240cc for the big cups, 200cc for the little cups.

I wheel the patient to the activities room. I get in trouble with the staff for trying to lock her wheels. I guess that's considered restraint. I quickly take brakes off and hurry to my patients room.

*Ina and I know that the patient's care directives say that she needs to go to bed between meals. We scratch our heads, "Should we put her in bed or should we wait for *Pattie?" We go back and forth for quite awhile. Pattie is busy with a multitude of situations with the other patients and students (she warned us that we would want to clone her!) and so we finally decide that we probably should  go ahead and put our patient in bed. We've learned how to do this in the sim. lab back at school, so we get started. The gait belt, the wheel chair locked and lowered, the patient in bed...quite a process. But as much as we try to be professional and to do things well, we realize that we are not the slickest at this job. We walk around the bed...I'm sure we ask her if she's okay a half dozen too many times, but we can't remember what else to do. SO pathetic! We don't realize how pathetic we are until...I walk back in the room a few minutes later. *Pattie is standing there...she looks at me and realizes that I don't have a clue that I've made a bunch of mistakes. "So you did a transfer?" she asks.


"Did you put a transfer sheet and a barrier pad down?"

"Uhh, no."

"Did you make sure the bed was lowered?"


"Did you check for incontinence?"

"Ummm...Not yet."

"Did you prop her with pillows?"


I've got the picture. We've messed up, and a flickering memory of a skills checklist comes to mind...one that she was supposed to sign off each skill when she watched us successfully complete it on a real patient.

We've got some work to do.

First off, we need to do some peri-care. She tells us to get our supplies for the job and that she'll be back in when we are ready to start.  We're embarrassed. Thinking straight at this point is a trial, and so we are racking our brains trying to remember what supplies we will need.


I turn to my partner, "How many?".

"Four, I think." That's how many we used in the sim lab. I find the closet and get a barrier pad and get five rags for good measure. *Pattie meets me in the hall and asks me what I've have got. I explain,"Barrier pad, five rags..."

She gives me that look again. It's not mean or anything. It's kind of a smile. It's kind of understanding cause she knows how much I want to do my best...and somehow, she probably knows that I will. But right now, she knows I've got a few things yet to learn. "Vanessa, do really think that five rags is going to take care of this job?" (by now, we've checked and we know we have a big project on our hands).

My mind is whirling. I blurt out, "Ina* told me to get four". UGH. The stuff that comes out when you're in a pinch...did I say I'm learning from this experience?

"You need more like 10 rags".

Back to the closet. I find five more rags.

I turn back in the hallway. Then I find out that what I have are washcloths and not rags at all. 

"You poor girls." Pattie* brings me back into the closet and shows me what real rags are. Meanwhile, I've "soiled" 10 washcloths that will have to go through the laundry again before they can be put back in the closet.

Our teacher is patient. She makes up for our inefficiencies and shows us how. I'm learning to say "Oh well", learn from my mistakes, and watch and replicate because someday, I will be a nurse like my teacher.

This is just a taste of the first day "on the job". I feel like a deer in the headlights almost all morning, but funny, somehow, I enjoy the whole process despite.

I really mean it when I say: couldn't find anything, couldn't remember anything, and did pretty much everything wrong. I feel kind of like I did when I started driving. That's encouraging cause now, of course, I don't have to strain my poor brain to remember all the steps to change lanes or think about which peddle is the gas and the breaks (good thing:). Someday, this too will be almost as natural as breathing. Someday.

For now, I go back and forth to the room. Undoing, redoing, asking, looking, trying, laughing, loving, and knowing this will forever be on my memorable and most educating experiences list.

Oh, and a couple other things for the record:
 1. I figured out that small gloves are really too small. I'm going for the mediums here on out.
2. I've learned: when in doubt, ask!
3. I've learned what it means to get close to the patient to talk to them


I've had a few more clinical days since DAY 2. I will write about them later. But just FYI, we got into the swing of things faster than I imagined we would.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

I Want to Be A Nurse

I remember praying- 15 years old-about what to do with my life. Why I felt such a burden to know then? I don't know.

But He answered.

To be honest, I wasn't the most pleased with the answer, not then. In fact, nursing was the one thing I had told everyone I would not do.

Now, as this journey continues, as God's plan unfolds, I  recognize how much better God knows me than I know myself, how He brings into my life only that which bring true joy.

I love this journey.

Cannot tell you how exciting it is for me to be wearing whites. I never knew that I would fall in love with this training, this work, this life so completely- only God knew.

Even these hard days- these first few days of clinicals- when, like I wrote in one of my clinical journals, "I feel like crying but I choose to laugh", when I make mistakes, when I can't find anything, remember anything, and I realize how great my need of wisdom really is, these days make me more determined than ever to be the best nurse that I can possibly be. Lord, help me. 

 I love my teachers. One is a fabulous nurse and professor turned friend who teaches, guides, and who'll look at me and say, "Vanessa?!..." .  One is a dear little grandma. One is a dedicated Christian man with a progressive paralyzing disease in his body. One is a girl down the hall in the same nursing home who has survived a terrible accident. These are my teachers. I pray that I can give to them all that they are giving me.

It's Sunday today. I'm not doing clinicals. I've been at the hospital all day though. I'm only his sister for about three days, but in those three days he's made up a pretty good chunk of my world. Beady blue eyes looking at me, trusting me. He's hooked up to monitors and an IV. Tiny. Vulnerable. Precious. What does life hold for baby boy? As I stroke his little forehead, I pray.

Being big sister for baby boy is actually a great opportunity for me. I ask questions- lots of questions. I put pieces of A&P homework together. I love this. I love this.

I realize it again as I walk out to the car to go home for the night. 

I want to be a nurse. I do. I really do.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Today We Celebrate...

A Life...
that has filled our hearts with so much love and laughter.

Again. and. Again.

Today we also remember one year ago when we were sitting around the supper table and Dad called on his way home from work and Mom said, "Life is going to change." 

We had no idea what "change" really meant, but one year later,  we'd  never turn back, never turn back...

From a baby boy, no two baby boys who we love as our own.

From a beautiful family reunited.

From tears of joy and sorrow shared together.

From friendship built forever.

From the opportunity to be apart of God's beautiful work of restoration. 

From when God, again, redefined "family" for us.

Family = the gift of people that God places in your closest circle of life. 

This month, we also celebrate two more birthdays of certain kiddos, and it was this month, three years ago, when God placed them in our hearts. 

 I'm privileged to be "big sister". 
Being apart of this family is a gift, such a gift, to me.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


 I wish I were more fluent in English. (No, I don't know any other language. Yes, I'm in a dilemma).

I love writing.

I hate (okay, strongly dislike) sitting and deleting and inching my way through phrases and then reading back and realizing the nothingness in it all. 

Of course, I'm pretty sure that this is a sure symptom of lack of exercise in this area.

But I blame it on a little question that has nagged my brain for awhile:

What are words? Is there value in them? Or are actions the only thing that really counts?

Then I remember that both my words and actions are pretty rotten and worthless when it's all summed up. Only thing that can count for me is a Jesus who is working with me. His story revealed is the only thing that matters. And His story, in some way, includes me. Wow! Yes?! It's true.

I'm love, love, loving my classes right now...getting closer to the real nursing thing:) And this one object lesson, from sitting in hours of lecture of what it means to be a nurse, I draw. Doctor: He does a big job. His life is summed up in late nights, early mornings, working to diagnose, treat, operate on patients. Nurse: She works hard. She gets dirty. She's on her feet all day caring for and saving the life of the patient. Patient: Totally dependent. Sick. Needy. Recipient of Grace. The patient (at least in most critical care situations) cannot DO anything to help himself. BUT. The patient is the key player in the story of the doctor and the nurse. Whether he lives or dies will impact their story, and that, whether he likes it or not.

A no-brainer? sure. But sometimes it takes those for me.  Because we are the ones He is redeeming, our story is apart of His. Does our testimony count? it must.

Not to share it would be shame. 

Though I have learned that God cares more about what's really happening inside my heart than in what I say, I've also realized that He has gifted us to think in words.

And though He gave that ultimate sacrifice of all heaven and life itself in action, He told us the story in words. Does God think in words? I don't know. What I do know is that He decided to put His thoughts in words for me. That is a gift.

Deliberation is enough. Aftermath of GYC - heart-searching, reading, thinking, and praying- and a multitude of Goals and New Year's Resolutions swirling in my head are resolving.

This year (January isn't over=), I seek to love a gift, to search a gift, to hide a gift, and share a gift- God's heart, His thought in His written Word. AND. Write the part of the story that is unwritten yet...His work: REDEMPTION working in me.

"Words are more than an indication of character; they have power to react on the character. Men are influenced by their own words." DA 323