Overdue

It has taken me some time, lets face it, a long time to come to terms with what I myself as an individual am going through, what I am facing daily as a nurse, and what my co-workers are also facing. With time, death doesn’t become easier, in fact it gets more difficult with each one. The other day I was working with a newer nurse and she said, “I kind of got teary eyed, I have never had patient die, and now yours, this is a first for me.” I responded with, “death should move you, the moment that death doesn’t move you is the moment you need to be concerned.” I shared with her that when I was teaching full-time I always told my students that nursing isn’t just about the “highs” there will be many “lows” as well; and I told them I wanted them to remember this: death is never easy, however death should be and can be one of the most beautiful events in an individuals life if orchestrated correctly. I explained to them that we are the hands and feet that make that happen; we hold the hand, we clean the body, we play music, we do whatever we can to make it peaceful. I said, “as joyous as birth is death should be as well.”

I have had to remind myself of this many times; sometimes it is during a good cry on the way to work, a cry in the shower, or just holding my patients hand and crying and telling them, “it is ok to let go.” With each patient that is in their final stage of passing, I try to find out from family what type of music they like and if I can’t, I try to play peaceful music, something that is calming for the brain and often times it is Amazing Grace. There is something about that song that when it is played, and I sing it to my patient that I feel peace; peace for not only my patient but myself as well.

Many of you may or may not know but I am currently back in the mid-west working in South Dakota! I took the month of December off to emotionally attempt to heal from New York and El Paso before jumping in again (not sure it worked), recovered from Covid-19 for the second time, and the best part of December and being back in the mid-west was seeing my wonderful kiddos again! I have two of the most amazing and intelligent children; always understanding why I am doing what I am doing and more importantly they say, “mommy, the sick people need you.” We (Hans and I, along with Sarah) are blessed as their parents to have such wonderful staff at St. Theodore’s teach them the value of caring for others and putting the needs of others first!

Emmerson (10)
Adelaide (6)

I finished my first semester of Nurse Practitioner school with a 4.0 and and am back at it again! Starting in April I will be doing an Orthopedic internship in Marshall, Minnesota and am very excited to start working with patients!

Many more updates to come, stories from the front line that were to difficult to share previously, and of course sharing about what is currently happening…trust me it isn’t any better now than it was in March! Do not let the news fool you! Please, wear your mask and wash your hands! Much love to each of you!


							

A Nation in Crisis

Short and sweet update…as many of you know I was deployed to El Paso, Texas with less than 15 hours to pack and arrive. Today, due to hot spots popping up all over, at approximately 8pm tonight over 200 of us were moved to another area in Texas (400+miles) away.

Yes, we have just arrived about 30 minutes ago and many are still getting room assignments! We all will be dressed in uniform in roughly 3.5 hours and preparing to board busses to our assigned medical facilities.

Please say some prayers for not only myself but the THOUSANDS of other nurses that are here, deployed, ready to serve with open hearts. Prepare us to show up with smiles, open minds, and mission minded hearts despite all that is going on. We are missing our families and friends, many of us in school, and at this point very sleep deprived!

Gate 35

I got selected yesterday afternoon and had 15 hours to get everything I needed printed, filed, bought, washed, and packed…Happy Birthday to me! I can tell you I am very excited to be heading into any area of our country where there are ZERO beds…patients are in the hallways, dropping like flies, and it is simply not good! You probably are wondering why I am excited; I am excited to make a difference in the lives of others.

Well, here I am at Gate 35and ready to board and depart by 0739 EST. I got selected yesterday and am headed to El Paso, Texas most commonly termed “boot country.” At only two miles from the border of Mexico I am quite excited!

I am being deployed as part of a crisis response team by the Federal Government. We will all be staying as a large group, one large hotel, being transported to and from. Being a crisis contract, we have to be on standby at all times! Needless to say, each of us has our work cut out for us! Not to mention the extreme dry heat!

I will have two weeks of homework completed by the time I land in Texas this afternoon so that I don’t have to worry about anything other than reviewing daily and listening to lecture on repeat. School is going well, although it is not easy and I am humbled by how much I do not know. It is incredibly fun to take my love for learning to a whole new level as I begin to make new connections and have “light bulb” 💡 moments!

I think Gate 35 for American should have my name behind it at this point! Everytime I fly out of Newark….it is from this gate!

Masked up and ready to go!

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Thoughts

As I sat on this gorgeous patio basking in the sun enjoying lunch I was taken back by this structure that was right in front; it was the only thing one sees when sitting outside here at Harlem Hospital aside from the blue skies. As I sat, I wondered why the hospital would leave such an eye sore amidst this beautiful new addition to the hospital? I’ll be honest, I left still contemplating this but felt God had put this on my heart for a reason.

This building, very ugly in nature, full of holes, damaged and broken bricks, but most of all empty spoke to me in ways I had never imagined. I think many of us who have worked on the frontline whether we admit it or not have some suppressed feelings; feelings of emptiness, damaged hearts, and a sense of immense loss.

Daily on the news we see brief snapshots of those who have lost their life to covid-19; we see their face, we hear their story, and we learn about their legacy. As I sit here this morning (4 days after the picture was taken) I am reminded of how quickly life changes; not only for us as humans and individuals, but also as a nation.

I would bet that many of you right now may be feeling unsettled, lost, confused, and clearly just befuddled with what is happening in our communities and throughout the nation. This sense of emptiness is depicted so well by the building above; so many windows for opportunity, change, improvement….yet here we sit crumbling as a nation.

Do not let the media fool you, we still have many covid patients in the hospital here in New York; much like everywhere else our numbers are beginning to rise. Our numbers are rising slowly, but they are rising. How many body bags need to be zipped up?.How many more lives need to be lost for people to quit complaining about wearing a mask.

Wearing a mask is one thing…I invite you to come work the hospital where we wear two masks, face shield, two pairs of gloves, and a gown…oh and the gowns are plastic so when we exit we look like we have taken a shower in our scrubs.

I challenge you during this time of change, this time of tension in our nation to do the RIGHT thing. Don’t worry about what everyone else does, worry about YOU and how YOU can make an impact!

Liz