Healers and Healing

If needed, to catch you up read my Balance Beam and Mercy posts.

I opened my email yesterday and found this from my Husband. Knowing how much I am struggling he was trying to find something to help give me peace. In addition to having me listen to a 30 minute audio about death from Chuck Swindoll I found this in my email. A poem written by a Kristi A. Dyer.

Healing,
the ancient covenant between physician and patient
a promise to cure,
to save,
and to restore.

Healing
appears in many forms–
The right antibiotics for an infectious organism
The curative chemotherapy for a malignant tumor
The correct diagnosis in a complex case.

But what of the terminal diagnosis
with no treatment options
when your diagnostic skills are no longer required
your presence will not alter the course?

Then
Healing manifests on the purest level–
an extension of the soul,
aiding in the acceptance of the process
finding peace and serenity
on the path leading to transition.

Healing
of  pain,
suffering,
and emotional distress.
No longer with technical devices
and the newest medication.

But just
A cheerful smile
An open ear
A gentle touch
A warm embrace
Taking the time to listen, to be
to share a part of yourself.

Healing
becomes an expression of caring and love.
The greatest gift of all
may be the ability
to walk with a person
help provide them with strength
and courage

Mercy

I think I am slowly figuring out where my biggest difficulty lies with everything recently. In that I mean death, suffering, illness…it is just so painful sometimes. I don’t know if “pain” is the correct word as I am not in physical pain per se (my tummy would disagree) but my heart breaks a little each time I have to tell someone bad news or I see someone suffering so terribly. For example, there is nothing worse than seeing someone gasping for each breath or holding a crying patient that goes in week after week after week for more chemotherapy just trying to save their life and they are so sick that they cannot even function at a basic level and they are just so sad and scared and the horrible part is knowing that there is literally nothing that I can do to fix it for them. NOTHING. But pray. And, I do. I pray with my patients in the hospital often. Did you know that when we give chemo we basically bring the patient as close to death as possible and then try to bring them back~that is essentially how it works. The only way it can work to rid the body of the cancer. How awful.

With that said I am sorry to say that I think where I am struggling with all of this IS with my faith. Like I said I pray, man do I pray with these patients and do they ever appreciate it. I think it helps them, but I don’t know…I guess I am not doing the best spiritually and if I did better maybe I would be coping better with all of these things? While some may think it strange, blogging about this also helps. It is like journaling to me.

I have thought about whether or not I am in the right place, the right career right now. But since I cannot imagine changing to a different kind of medicine I think I must be doing what God wants for me to do. And like I said previously, I so love my patients.

I wasn’t going to post it. I was going to keep it private but I have a tendency to lose emails and I think I am going to need it to refer back to again and again and that is the comment from our good friend Jason to my previous post. Telling me that he believes I am annointed  by God to do what I do~this is my calling. And, he reminded me that Jesus is my strength. That is where I am weak right now. It has slowly happened over the past two or three years…one of those things that creeps up on you like gray hair or wrinkles.

So. What now? Well we have a trip that we are both very much looking forward to. We will be flying to Mississippi on May 14th to see Adam’s Mom graduate from nursing school. I am sure you all know by now that Adam’s Dad is a preacher. They don’t know it yet, but I think I need him. I need him to pray over me, he just has it, you know. That touch of the spirit and I need that. So, as Adam’s mom reads my blog occasionally I guess this is their heads up…ha ha!

Reading. Gosh, I love to read. I know I need to read the bible more but I am not good at it. I have a learner’s bible to at least help but I need to be better. But if anyone knows of any good books about grief or anything that you think would help I am open. A friend just gave me The Shack by Paul Young and I am well into it already.  

I sure want to be stronger by this fall when I hope the babe-making season starts (oops, did I type that?)! =0) 

A good friend posted this on her site about 18 months ago and every so often I go back to that post just to listen to this song. In fact, I have probably hit replay and listened to the song ten times while typing this blog. We can all use a little Mercy.

I’m standing on a balance beam

…and I am a little wobbly.

I definitely need to preface this all by saying medicine can be so so rewarding. There is nothing better than a patient stopping you in the middle of the street to thank you for “saving” them or a patient that brings their entire family up to you at a restaurant because they just have to introduce you to their family as “the one that helps them sooo much”. Diagnosing a patient with something that no one else seemed to be able to figure out, delivering a precious babe, saving someone in a trauma….all beautiful things that make you smile when your head hits the pillow at night.

But.

There are tragic things too. Tragic diagnoses that make you not even want to open that exam room door and walk in to see that special patient. I write special because he/she is. They all are. I would be lying if I said there are not some that touch you more than others but after taking care of someone for 7 years, you KNOW them. Not just the “medical” side of them. You know the real them, like that they have a “green thumb” with plants or love to babysit their grand babies or you may even know what kind of food they feed their cattle (seriously!). And, so your stomach hurts and sometimes a few tears may even fall before you open that exam room door because you know that when you open your mouth the words that flow out will change their life as they know it and those that love them forever and ever.

Depending on the patient, they may cry and you may too…with them and you may even hold them as they are often alone in that exam room. And when they leave, if you are lucky like I am you seek out your partner who understands. Who knows. Who has felt it. Who has been there too and she will now hold you.

The problem with me in medicine is this: second-guessing. This leads to guilt.  I always think if only I had consulted this specialist instead of this one, if only I had referred here instead of there, if only. I am intelligent enough to realize how unrealistic that sentence reads but I am human. And, boy how do I love my patients.

This past ten days or so I have been on a balance beam and I am wobbly. I know why but just haven’t figured out yet how to get my balance. Grief. I am not coping with grief well. About a year ago I had similar symptoms as now. I refer you back to these posts.

Death

Nana

Unfortunately I have lost many patients over the years and have grieved. I have always coped well, at least I think I have. When my Nana died last year and around that time when our little community kind of got hit hard I started having some trouble and then things gradually got better by the end of the summer. But in the past two weeks my Pepe has been ill and in the hospital~not doing well (so I’ve been thinking about the possibility of losing him) and after breaking news to a patient that is like a grandparent to me things have started again.

I am okay during the day, for the most part. My stomach drives me nuts. It is upset all the time. But mainly it is at night. Thank you Adam for holding me as I cry to sleep and for being their during the bad dreams. I’m not sure what they’re about but they must be “bad” because Adam says I’m crying. Sometimes I just wake myself up because of the wetness on my face from the tears.  This is the exact same as last year.

I often wonder how much longer I can do this. I have seen some people practice medicine so long that they become almost immune to the grief and while I definitely want to cope better I do not want to become that way. Some days I think, ahhhh what a life it would be to work in an urgent care clinic somewhere just taking care of snot-noses and stomach aches!

We did a lot of praying to help me through last year and did go speak with someone that gave us the idea of the ducks, of which you may remember. The entire point to help me keep in mind that I can only control what I can control. Let me tell ya’ folks, a person can only have so many duckies without risking being locked up in the loonie bin I am for sure.

So. I am open to ideas. Besides the ol’ atta girl, you are doing these patients such a wonderful service and they are so blessed to have you as their provider, etc etc. I do feel that way too. They are blessed and I am blessed. Any of you have tips on grief because I am failing here miserably. At an F if I were to be graded.

love you guys…xoxo

Getting verrry smart with a bestest girlfriend, good eats and saving Bob’s airway (kind of)

This past week my partner (who I am lucky is a great girlfriend too!) and I attended a trauma conference. We are now not only sooo sooo much more smart but an awesome time was had. To start with, check out where we stayed. This particular Embassy Suites is by far my favorite hotel on the mainland (nothing compares to Hawaii, I mean…come on!). I always ask for a room on the top floor so I can look down and look at the water streaming throgh the entire atrium with all of the fishies. I love love love it!
 

We had decided before the trip that we were going to eat at restaurants that neither of us had ever eaten at before. The first night we ate at the French Cafe. Neither of us ever having authentic French before, it was different for sure. A little pricey but we are glad we went. Probably won’t go again. I ordered these crab cakes for an appetizer and out came these two marshmallow looking things with a lil’ dollop of sauce on the top…looked like boobies. We couldn’t stop laughing. I ordered a steak and asked for it to be well-done, I guess in France this translates to jerky. Mary Jane had crepes which were good but she left hungry. We really liked the purple tree though, that was smack in the middle of the restaurant! Sorry for the quality of the pictures in the post as they are all from our phones. We also noticed towards the end of our meal that we were surrounded by strange company. The only other people in the entire restaurant were all men. VERY werid.

The next night we ate at a restaurant called the Twisted Fork which I am proud to finally refer to it correctly because until now I have been referring to it as the Crooked Fork. Now….this place is the bomb, I tell ya! We decided to eat the weirdest things on the menu so of course our appetizer was fried pickles (duh…what else would it be?!). I had a grilled cheese and fried egg sandwich and MJ had salmon tacos. The atmosphere rocked, animal heads everywhere, couches with pillows covered with cow-hide but also beautiful chandeliers….very cool.

Back to the conference….we DID learn and we are smarter now. I’ll leave you with this. A picture of Bob. I just know that if given the chance he would have survived. I would have saved him!!! Bob, the little piglet that is. Here he is after I successfully inserted a tracheostomy for his airway.

R.I.P. Bob

MIA

So.

I’ve been hiding, I guess. Actually, here is how it happened: a few weeks ago I got a letter from my father that hurt my feelings which shouldn’t surprise me as it has occurred off and on for the past 25 years. In fact, we (as in…Adam and I) used to have a rule that whenever I got something in the mail from my Dad I would not open it. Adam would and if it was something that was not hurtful he would give it to me, if not he would toss it. Needless to say, I guess we need to resume that routine because I didn’t see it coming when I should have. So. I felt sorry for myself for about three days. No blogging, emailing, really anything. Then, life took over.

Doc loves cows. Doc, as in the doctor I work with. Every January and February he travels with his grandchildren to cattle shows to CO and TX. This leaves things VERY hectic here on the home front for the other NP and I. Lots of late evenings at the hospital…no time for blogging. Then…I’ve been to three conferences in the midst of all of this too.

All the while, I think geesh…I feel like I have a lot to say but I don’t really know what nor why actually. So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. I’m working on a post with the goings ons at the Carters that I’ll post next.

So I suppose the moral of the story is: don’t hurt my feelings.

xoxo