Monday, April 23, 2012

The Saddest Thing I Ever Saw

I've been a CNA for about 5 years, and in that time I have seen some pretty interesting things. Everything on every spot on the spectrum and it has been an incredible learning experience. I think back on all the things that I have seen people go through, and all the things that I have done as a part of that. Right now I do something that most people would think would be the saddest. One of my jobs working in Labor and Delivery is to help with the demised and expired babies from our floor and sometimes from the NICU. But I can honestly say that this is one of the most rewarding parts of my job and it can sometimes be very difficult. I don't count this as the saddest though. My faith and belief in an afterlife brings me much peace and perspective that allows me to deal with this better than most. I understand and fully expect my perspective on death and childbirth to change dramatically when it comes time for me to go through these things myself.

But I think the saddest thing I ever saw happened while I was working on a Cardiac floor. We helped people prepare and recover from "small" procedures. One day this gentleman probably in his mid 50s came in to have his heart looked at, and his wife came with him. The procedure took about as long as expected, and the patient came back loopy from his procedure, and a few minutes after the patient arrived, so did the doctor. The procedure had taken such a short amount of time, because the damage to his heart was so extensive that they couldn't do anything about it in the cath lab. They would have to do the repair in a long open heart surgery that would entail at least a triple bypass. Unless he made dramatic changes in his diet and activity level and was compliant in taking his medications, even this fix wouldn't last very long. The doctor expressed his surprise at finding this much damage and explained that the symptoms that this would have caused should have brought him in for this procedure years ago. His life expectancy didn't look good, even if the heart surgery was successful, unless he made changes. Usually they schedule open heart surgeries for later in the week after one of these procedures. His was to be scheduled for that same afternoon.

Of course, his wife was in tears. Perhaps it was the medications that he had received for his procedure, but the patient seemed to take this information almost like it was old news. His children came, when they heard the news and they crowded around his bed to talk about the options and what the next few weeks would look like. Before he was moved from our unit, I went in to record some vital signs, and as I was taking his blood pressure he grabbed my wrist and looked at me and said "You look like a nice girl. Would you get me a nice big cheeseburger and a milk shake from the cafeteria. No one will run to McDonalds for me."

I was too shocked to answer. Here this man had just been told his eating and activity habits were killing him, and I was struck with the realization that food can be just as addicting as smoking or cocaine. His situation was no different from an elicit drug overdose, and he and his family were paying the price. I looked at his wife who's face looked just like the shock I felt. I'm sure I must have mumbled something about not eating before surgery before she started crying again and asking him desperately if his life was worth a cheeseburger. The most sad, selfish, and pitiful thing I ever saw was a man throwing away his good life, his wife and family, because he lacked the motivation to make healthy decisions for himself.

In Labor and Delivery I see people at their strongest. Individuals doing things they thought they could never do, their lives changing forever. I get to watch people overcome excruciating pain, both physical and emotional. People becoming parents for the 1st, 2nd or 10th time. Every day, whither there has been a vigorous gurgulling cry or a stillbirth, people leave these halls changed. Stronger. A new life ahead of them full of new challenges and experiences. I love being a part of every bit of it.

Friday, April 20, 2012

As Sisters

Okay okay.... Kind of feeling mama bear tonight. I'm not a mother, but I work with mothers every day, most of my best friends are mothers, and I have the best mother one could ever ask for. I can see what they go through, and let me tell you it is hard enough without other mothers telling them that they are horrid parents. But, unfourtunatly, that is what happens. Mothers looking down on other mothers for their choices.

Shouldn't we be supporting loving helping and otherwise lifting up our fellow women, and not to mention men? Don't get me wrong, I am really enjoying parts of this "go natural" movement. I think people can come to some really cool conclusions when we think about how and why God made us and our world the way He did, and here is what I believe about that.

1) While we are made in God's image and will someday have perfect immortal bodies like His, our bodies now are not perfect. They aren't meant to be and that is really okay.
2) There are a few things that make us like God. Those are the powers to create life and take it away, and the power to choose. I strongly believe, a long with many of my LDS friends, that being born was totally a choice. We knew for the most part what we were getting ourselves into.
and 3) If you are nothing else in your life, at least be kind. This is the most important thing we can do not only for ourselves, but for those around us.

So, my question is, ESPECIALLY in dominantly Christian communities, where do you get off belittling any one elses choices? This weird idea that the "natural" community has that if you just get someone to read enough research they will reach the same conclusions as you is total ignorance. I know plenty of people who have researched and participated in caesarian sections, circumcision, toothpaste, vitamins, cloth diapers, public schools, home schooling, EVERYTHING, and they have come up with their own choices and they and their families are doing fantastically.

So the next time you think about saying something like "I love my children so I refuse to hold a job" think about your sister in arms sitting right next to you who needs to work her full time job to feed her family. "Circumcision is disgusting and is abuse" to your sweet and wonderful husband or his mother. Do you really think that these things open up constructive disscussions? You aren't going to convince anyone you are right if you present it as "my way is the only good way."

I strongly believe that we could all get a lot of good from a little "tongue holding." We never NEVER never know what someone is going through or what their circumstances are, so keep even the potentially belittling comments to yourself. What your sisters need isn't pictures of the "Foreskin Man", botched surgeries, or our own pile of scientific journals or (a longer list of) bloggs from individuals with strongly worded opinions.

What our sisters need is a hand to help, a heart to love, and a shoulder to cry on. You can keep your own "all natural propoganda" if that is what helps you sleep at night, but please, be considerate. Be kind. It is not our place to judge. That is God's arena and it is evidence of a lack of faith in Him if we judge our fellow men and women.