28 November 2012

The Uncertainty of Life

Wow...what a day; I don’t even know where to begin! Insane does not even begin to do justice the crazy reality of today; never in my life have I experienced or even anticipated experiencing such a day as this! So now that I’ve increased your curiosity or I at least hope to have done so, here is an overview of a day I never hope to repeat.

Well, ever since I first laid eyes on the syllabus for my first fundamental nursing class, anxiety gripped my heart at the sight of a complete head to toe assessment requirement; I expected it to be intense but despite my worst nightmare, intense is not the word to define this experience. In order to pass, every pulse, lymph node and valve in the body must be memorized as well as each of the twelve cranial nerves and how to assess the multitude of nerves’ solitary intactness and countless other techniques. When my partner and I originally signed up, we were scheduled for 9:30 AM but today, despite the fact I arrived early to lab, waited nearly two hours merely to be let in; the assessments were running ridiculously behind due to the extensive three page list of requirements merely to pass. According to various sources, this was the first time a head to toe assessment included such complicatedly numerous aspects; in fact, half of the things we were required to do/assess they’d never even heard of—just my luck! Once my trembling feet entered the nursing lab, the atmosphere of chaos impressed itself upon me; nothing was going as planned and frustration radiated throughout the room. After being assessed by my partner and discovering I am in perfect health (despite the consuming stress), the moment I’d been dreading for months arrived: alone in a room with an instructor and forced to single-handedly perform a complete head to toe assessment in an orderly fashion while being prepared to answer any questions thrown to divert my path. Despite the fact my mind was relentlessly racing and gripped with anxiety, I climbed the mountain once thought to be insurmountable, solely by the power and grace of God; endless days spent studying could not prepare me for such a chaotic if not traumatic experience. My assessment may not have flowed but I didn’t forget anything, which would have been my worst nightmare, requiring a second chance. To be honest, I am still shaking from the oppressing anxiety; words cannot even begin to describe the chaos of today!

As soon as I’d finished documenting my partner/patient’s objective as well as subjective data and coming up with a nursing diagnosis for her condition, I literally ran over to the library and up the stairs to the AIDS/HIV booth I’d promised to run; originally, I’d signed up for 11 AM to 12 PM but a severely delayed assessment prohibited this from being feasible. Once I settled down, surrounded by condoms and AIDS literature which was a definite first as well as stretch for my sheltered mind, students seemed to come out of the woodwork for testing. Once the rush died down, with not a single person in line, the nurse persuaded me to be tested, even though I knew my chances of having AIDS were slim-to-none—it’s difficult to be infected with AIDS if you’ve never had sex, to put it bluntly. I realized here that it wasn’t the testing necessarily that God wanted me to have done but merely to encourage and bond with a fellow nurse, no matter what her age; as a nurse, you never stop learning and the advice of elders is essential to improvement and overcoming barriers. Despite the fact she took my blood, I consider her my friend as well as role model; this vivacious elder was undoubtedly an inspiration to my skeptic heart, convincing me once again that nursing is my calling—no matter how many times I relentlessly try to run away. Once the results of my test were processed, I was informed to be HIV negative—shocker!

Oh, and I must add that it was also a first to sit and have a “normal” conversation with a professor and one with a Doctorate in Biology I might add—I felt quite honored; a great reason I chose the Stark campus was due to its small population and close-knit interactions due to my relational core. In the middle of a discussion with my professor as we ran the booth, an older man stormed up to us, raging with hatred and fire in his eyes, yelling “This is a fraud” as well as threatening our safety. In all honesty, as he screamed accusations our way, I sat in my seat and laughed, overtaken by the naivety as well as total insanity; never in my life have I witnessed such a confrontation as this! The professor let the man, who I am convinced to be insane or at least mentally unstable, “know whose boss” as well as called security to hopefully rid us of his disturbing presence which had created quite a scene! The man stormed to the other side of the room, only to appear moments later, convinced we’d killed his friend by medication administered to treat his immune system suppressed by AIDS; although I never said anything, I am still convinced that the medication is not what killed him but AIDS itself, so I had to laugh once again at the irony of the whole situation! Once the disturbed man started to “get up in my face”, a man who I am sure to be an angel sent from God to protect me physically stepped in to push the psychopath away, only to be reinforced by the much anticipated security guard, armed and ready to protect—finally my traumatized heart could find rest, if only for a brief moment. One thing is for sure—today is one I will never forget, no matter how hard I may try! 

11 November 2012

Beauty Amidst Absolute Chaos

Last week is over and I am still alive—how is that possible? At times I felt as if I’d spontaneously combust from stress overload. Last week was one of the busiest of my entire life: three tests, one nursing lab simulation, volunteering, working, a five-page essay and last of all, teaching (yes, I did say teaching) one of my nursing classes. Honestly, as much as I fight against and deny it, speaking comes naturally, leaving me at ease in front of a crowd when it comes time to “do my thing”; the time leading up to it is not so easy, leaving me feeling as if I could collapse. Ever since first grade I informed God I would have absolutely nothing to do with teaching since endless scars camouflaged my fragile and overlooked soul as well as body; school as well as the medical field personified the essence of hell in my relentlessly wounded mind, bringing to the surface wounds too abominable for this world to ever know. Once I surrendered the little I have to the God of the Universe, nursing evolved into my undeniable passion and now the same may be true for teaching, as much as I hate the thought of it. I’ve never thought I have what it takes to be a teacher but as I was sitting in church today, I was overcome with a calling to equip future nurses with the tools they need to be successful in nursing school and eventually nursing as a career; as I go through college my eyes are opened to the laziness and absolute selfishness surrounding me and I cannot help but feel unfalteringly disgusted. Nursing is to some people merely a good-paying job with disregard to the impact of each client interaction; nothing has become more stressed than the concept of impatience and unaltered selfishness. My heart raging with disgust is furious because nursing is not merely a job but a passion and commitment to forever change lives in an absolutely positive way—the patients’ lives are literally in our humanly imperfect hands and this is nothing to take lightly. Patients don’t exactly want to be stuck in the hospital, at least most, so we as nurses need to encourage as well as teach; nursing is about influence and living by example. Caring is the essence of nursing—the core of its endless identity. Selflessness rather than selfishness is the key to satisfaction—the very essence of servant-hood of which we were created.  I long, above all, to allow God to change and “beautify” this crooked and depraved world through my mere existence and I wholeheartedly believe it is possible—God’s love never fails so what better place to start? If teaching is part of God’s plan for this beautifying process, than I will take up my cross and follow Him in absolute surrender and brokenness. I truly believe with all of my wounded heart that God’s love never fails because I am a living example; this world desperately needs this incomprehensive and unfailing love, so what are we as disciples waiting for? As TJ, my childhood and present role model, would say, “Let’s give it all we got”.

Now, for all of you who are wondering how my first college teaching experience went, here is the story and let me warn you—it’s not so pretty! At the beginning of the year we were split into groups of three and assigned a topic to teach and spend the whole class period on; my group was assigned “Teamwork/Group Process and Development/Facilitating Group Discussions”. We’d been preparing for weeks on end and the day before our presentation one group member informed us she hadn’t done her part but in fact decided to go out on a limb by piecing together bits and pieces of a jumbled mess—it was pure and utter chaos to say the least! Even though my other partner and I had done our part and were all prepared, we had to completely change everything the night before because the other person wasn’t willing to cooperate to put it bluntly. We were literally sitting on the bookstore’s floor, in the middle of Kent State clothing and memorabilia, desperately trying to figure out how to make this monstrosity work. My one willing partner than later came over to my house so we could at least attempt to smooth over this monumental disaster, despite the fact we were missing the most crucial part: the information that was “set in stone”, unwilling to be altered by the one who caused this mess. The power point I’d worked endless hours perfecting had to be torn apart and reconstructed from basically nothing in a matter of hours. Two speeches were ripped to shreds and completely reconstructed in less than five hours while one remained unknown yet absolutely untouched. My body kept screaming “Sleep, I need sleep!” but was silenced by the effects of coffee—my lifeline. Finally, after reaching a conclusion that we were getting nowhere and needed to be able to function at seven o’clock—merely six hours away—we called it quits and allowed our brains to recharge. Seven o’clock AM came way too fast but in all honesty, I just wanted to get this nightmare over-with before I spontaneously combusted. The entire time I felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off but tried to remain at least remotely functioning (I do not like feeling unprepared in any essence). The only positive thing that came to mind was my cute outfit I’d prepared—the one thing I had absolute control over; since we were required to appear professional and dressed up (we were actually graded on this), I had to come up with a new look of which was absolutely foreign to me: how on earth could I be a professional yet still fashionable, remaining true to my identity? I bought a pair of dark grey dress pants (yes, my very first time wearing such a thing) to pair with a black sheer button down blouse, black chunky sequined belt, silver sparkly pumps (high heels), black sequined infinity scarf, a black and silver flower and of course...color—a hot pink camisole to shine through my boring, black top. Walking into college was quite a trip; the wind nearly blew me off my high-heeled feet, reminding me of why I rarely wear such things: I remain a victim, unable to run away or even walk fast which is my worst nightmare. Minutes before our seminar was to begin, the coffee came into effect and I had to rush to the bathroom; my only choice to do this fast was to run barefoot through the halls (which I would prefer to do every day), so I took off my “chains” and sprinted for the door, nearly taking out one of my own classmates but for today my student—way to start off an already chaotic day! I miraculously arrived before eight o’clock AM, when we were scheduled to begin, attempting to appear “put together” and disguise the fact I had no idea what I was doing. Being the last person to speak just very well may be the worst possible feeling as I was forced to remain calm all-the-while increasingly freaking out about the speech I’d never gotten a chance to recite. Once my turn arrived, a sense of peace overcame me (undeniably the peace and confidence of God) and the rest is history; God took my absolute brokenness and shame, turning it into undeniable beauty. Once the much-anticipated nightmare was over, I was free to go home and do what my aching body desired most—sleep, only to be awakened to study for two tests the next day. Yes, my life is in fact insane but I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I trust that putting myself last, forsaking competitive exercise and sports—my one love and past identity, will be worth it, even though I hate every second lost! Since my first teaching experience is finished, I’ve had time to get my head back in place, as well as my belongings (I cannot function properly in a chaotic, messy, and unorganized  atmosphere) and even slightly relax—a foreign yet much appreciated feeling!

Despite this previous chaos, I discovered a new talent of which I once thought completely out of reach: teaching. Organization and technology remain two things I cannot live without (or at least not for long) as well as learning and research—the very things required to be a Nursing Professor. If God calls me there, I am no longer unwilling but whole-heartedly surrendered. 

03 November 2012


The world is violently crashing down into the pit of destruction yet I am in absolute denial; I don’t want to admit to the reality staring me straight in the face because my heart is consumed by beautyonly hoping what I see surrounding me isn't true. Today, I was reminded of what a minority I truly am; whole-hearted Christians are one of the rarest commodities in this decrepit world. God was right when He said those who follow Him will not be exempt from trials but in fact will be subjected to a lifetime of persecution; the world may not approve but we are not oneI am called to be separate, “letting my light shine before all men”. College is filled with an atmosphere of alcohol, tobacco and swearing, to name a few, yet I am to walk beyond these annihilating daggers, accepting the rejection and criticism as an encapsulated honor. ““You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom” (Matthew 5:10).  “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you.  If they persecuted me, they will persecute you” (John 15:18-20).

Gratefulness can disintegrate in the blink of an eye, only to be replaced with the disease of greed manifested from the seed of pride. The sinful nature within me has taken over as I have been fighting with God; the future He has called me to seems far beyond reach as well as utterly exhausting—honestly, all I have time to do is study yet I feel as if I know absolutely nothing. Miss Perfectionist has been rearing her ugly head as a 4.0 is no longer a reality despite countless hours of study as well as forsaking the essence of my identity.  As seemingly everyone is getting engaged, my selfish heart is filled with self-pity and a child-like dream of planning my very own wedding but then reality hits, reminding me of the numerous assignments due the next day. As much as I attempt to block out reality, the truth still remains that this battle is not mine to fight but the Lord’s; His plan has already been determined and it is far beyond beautiful, despite my overwhelming doubts. At times I want to run away—to make this nightmare disappear only to be replaced with unaltered selfishness; I know that the end will be worth it, as everyone tells me, but why can’t I believe it without a shadow of a doubt? I’m scared to death for clinical next semester because I am but a guinea pig—I have the least hours completed (I've only been in college slightly over a year, earning 39 credit hours), leaving me to choose from the leftovers. Everyone is in it for themselves and competition is brutal; the only option for clinical was the most despised professor and nearly every class I needed was taken—it’s discouraging to be cast aside, so to speak, leaving me feeling absolutely unlovely and unworthy.  “Beloved, do not be surprised at the fiery trial when it comes upon you to test you, as though something strange were happening to you. But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed” (1 Peter 4:12–13). I wonder who truly has my well-being in mind after being taken advantage of countless times; who can I trust? I know that person is God alone, but a part of me hesitates because I don’t see the potential beauty—I only see the countless hours of tears, sweat and pain remaining.

God, to be faultlessly honest, at this moment I hate Your plan; I hate how time is nonexistent and homework only keeps piling up and knowledge nowhere to be found—confidence disintegrating along with it. I have absolutely no idea what I am doing and this territory is absolutely untouched and treacherous; I don’t know how much longer my feeble legs will sustain my wounded essence. I want to trust You but I’m afraid—afraid it won’t be worth it. I know this sounds ridiculous but I truly am terrified, feeling as if a Great White Shark is five inches from my face, with its mouth wide open and ready to effortlessly decapitate me. Give me patience to wait on You, even when the impatience of my soul takes over. I know that You love me, but why? I am a mess and wholly unworthy nonetheless unlovely; I have bruises and scars camouflaging my existence yet You see me as flawless—how can that be? God, the taunts and persecution of those surrounding me burns through my flesh and bone and a part of me wonders why it is worth it—please remind me of the promises You have made to my very own soul. Blind my eyes so that only You remain; wholly separate me from this eroding and decrepit world. Give me strength to be a witness everywhere I go—let me look like love far beyond earthly comprehension. Shield my heart from the hater of my soul. Give me unwavering faith. Fill me with knowledge when it seems to evaporate—I put my trust in You alone.

As I prepare for teaching Nursing class next week, doubts and lies flood my exceedingly vulnerable mind. Ironically, my topic is on Patient Safety which is at the exact opposite of the spectrum I embraced as a wounded childsafety was the absolute last of my worries. I am once again reminded of how far from comfort God has called mea life embracing the opposite of all I’d once lived for. As I look in the mirror, a wounded and forsaken little girl stares back at me, fear consuming her eyes as she was convinced she’d never be safea girl who had to fend for herself in a world seeking to destroy her innocence. Once her innocence was heartlessly stolen from her fragile and delicate hands, this little girl remained consistently on edgeeach touch sending daggers through her overlooked heart, convincing her she'd never be worthy of love. I see a girl hiding in the corner of her closet, with not but a glimpse of light, merely trying to escape from a reality of pain she seemed to be destined for. I hear the piercing screams radiating from the depths of her lifeless soulscreams she couldn't force out of her mouth. I see a young girl so consumed by shame of what was being done to her that it became the very core of her existence. I am reminded of her significant lack of trust because those she’d once trusted most failed to see her heart. I see a hideous scar running down my backa scar which will always remain no matter how hard I try to hide it. I see this same little girl residing within these scars and picture her as everything she’d once depended on was ruthlessly stolen, including her very identity. I see a girl so inhumanly overlooked that it eventually became expected. When her heart was shattered into billions of pieces, she had to find the strength to move on without letting anyone even suspect anything was wrong. Pain was the one constant when the world surrounding came violently crashing down.