Rumbling and The Bogeyman

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This week I have been a train wreck. I have been a train wreck and I’ve been feeling guilty, feeling at fault, like there is something inherently wrong with me, or bad about me for being sick.

For missing work and meetings and commitments I care about.

For letting others down.

Because then maybe I’ll seem undependable or irresponsible.

Because then maybe I won’t be liked.

Or loved.

Am I still loveable, am I now unworthy?

That thought process is insane because it’s so untrue. Sometimes my heart doesn’t believe it’s untrue though. I don’t know where these feelings always come from. From being a good daughter. From being an excellent student; GATE program in Middle School, Honors and AP in High School, graduate of UCLA School of Nursing (where it’s burned into your mind that the acceptance rate is indeed less than 4%, the damn most competitive nursing school in the nation). From caring for others as a career, putting their needs first for over 40 hours of the week. I don’t know the root of my inappropriate reactions; it’s probably a combination of all of the above and the selfish kind of thinking that puts unreasonably high expectations on myself. It’s one facet of my humanness, the presence of strengths and weaknesses and insecurities that surprise me. They don’t surprise me that I have them, they just surprise me because they pop up like the Bogeyman and say BOO! HERE I AM!

In a book called Rising Strong, Brené Brown talks about something called The Rumble. The Rumble is where we own our stories, the stories we tell ourselves and tell others. We become honest with ourselves about why we feel certain things and act certain ways, often digging into deep concepts like guilt, worth, and shame. I guess you could say that I’m in The Rumble today.

In this chapter Brené Brown refers to this place of rumbling as a delta. She describes the delta of the Greek alphabet, which represents the difference in mathematics. She then delves into the geographical term delta, where rivers and oceans meet in marshlands:

This is why the rumble is so important – many of use have go-to emotions that mask what we’re really feeling. Deltas are where rivers meet the sea. They’re marshy, fully of sediment, and forever-changing.  They are also rich and fertile areas of growth. This is where we need to do our work – our key learnings emerge from the delta.

So right now I’m smack-dab in the middle of a delta. This week I’ve travelled from the Emergency Room and many doctor offices to confinement at home. I’ve felt scared, shitty, anxious, guilty. Relieved as I’ve gotten a bit better, restful and hopeful for healing. I bounced back to anxious and guilty for not healing as fast as I anticipated. Now I’m down in the delta where I’m rumbling. A winding, difficult path just to sit here and feel so human. So ordinary and imperfect, but also so valued and esteemed. For the umpteenth time, I’m reminded of my unique worth which cannot be altered by sickness, by medical leaves from work, by others expectations of me or expectations of myself. I am reminded that I deserve rest and rejuvenation when ill; I deserve to be cared for and to care for myself with the same amount of love that I bring for my patients.

I’ve also been reminded of my friend in Panama. He used to always ask in a deep, slow voice, “Who…are…you?” I was younger then. I would say, “KAITLIN!” and laugh. He’d say, “NO. You are princess of God. Daughter of God.” He would use this same question to remind each of us of our unique, unchangeable position with God.

So today I am human. I am also His beloved daughter.

In Honor of Nurses Everywhere

In honor of nurses everywhere and in celebration of the first day of Nurses Week, this is an open letter to my colleagues. The original post was from May 19, 2015, however I want to say thank you again (and again and again); you guys are heroes for so many.


An open letter to my fellow nurses,

You are a unique group of individuals, truly one-of-a-kind. I don’t know of any other profession that has personality, heart and mind so truly interwoven with the work being done, and also with the relationships being built. It takes a remarkable person to walk out of a room after comforting someone nearing death, directly into another room while smiling, with the aim of treating each person like they are your sole patient.

I admire you for the endless multitasking that you do. The everyday tasks of admitting, discharging, passing medications; more importantly the critical thinking. To receive fifteen pieces of information and somehow see a larger picture. You don’t just see the larger picture, but you are the very eyes and ears when the physician, family, and patient are not always able.

Thank you fellow nurses, for teaching me, encouraging me, building me up, sharpening my skills, and pointing me towards better ways of care. To the instructors, you put life into theory and taught me how to learn on my own. To the preceptors, your patience is unparalleled. I know this now that I’ve had the opportunity to guide first year youngsters in nursing school. To the charge nurses and directors, you are the glue that holds us all together! You are incredible under the pressures of patient care, policy, HCAHPS, budget, and everything else that goes into running a unit. You are incredible when the worst crises hit; you don’t take over but you guide us so so that we will be better equipped next time. To the aids and assistants (AND SITTERS), we could not do our job without you! You have taught me how to give the most basic care with the best heart, and you have taught me the weight of that. To my fellow nurses, you are the best friends and colleagues to a fresh nurse, with only two years of experience.

You give up hours, weekends, and holidays with your family to spend days and nights at the bedside. You deal with unspeakable sadness, usher in moments of triumph, and even gracefully handle the rudest of people. And you still smile every day. You are the only people who will help me change a C. diff diaper or place a difficult foley catheter, and then ten minutes later share a large pizza with me. You don’t cringe at the inappropriate joke I make while we eat, but return it with an even grosser bodily-fluid-comeback. You hold my pager when I’m in dire need of coffee, and remind me it’s been eight hours since I last peed. You make the biggest and best potlucks for any holiday or excuse to celebrate. You listen to me vent when the lady down the hall punches me, and you give me a hug (when I cry in the med room) after someone else’s crazy second removed cousin yells at me about the lack of gourmet food.

You inspire me to work harder every day, to master the material, and to remain soft-hearted with a very difficult patient population. You are a rare breed. You have the sickest humor, the most resilent of souls, and the kindest hearts. I am blessed to call you peers.