Fried eggs. That was my brain last weekend. If you know about proteins, you understand that when the heat of the stove denatures them, there’s not re-naturing.
For my brain, that was not a good sign. I had gotten information on my patient, written history, meds care plan, gone to clinical, and was in the middle of writing a patho. Don’t get me wrong, this happens every week, but I’d never been this fried. A few things I’ve come to know more fully:
1. HUMANS NEED SLEEP. Come on people, it’s proven. The bulletin boards in the bathrooms for employees at the hospital always have stats, jokes, charting reminders. I saw one recently that said something to the affect of, “Take care of yourself so you can care for your patients.” It went on to say that 70% of nurses are overweight, 5-10% smoke, only 30-40% exercise daily, 92% arrive to work already tired. The question they always ask in nursing school, “What kind of nurse would you want to have taking care of your mom or grandma?” I’ve decided to do what I have to do- homework, eat, enjoy friends- then sleep so I can take care of your mom, dad, grandpa in my right mind! It’s doable.
2. EMOTIONS ARE FLEETING. My brains were eggs, my heart was fragile. Woke up singing, dressed with a smile, said my first word to someone and for some reason I was overwhelmingly upset. What do you do? I’m not trying to be a baby, in fact I’m trying not to. Well, self-assess. The first lecture in every nursing class is STRESS. Heart rate and BP up, GI activity down, awareness and alertness heightened, blood shunted to the core, cortisol, epinephrine and norepi. The bigger picture: what stresses one person may not stress another and that stress affects all bodily functions. As nurses we care for patient under stress by giving them back control, from letting a patient brush his own teeth to listening to his concerns and preferences. I am reminded that stress if very real, but that emotions are also fleeting and must be placed in our hearts under the sovereignty of God. Somehow it surprises me every time that God replaces stress and mood swings with peace and order. That is why I am joyfully His. Galatians 5 says the fruit of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Self-control. Not fruit of my efforts, fruit of the spirit working in me, by grace through faith for His glory.
3. PEOPLE NEED SOME CONSTANT ANCHOR, SOME PURPOSE FOR OUR SANITY. What gets you out of bed in the mornings? Dad told me about what Gramma Essie told him, “If it weren’t for Jesus, I couldn’t get out of bed in the morning.” Wow. Talk about an anchor for your soul, a purpose for your day. Because when this life is stripped to the core, what is there to wake up for? The creator of the universe painting the morning sky, the one who has been faithfully provided for us since the beginning, calling his people to live in the light and share the truth. That’s really living, really waking up. He is my anchor, my purpose, my joy and I need Him to remind me of these things when my brains are fried and I’m as fragile as that shell on the outside.
“On Christ the solid rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand”