Just another WordPress.com site

~Life is a miracle~

This week has been strange.  I simultaneously was looking forward to it and dreading it at the same time.  Starting on November 17, many different memories came flooding back to what was going on last year at this time.  Some days, I can’t believe it has been a year.  Others though, it feels like it has been a lifetime.  People say they have never witnessed a miracle, but I experienced one.  My life is a miracle, and the very fact that I’m not dead is something that can only be explained as such.  My body had been actively “growing” clots for about six months.  At any point one of those could have easily broken off and I could have had a pulmonary embolism.  By the time they were discovered the lower half of my body, from my pelvis down to my toes was almost completely clotted off.  I had had no remarkable symptoms, a little nausea/vomiting and fatigue (who doesn’t have those symptoms on night shift) until the day before my first admission when the lower half of my body turned a bluish tint and became so swollen that I could not fit into my scrubs or walk even a small distance.  Things I had done without a second thought, like walking, became excruciating.  My body had been compensating for many months, and had made tiny little pathways to get blood as best it could to where it needed to go.  All of my major vessels were clotted off and I was about to go into renal failure because my vessels to my kidneys were obstructed with clots as well. My body was tired, and had done the best it could for as long as it could, but it was shutting down.  I literally felt like the life was draining out of me.  I will say though, I thank God for how ignorant I was during it all.  Though I’m a nurse, educated, and know the dangers of blood clots, I just didn’t get the gravity of the situation.

Are there things I’m still angry about, yes.  Do I think that some of the physicians initially involved in my care were negligent, yes.  Is it disappointing that a place of business, a place I am employed cannot always be objective because a physician brings a considerable amount of revenue into the hospital, yes.  But I cannot change what happened, and I refuse to be constantly consumed with the darkness of clinging onto injustices of this world.

Even though it was a chaotic and scary time in my life, I look back now and am filled with so much gratitude for being able to see so many of the people that are important to me.  My sister, as well as my friends Megan and Shari, who all live outside of Lubbock were able to come down and see me.  My parents brought Thanksgiving to me because I was too sick and weak to go anywhere.  Deb, who I’ll mention in great detail later, never left me by myself from the very first moment I checked in to the ER.  If she wasn’t with me, she made sure someone else was.  Johnny, who brought me all kinds of organic drinks and things from sprouts, waited with me and my parents before my first surgery, came down to SICU in the middle of the night to visit, took me to multiple dr. appointments and so much more.  Heather, who prayed with me before my CT during my second admission.  At this point during the whole “Cyclot” as we have nicknamed it, I was miserable.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I was having a terrible reaction to Fondaparinux (an anticoagulant injection I was taking), it was causing a horrible rash and the worst headaches I’ve ever experienced in my life.  I remember getting to the ER and sitting up in that bed and feeling worse than I ever had in my life.  I was miserable, and emotional, still extremely swollen, and didn’t really see any silver lining at that moment.  I literally felt like I was going to die, which would have been preferable over staying in my body that was quickly deteriorating.  There are so many people to mention, Tim and Tamara, who are literally always a phone call away, Gwenna & Rusty, my sweet grandparents June and Billy, lots and lots of co-workers from the ER and I’m sure there are others I’m forgetting.  It really is the smallest details that can leave such a deep impression.  When I was in SICU, the night after my first surgery, Michelle, one of my co-workers came to see me.  I began to cry and she simply put her hands on my cheeks cupping my head with her hands. Such a simple but yet so sweet gesture.  I couldn’t move my head because I had an IJ (Internal Jugular) catheter on the right side of my neck, couldn’t sit up, couldn’t do anything but lie there.  I was tired, weak and vulnerable.  I will never forget that kind gesture and how much, in that moment, it made me feel like I was going to be okay. Right after my first surgery I was not prepared for how awful I would feel.  I have never experienced such an overwhelming sense of pain in my life.  I could not move, had the IJ, and shunts on both sides of my groin.  I was in and out of being awake, involuntarily shaking and crying.  I have very few memories of the first hours after surgery, and for that I am grateful, but I do remember Paul and Dusty being in there for what seemed like just a brief moment and praying over me.  It seems that in my most vulnerable moments, when all of the facades of security begin to crumble, that I see God most clearly.

IMG_8096

I believe the only reason I’m alive is because of Divine Intervention.  I was discharged from the hospital and sent home to wither away twice.  I was told that surgery was not an option, I would be swollen and be on blood thinners the rest of my life, and that my current health state was my new “normal”.  What I didn’t realize at the time was that I was never going to be able to walk without excruciating pain again.  I would never be able to run to Target and look around.  I would never work again, never be able to have children, and probably not ever seen my 30th birthday.  My kidneys were shutting down, I would eventually end up on dialysis, and the blood would pool in my legs creating wounds that would never heal.

I think about how many things that had to “fall into place” for my story to work out the way it did and it overwhelms me that God leaves absolutely no detail, no matter how small or trivial to chance.  The night I got home after my second admission I was laying on my couch not really thinking about the future, just glad to be at my own house in my own clothes and not have IVs and be constantly poked and prodded for blood.  And then, I got a phone call that changed my life.  I’ll never forget how her voice sounded, and what she told me.  Deborah had talked to Dr. Santana, told him about my case, and he emphatically stated I needed to come back and have surgery to save my life.  So many things had to fall into place for this to happen.

IMG_4037

Deborah had to be working, and be on the crit side.  She had to be around when Dr. Santana was over there.  There had to be an opportunity for her to speak to him.  There had to be some reason for an attending Trauma surgeon to be in the ER in the first place.  He had to be the one on call.  The ER can be somewhat of a chaotic place, and there is rarely an opportunity to be able to ask an attending multiple questions about another case.  I have never seen Dr. Santana sitting on the crit side in the nearly three years I have worked at the ER.  He not only took the time to listen to Deborah’s questions, but pulled the many scans I had had done up on the computer and looked at them.  He explained to Deborah that I did need surgery, and that there is a very very small window to remove clots as extensive as the ones I had.  He told her to tell me to come back to the ER the next morning and he would personally see me.  God ultimately decides when my heart will stop beating, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude that he used Deborah to save my life.  Dr. Santana is a genius, and the kind of surgery he is able to perform is nothing short of a miracle in itself, but I would have never made it to Santana if it hadn’t been for Deborah.  I would have never been able to celebrate my 28th birthday or celebrate my one-year mark since this all began.  To say that I’m grateful doesn’t seem to even begin to explain how I feel.  I will never be able to put it all into words.  Deborah’s middle name is Faith, which I think is perfect.  She never gave up, even when it seemed like there was no other option.  My daughter, the one I will be able to have one day, will also have the middle name Faith.  I am alive today because Jesus wanted it so and used Deborah to make that happen, something I will never fully be able to comprehend or say thank you enough for.

 

IMG_2477

 

The “what-ifs” can drive a person crazy, and if I’m not careful I can become so wrapped up in what could have happened or what could happen now, and to say this last year has been easy would be a lie.  It has been a difficult year, probably the most difficult and darkest of my life.  Grieving the life that I once had has been a trying process, and one that I’m sure will continue for a long time, if not for the rest of my life.  Lots of tears have been shed, tears of sadness, frustration, joy and happiness.  I made it a year though, and that issomething to celebrate.  I celebrate family, good friends, co-workers, and talented physicians.  My life is a miracle. CA6A0160

~ randomness ~

One of the first things I was told when I found out I had been offered a job in the EC was, “ You will learn not to care, you will become jaded after a bit just because of everything you will see.”  To a point, this is very true.  I could fill pages and pages of terrible, and terribly stupid stories.  Because patients either go home, get admitted, or die in the ER it is easy to become almost robotic.  It is not hard being a nurse.  Before you read too much into that, let me explain exactly what I mean.  Anyone, within reason, can be taught how to do a head to toe assessment or draw up a medication correctly.  The things I was taught in school are very black and white for the most part.  Push a med slow, check a blood sugar, feel for pulses, and the list goes on and on.  The only problem with all of that is that people are messy.  People are what make everything very grey, and somewhat difficult at times.  I am not ignorant of the fact that I wear everything I’m thinking and feeling on the outside.  Someone can usually take one look at me and know exactly what is going on in my head.  This isn’t always a good thing, depending on what look I’m wearing at the moment.  Life lately, well, has been difficult, and stressful, and extremely messy.  It’s made me spend a good amount of time thinking about why I am the way I am.  I’ve tried to “toughen up” as some people say, and just not care so much, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I would be doing myself a disservice.  I like that I’m passionate about things, and care to the point of tears, ( lots and lots of tears lately).  I want people to know how much I appreciate, love and care for them, whether that is a co-worker that buys me a coke because I’ve had a stressful day, a funny boy that tells me I’m a good nurse when I’m completely doubting what I’m doing with my life, or a friend that chit chats about our current frustrations until we literally cannot talk about it anymore.  Carrying around that kind of emotion on the outside obviously comes with some risks.  But I think it makes me stronger person, not a weaker one.  Of course I will get hurt, isn’t that a part of life?  That though, is worth it to me. If I was to die today, or tomorrow, or in 20 years, I would want people to see and know my heart, and to be able to say that I may have been a mess and a little crazy, but genuine and very sincere in my efforts to make them feel appreciated, and that I truly did care so much about them.  The people weaved in and out of my life make it what it is…beautiful

Tomorrow is going to be a long day.  And quite frankly I’m terrified.  I have a class for the ER from 1-5, and then I’m going to go into the ER at 7pm for my first night shift. Thousands of thoughts are swirling through my mind…like, “I don’t know what I’m doing, I don’t know anything, I could kill someone, what if my preceptor thinks I’m stupid, wait, I already know I don’t know anything, what if it’s crazy and I hate it, what if I pass out, or throw up, or get yelled out, or, or, or…” the list goes on and on.  AND THEN…I start having a huge sad sob story for myself telling myself things like, “Nobody knows what I’m feeling, they have never had this kind of anxiety before, nursing has to be the most stressful job EVER….”  I have been somewhat anxious the past couple of days as these thoughts keep cultivating in my mind.  I will say though, I have been pushed to pray a lot more than I have in quite awhile.  I also believe that those closest to me are talking to the Father about all my worries, because I have felt a deep sense of peace this afternoon.  I’m still nervous.  I know there will be days that are awful, and everything I mentioned earlier could very well come true, such as the getting yelled at, but at this moment, I know that things will be okay…even if they aren’t…the will be.  Of course it will be scary, every new thing in life is, but it’s totally worth it:)

 

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation, as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.” Florence Nightingale

It’s strange to me to that I can be so “homesick” for a place that I have been to only twice.  My heart aches to be there, and as I look through the thousands of pictures I took while there my vision is clouded with tears…tears of happiness and sadness and longing and frustration and a joy I can’t really describe in words or feelings.  It’s just something deep within me, like a part of me has always been there, or was left there, and at some point I must go back, I must not forget, even though honestly it’s quite painful to remember at times.  Painful, because it’s seems I have blinked and time has passed right before my eyes.  I don’t want to live in the past or glorify those days in any way, but I am so very thankful for them.  China changed my life.  The people I went with changed my life.  The people that surrounded me changed my life.  I have not been, nor will ever be the person I was before I left.  On June 3, a great man, someone I learned so much from in a short time, died.  I wish I could describe him on here in a way that would be adequate, but it’s just not possible.  He made me want to love Jesus more.  He challenged me and encouraged me, and frankly made me laugh.  He was firm in what he believed, yet was willing to be open and vulnerable to those around him. He encourages me, and inspires me to continue to cling to what is important to me, and to LIVE IT OUT EVERYDAY.  It’s been really hard for me to make any sort of sense of how I feel and to get it into words, and this is the best I could do.

DL, thank you.

 

 

 

 


 

~nimariema~

I am so lucky.  I have worked with some really amazing people in the Southwest Cancer center over the past nearly three years.  Today was my last day, and it was bitter-sweet.  I am so excited about my future, but I am sad to leave such a great place.  My sister is super sneaky and planned a going away lunch and it was so much fun:)

My awesome cake

My sister got everyone to sign an apron, which I thought was really neat

The best boss ever!

Crazy infusion peeps:)

Radiation

Clinic nurses

Sister who put it all together:)

Love you all!

Thank you for all the great memories over the past few years and for helping me become the nurse I am today.  Sad to see things end, but excited for a new beginning:)

~nimariema~

I love that look I get from people where I know they are thinking, “who arrre you?”

I don’t blame them though…me in high school

me now…

a little different I would say:)

~nimariema~

It’s like everyone always says but I never really believe, ” You will blink and it will be over.”…nursing school that is.

I remember the exact moment I found out I had been accepted in the Texas Tech nursing program.  I was working back in the infusion area at the cancer center and knew I should be finding out soon.  I checked my email and much to my delight I had an email letter of acceptance.  Boy, I don’t think I realized how much this would change my life.  I was excited/scared/freaked out/soo happy/a million other emotions.

I remember orientation and the overwhelming feeling of, “What did I get myself into?”

 First day of nursing school:)

I remember studying almost 24/7 that first summer session and feeling overwhelmed at times.  I also remember though, meeting some of the nursing school peeps that would become what I hope to be life long friends.

I remember long long study nights/project nights/youtube video nights (ha).  For a real laugh, go here:

http://youtu.be/IGEaZQgQzNw

I remember clinical days to where I thought I would never ever finish, or really be able to be a real nurse, or know what I was doing.

BUT…I made it, and it really do feel like I blinked and it was over.  Most of the time I feel like this is a great thing;)…I just don’t want to blink too fast in the future.

Last clinical day!:)

~nimariema~

Tag Cloud

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.