Sunday, May 18, 2003

Work has been really awesome. I've been doing lots of reading about perspectives of death and dying and hospice. Not to sound morbid, but it's absolutely fascinating. There is a lot of spirituality involved, and in much of the literature, it is simply stated as fact that patients who are suffering spiritually will hold on, despite their physical shutting down, until their spiritual crisis is resolved.

I really like the philosophy of the company I'm working for. I guess you have to be centered and focused, philosophical and spiritual when you are surrounded by dying, pain and suffering. Somehow you have to make sure that you're doing the best you can. To do this job half assed can be devastating for patients and their families, not to mention yourself. The greatest part of the job is the autonomy I get to practice- I get to practice new and creative ways in dealing with and communicating to the patients and their families. Also, to find creative ways to get the patients and family the care and supplies they need. The main complaint, as in many home care situations is the massive amounts of paperwork. But I do like to write, and I've been encouraged that if I find the office isn't the place to let the paperwork juju flow, then I can take it home. I'm salaried for 8 hours a day, and not all of that will be in patients homes and in the office.

I just finished reading Margaret Edson's play, Wit, which was made into a movie starring Emma Thompson. I tend to like reading plays as opposed to seeing them live, because each actor and director has their own perception of the characters. For me, my favorite character was Jason, the oncology fellow. I read him as a vulnerable, somewhat befuddled person, not a typical pompous asshole doctor. He's been taught to do one task, research cancer, and has made it his life's work. The research fascinates him, and you can tell he loves what he does in one monologue, but it's obvious his motivation is off-kilter. He has no bedside manner, nor cares to develop one, simply because it's not in the cards as a researcher. In the end, faced with a decision to let fate take over his patient, he finds himself doing something horrible to a person in order to salvage his "research." Upon realizing his mistake, the devastation he exudes is palpable and gut-wrenching. (Not wanting to give away the ending- I encourage you to read it!) I also picked up two books that were highly recommended: On Death and Dying by Kubler-Ross (the four stages of grief guru) and Final Gifts.

On Tuesday, I traveled to Va Beach to train with a bigger branch of the company. It was so amazing, and I am so excited to get up each day and go to work. I knew that I was in the right place when I could sit with the patients, touch them, be with their families. Plus, it was the beach, and it's just so hard to be uptight and stressed at the beach. So the combination allowed for a great learning experience.

Friday, May 09, 2003

Yesterday I was given a very special opportunity that I could not refuse.

It started out as an ordinary day in a seemingly hopeless job search, looking for something that I would enjoy. I had planned two things that day: 1) meet with Better Half's lifeguarding boss to see if I could snag some hours 2) Going to an RN Open House at a Home Health and Home Hospice Care agency. Visit #1 went well. She was ready to place me at a pool with minimal little people and low stress, although something inside me made me tell her to not count me in just yet. I made it clear I was still searching for a nursing position. She understood, and I left to go to visit #2.

The Home Care agency hosting the open house is right near my house, almost next door to the breeder who gave us our dog, Topper. Immediately, I met Chris, the HR rep, who quickly ushered me back to the kitchen for a Week of The Nurse celebration. Chris looked over my resume, and told me there was a full-time home hospice position open. She left, and soon I met LaDonne, who was the Hospice Nurse Coordinator. We chatted for a bit, with me still clueless as to what was going on. I felt so at ease in that office, I was jabbering like a monkey. Soon I met Tim, a nondenominational chaplain with a Buddhist training, and the volunteer coordinator, whose name escapes me now. Anyway, the next thing I knew, I had two formal interviews with LaDonne and the other HR rep, and then Chris came back and made me a job offer! I called Gayle and Vicki, my former managers, to see if they would supply references, and Gayle reassured me that I would be a great hospice nurse. LaDonne gave me a big hug and they took me into the orientation going on and annouced they had hired me. I felt like I was the winner of the Ms. USA Pageant. I can't believe what I am going to get to do. I get to help dying patients in their homes. I get to have the privilage of helping people escape pain and suffering. I am so excited. I got the confirmation call today, and I start on Monday. I have so much to do before then!

Wednesday, May 07, 2003

Okay, your first assignment for this blog entry is to read this article. Go ahead, I'll wait.

You done? Okay.

I am reminded of a George Carlin quote: "Kids are like any other section of the population: a few winners, a whole lot of losers."

These kids are all losers. Every last one of them. Unfortunately, I have a feeling this tape will be scrutenized all over the major news networks. And I have a feeling that those responsible will not get what they deserve, because their parents are rich and can afford lawyers. "Not my child!" will be the battlecry. And I have a feeling the same amount of coverage would not be given to this tape if it was a group of African American, Hispanic, Latino, or any other minority- the phrase"shocking hazing ritual" would be replaced with, "another incident of gang violence," despite not being gang-related.

The only thing that will shock me is if someone learns a lesson from this.

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