Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Some tips on being a patient

I am awestruck at the selfishness of some people. I am beginning to believe that the 'Hotel Bellevue' stereotype of one of the places (ahem) I spend a lot of time is true. And I'm desperately hoping for something more satisfying... someday. It is so discouraging to me to go 'serve' everyday, knowing that no matter how much I give or how compassionate or empathetic I am, maybe once in a blue moon my patient will thank me or feel close to me at the end of our day. I understand some people are not as verbal about their feelings as I am, especially to complete strangers, but I am beginning to see the incredible value in looking someone in the eyes and THANKING them. With a genuine smile.

I have been trying this at the grocery store and other various places I receive service. People are not very good about receiving thanks, either, I'm noticing. Maybe it's the busy pace of most service industries like grocery stores, but I think we have become a culture that is uncomfortable with "too close" encounters. We like to keep people at a safe distance, where we can control our little environment, ignore whoever we deem necessary, and get all the things done in the day that we had planned. You know, sometimes being flexible and dropping an agenda or ten can show another human being the value of their presence.

Back to the story about 'Hotel Bellevue'. The person I had the pleasure of serving this afternoon was very distraught when I got there. I spent 20 minutes with her at the beginning of my busy shift, just listening, not making any excuses for people who had clearly, in her mind, screwed up. I reassured her that I was here for her and that if she needed anything (even just to talk), all she had to do was call me.

I thought we had gotten started on a great foot. Throughout the course of the night, we became busy with our other 5 patients, as well. By the end of the night, she was accusing me of "fighting" with her, arguing that my way was the best way, and telling her that I controlled what time she received her medications (well, that part is sort of true, which is why you want to be nice to your nurse - one note, I try my very best to be "on time"; I never promise that I will be anywhere at a certain time, but I do request my patients to call me and make friendly reminders). Funny, because I distinctly remember sharing with her at the start that I was there to make her comfortable and that my job was NOT to tell her what to do. My patients all have free will - they can at any point, get up and leave the hospital (it is not a prison, after all), refuse medication, or refuse treatment.

I don't know that patients realize that we (I) have feelings, too. Sometimes, I am just expected to relax and 'not take it personally' (as the wife of a verbally abusive, yet fully cognizant man told me the previous evening). It hurts when someone turns on you and breaks the trust you believed you had with them. It hurts when they tell people things that are not true about you or make up stories as to WHY you did what you did. How in the world could she get inside my mind, heart, or motivation?

It is getting increasingly difficult to put on the happy face. So, by the end of the night, I admit, I was looking her dead in the face with the most blank stare you could imagine. She just didn't deserve the smile or the 'nice nurse' anymore. Not after hours of mutilation and verbal abuse. When she asked me to reposition her limb for the 3rd time in an hour, but she "didn't want to take up too much of my precious time", I stood holding the limb, repositioning the pillows, doing exactly as she asked. No mercy. No smile. That is NOT how I want things done in my practice. So, please, folks, if you go in for surgery (elective, emergent, urgent, however it's done), please be NICE to your nurse! Be considerate. Ask politely. Don't demand. Do ask personal questions, but not to later use against her. Smile. And don't wait until your pain is a '10' every time. And if you get tired of the long lists of 'dos' and 'don'ts', DO NOT come to join me at the place I serve (ahem). Thank you and good night.

Monday, April 4, 2011


Due to the recommendation from two trusted friends on opposite sides of the country, I have begun reading David Platt's 'Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From the American Dream'. At the gym yesterday, I couldn't put it down. I ended up reading for an hour and a half (which is long considering my attention span with books), sweating away on the elliptical. The cover of the book has a pic of a house turned upside down. Needless to say, I am excited when I pick up any book like this. I am so frequently turned off by the American way of doing things. Cameron, as well, makes comments about just moving to a foreign country where a simple way of life and true relationship-based living are learned.

Consider for a moment a rural, agricultural village with no running water, where livelihood is based on crop. No one person can make it without the help of their neighbor. It's not like here, where we leave our homes ALONE in the morning, work all day (ignoring people as much as possible), come home to park our car in the garage (shutting the door behind us), and plug away at catching up on 'the news' all evening like a couch potato. Now, that doesn't look like my life at all, but I'm making a choice every day NOT to choose that. And I know certain other individuals who differ terribly. It makes me sad for their lives. Especially for those calling themselves believers in the living God and followers of Jesus Christ. This is NOT what we were called to: "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." (Matthew 28:19-20)

At least I believe that means not leading a standstill American 'dream'. An excerpt from 'Radical':

"As I stood on that mountain, God gripped my heart and flooded my mind with two resounding words, 'Wake up.' Wake up and realize that there are infinitely more important things in your life than football and 401(k). Wake up and realize there are real battles to be fought, so different from the superficial, meaningless 'battles' you focus on. Wake up to the countless multitudes who are currently destined for a Christless eternity. The price of our nondiscipleship is high for those without Christ. It is high also for the poor of this world. Consider the cost when Christians ignore Jesus' commands to sell their possessions and give to the poor and instead choose to spend their resources on better comforts, nicer cars, and more stuff. Consider the cost when these Christians gather in churches and choose to spend millions of dollars on nice buildings to drive up to, cushioned chairs to sit in, and endless programs to enjoy for themselves. Consider the cost for the starving multitudes who sit outside the gate of contemporary Christian affluence."

I see myself being guilty of many of these things. I pray I will never sit here and say that I have arrived and point my finger at others to judge. No, I am guilty. But I want God to change my heart, to shape me into His image, to see others as they were created (not what they have created themselves to be). I want to be a world-changer, to stand up against 'the norms' of the church, to be bold when I see something that must change. Someday, I want to teach our children to boldly defy compliance. I want our children to grow in Christ, to laugh and love with all their hearts, to give everything for the sake of Christ. It must start with me.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

I'm loving this nursery. Beautiful textures and neutral colors. I'm thinking of a few splashes of color, depending on the gender. Also, the idea of some vintage bicycles (found some miniature wall hangings on Craigslist) and maybe an old rotary phone sounds magnificent. It's fun to dream!


Friday, April 1, 2011


With great joy, I announce that we have decided NOT to go to Italy this year. After much prayer and pondering and sharing our hearts with one another, we made the decision to put our family first. We really do feel God calling us to start having children, and although we do still want to travel parts of Italy and Greece, we are going to wait a few years. Some good friends have mentioned wanting to travel there, too, and if we wait, there's a chance we could go as two families (or couples, whatever God has for us at that point).

It really excites me. Cameron is going to make the best father - I am so thrilled to see him grow in new ways. We still have some tough financial decisions to make, so if you would, please pray for us in the next few months. We are trusting God to make it all work out in HIS way. Honestly, His way is the best way and it's the only way for me!