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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The Reiki Master and the Registered Nurse

I was in the process of changing the name of this blog to The Reiki Master and the Registered Nurse, but I just couldn't quite do it.  I still have hopes that I will be able to pop out a Mozart aria again.  Even if there isn't anyone else to listen, it would just be nice to know that I can do it.  I have rehearsed Mi Tradi Quelle Alma in Grata, but have never performed it.  The last time I tried, the most I could sing was about two phrases before my support fell out from under me.  The swelling in my back looks much better than it has in previous months, but it is still there.  The speed with which I walk is improving.  Maybe the speed with which I sing the words 'palpitanto il cor' will pick up also.

Now that I am back to work and have also received a level three Reiki attunement, life is much different than it was before.  I have met some wonderful new people and been able to participate in a healing circle on a regular basis; I have returned to my hot yoga practice, and I have not so successfully tried dating again.  Life is mostly all good.  Certainly, other people in this world have more difficulties than I am experiencing at the moment.

One of my difficulties has been a health health issue that has come up.  I will not mention the details because to most of my blog readers, it would be entirely too much information.  However, it is, at least in part, something I have experienced before.  The conventional treatments require general anesthesia, and surgery.  So, I am exploring alternatives to these options even as we speak.  In my reading, I have discovered several remedies that will help said problem, but there isn't an alternative that eradicates the issue.  This is where the Reiki master and the Registered Nurse conflict with each other.  Conventional wisdom says to just have surgery and be done with it.  The human part of me says, "NOOOOO, not another surgery!  I have been here and done this before.  NO MORE.  The Reiki master in me says to take the gentler, kinder approach to my body and search for alternatives.  Surgery is really a violent thing and should be avoided, if possible.

General anesthesia and the constitution of this redhead just don't mix well.  The last time I had surgery, I came out of the anesthesia and wasn't breathing.  I was so drugged that I didn't care.  I saw the ceiling light, and I heard lots of feet rushing my way.  The anesthesiologist was tapping me and telling me to breathe.  I still remember that breath.  It felt like my alveoli had collapsed. Don't ask why I think that, I don't have a good answer.  At any rate, taking that first breath felt like a thousand little fires in my chest.   It was as if each alveolus had heartburn and that acid was burning through my chest.

In the months after that, I had a hard time because I had 'phantom' pain where the excision occurred.  It was a much more emotional experience than I thought it would be.  I spent months going in and out of the doctor's office, and I felt more like one of the doctor's 'herd' than a real person.  I can most definitely avoid being part of that 'herd' again, but in truth, I would rather avoid the whole hospital encounter.  I spent years working in one.  I will leave it at that.

Until next time, the adventure continues!

I miss my sweet dog, Ruby Slippers.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Fear Can Make You Cling to the Strangest Things

I have given lots of thought to the expression in this photo (taken from Facebook, by the way).  Today, I am probably less fearful than I have ever been in my life.  There are people who would say that they've never seen me fearful, but there's a whole level of anxiety for the person who would 'rather go than stay home,' that would rather stay hidden than to be exposed.  Some of you know what I mean.  Step one in shaking off the fear is to adopt Nike's ad campaign and make it part of your life.  You know, just do it.  I have done just that: gone where I wanted to go, did what I wanted to do, and moved where I wanted to move, but somehow I felt compelled to change rather than just floating with the wind.

It was that compulsion to change myself, my life, my circumstances that brought me the the wreck. (Yes, I'm writing about that again!)  It was change I was craving, and it was change I received.  I was just hoping for a little prettier packaging on that.
In reflecting on those moments in the hospital and out of my body (and a little out of my mind, too, for that matter), I realize that I have nothing to fear.  That realization has helped me to let go of ideas, theologies, and belief systems that don't serve me any more.  The dissonant harmonies of conflict are coming to a head and being released.

Now, I'm not afraid of dying.  Being out of my body made me realize that there is more freedom than restriction when the nonphysical aspect of my being is no longer present with the body.  Even more importantly, I'm not afraid to live.  I'm not afraid to seek out knowledge, answers, or just to explore the abstract or the concrete in this grand universe any more.  Recently, I realized that I had some primordial fear of going to hell.  I was 98% sure that I wouldn't be going there, but as my life is way outside the box according to church rules, I had a little residual fear.  Questioning, exploring, and re-evaluating my belief system was fear evoking for me over the last several years.  Living outside the confines of a religious box that I grew to know so well was disconcerting.  However, my relationship with the church has been rather like my relationship with dairy products.  I love them, but they don't really love me back.  Just like Neo in the Matrix, I've chosen my pill, and suddenly nothing is the same (except maybe my waistline).  For those who may be uncomfortable with this kind of talk, God is bigger than the confines of the structure of the church, and he's certainly big enough to handle any question I might have.

And the adventure continues...

Thursday, September 6, 2012

I Chose to Stay

It seems that I have written a lot about my wreck the last few months.  As it was my single most significant life changing event up to this point besides being born, I'm still processing it.  As I think back to my time in the ER, it seems very significant to me that I was standing over my body outside the CT machine cheerleading my 'patient' from death to life.  "Come on, you can make it!  You can live!  You can do this!  Come on honey!" the coaching and coaxing began.

For those of you who know me, you know that I have firmly decided that I should have the letters DNR (Do Not Resuscitate) tattooed on my chest when I'm too old to wear tank tops (Will I ever really be too old for tank tops??).  From being burned out working critical care, I have a steadfast belief that we should allow people to go when their time is up.  Prolonging life is more cruel than it is helpful, most of the time.  Many of you know that in my work, I have seen and sensed the presence of angels as people were passing from this life to the next.  One of the most dramatic instances of a cruelly prolonged life ending with a great band of angels was something I witnessed nearly two years ago.  Poor Karen* was blown up like Harry Potter's aunt Marge her last  few days.  When we stuck her fingers for blood sugars, we didn't get blood anymore, it was serum.  She was on medicine to keep her blood pressure compatible with life, to make her urinate, and everything was breaking down.  I happened to be the nurse on for her last three days, and it seemed that I was the only consistent face that her family had seen.  They made the decision to take her off the ventilator (the cause of her blowing up like Aunt Marge) at the end of my shift, so I clocked out, and I stayed with them.  I turned off the medicines, and the respiratory therapist pulled the ET tube.  Her children went to the waiting room during this time as they didn't want to see her gasping for her last breath.  One family member stayed with me as Karen* breathed her last breath.  I opened the window, and my eyes started tracking a pattern.  The family member asked me, "You see them, don't you?"  I did indeed see them.  By the droves and dozens, angels filled the room.  Karen's* breathing stopped, but her heart rate remained.  I asked her, "What do you need?"  Almost instantly, the answer came to my mind.  I asked the family member to go get her children. Karen* was not going to leave until she said good bye to them.  I faded out of the room while all Karen's* family circled around her until her heart had beat its last.  

*I'm sure you figured out that Karen's name isn't really Karen.

Besides that story being way cool, it is an example of why I believe that prolonging life is normally cruel and unusual punishment.  The general population doesn't talk much about end-of-life care nor do they make decisions until tragedy looks them in the face, for the most part.  However, people who have ever hung out in an ICU talk about such matters frequently, and sometimes very nonchalantly. We have seen the power of the tube, and some of us have decided that some places just weren't meant to be intubated.  That being said, if you had asked me prior to April 1 what I would want for the outcome of the circumstance of my wreck, I would have shouted, "LET ME GO!! PLEEEAAASSSSSSSSEEEE, DO NOT RESCUE ME! I DON'T NEED RESCUING!"

When they found me, I was unconscious.  I thought I was asleep and trying to wake up.  Then, I thought I was dreaming about work.  Then I thought I was at work.  They didn't ask, and they rescued me anyway.  While I was 'at work,' coaching my 'patient' from death to life, I made a choice.  It was in that moment that I chose to continue to be here. In this body. On this planet. You know, to live.  I agreed to be here and do something awesome, at least in the microcosm of my life.  

Since that time, I have stronger family ties, stronger friendship ties, and lots of new people coming into my circle.  While I'm not in Europe anymore, I certainly am still on an adventure.