Friday, February 17, 2012

My Right Brain

I was not a noteworthy student when I was younger.  The trilogy of sassy mouth, undiagnosed ADHD and Catholic school yielded a lot of "needs to improve" report cards.  Math and Science were unbearable, English no fun because the nuns did not appreciate the candor in my stories.  "Why can't you just follow directions?" my Dad would beg me.  "Because it's boring and  it doesn't make me laugh." was my response.  "If you just try, you would get this." Dad would say as the numbers did the conga on the paper in front of me, trapped helplessly between my drawings of evil nuns and mermaids happily swimming in an ocean free of algebra.

Traditional school.  It's not for everyone.

When the screws were applied and tightened as I entered my nursing school prerequisites, I stepped up.  Repeating essentially every math and science class I did poorly in during high school was something I can remember like it was yesterday.  Tears splotching my algebra homework as Bill sat across from me at our kitchen table with the patience of a saint; trying to help me understand as the numbers did the conga between drawings of the dream garden I wanted to make someday and baby name ideas for the little person growing inside my belly.  Even in college, I couldn't stop my pencil from straying to the margins and sketching my dreams.

The fact that I graduated in the top 10 of my nursing class told me that I did have it in me to succeed in school.  The idea of more math, science, and God help me; management classes told me that I would be perfectly content without a Masters or even a Bachelors in Nursing.   There's a reason they hire Diploma nurses, and it's because we hit the ground running and  kick ass on the floor, always.  I will never be ashamed of not having 13 acronyms after my name, and am often skeptical of the nurses that do.  In a crisis, give me a fellow RN that knows her stuff, not someone that can spew theory while a patient dies in front of them.

Which brings me here.

To the blank screen begging to be filled with my beloved words and ideas and freestyle grammar.  My love of writing is quickly becoming a necessity as I struggle to find meaning in nursing circa Obamacare, 2012.  I want, no, I crave a place that lets me unload and empty all the thoughts that act like conga numbers in my head.  This is my margin.  My sketch pad.  My happy place.

My friend Moe did not sparkle on the academic front in high school either.  She took the road less traveled and went to the College for Creative Studies in Detroit.  My dream college.  Together we share a love of creativity, art and all the things the Right Brain handles.  Melissa is far, far more advanced than I in the art world, having built her own photography business with a loyal following for the last 13 years.

Melissa has a successful career, but last year, she had an epiphany.  She did some searching and stripped her soul down to the core and decided that Professional photography was not all she wanted to accomplish in life. As a result she took a sabbatical from her business and is now experimenting in all things art to find a new passion.  To say I am envious is an understatement, but I have learned that you can be envious and still love someone at the same time, so I rejoice with her over every "a-ha moment" and laugh with her over every failure.  She is sketching in her margins, too.  I have no doubt that she will end up in a better place.

I love to make jewelry, and a few years back I made a lot of it.  That is, until people pissed me off and I stopped.  Making and re-making something 5 times over because someone couldn't articulate what they wanted frustrated the hell out of me, and even worse, making a custom order of something I loathed gave me a pounding headache.  People thinking I would repair things they broke for free (even if I hadn't made it) sent me over the edge completely, and I packed all my stuff away. Last  summer my industrious husband took my box of sterling findings and beads to the "cash for silver" place and netted over a grand, while I fretted that my jewelry days would never come back.  I missed my right brain activities.

My garden, taking and editing pictures, redecorating my home, and Pinterest inspired projects comfort me while I struggle to find my place in the grown up world.   My birthday trip to the Detroit Institute of Arts inspired me to keep searching until I find the things that satisfy the creative bones in my body.  My friend's gift of the Voodoo doll above that has "magical powers to inspire creativity" made me smile and promise myself not to give up on my dream of being a published writer.  And last night, as I made a resin pendant in a jewelry workshop with Melissa, I realized that there is a great big world of untapped art that I need to experience.  In the workshop, they encouraged you to make a small charm called a Patera using a word from a transfer sheet.  I mentally disposed of "love" "dream" "wish" and, with a nod to the nuns who wanted me to "just conform", chose this:

I then laughed to myself as I thought of the million things I wanted to  put in one of these pendants as I sat there faced with the limited paper and transfers offered to us.  I realized at the moment that I am not done with jewelry after all.

Nursing is an art, I truly believe that.  Once I struggled through the equations and Kreb's cycle and acid-base balances of a blood gas,  I shelved them and concentrated on the part that involves caring, inspiring, teaching and love.  This is an art I will never fully leave, but one that I need to back away from for a bit to make room for the things that will make me whole.

I love my right brain.  I rely on Bill for the left brain stuff, so I am essentially all set.  Now I just need to find my path, one little step at a time.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Lexicon of Lottery - A gift for Disgruntled Nurses

I began to write a post a couple nights ago that I was just loving. Halfway through, I ran it by Bill, my go-to person on all things I just love because he has the gift of gently acknowledging my shortcomings.  My beloved post was given the thumbs down for publication.

And I was pissed.

God forbid, I wrote about work. Even without giving specifics, naming names or suggesting diagnosis, I was advised  warned I shouldn't post it for fear of "losing your damn job".

Ya'll will have to sit on pins and needles until I hit the lotto and can write all I want about the mayhem and foolishness I've seen in my career.  Do you ever do that? Daydream about hitting the lotto and what you would do when it happened?  Ask any nurse what their plans include, and I bet the number one answer would be: quit my job.  I know that's mine.  But we are funny, we nurses.  After we took a vacation, drank to excess and found a home where we could live like hermits we would still find a way to take care of people.  Because that's just how we are.  We truly love people, it's just that we're wired to take only so much before our brains explode.  After which Environmental "Services", being union, would remind everyone that cleaning up nurse grey matter is not in their contract.  Because that's how they are.

I would still take care of people, rest assured.  And if I ever do hit the lotto I would take care of people I choose in the following ways:

The Kim's So Tired Hotel for Exhausted Night Shift Nurses

Overworked? Underpaid? Haven't experienced REM sleep since 1992?  Then step into a world of magical bliss, where you're greeted with adult beverages served by muscular, shirtless male models who tell you how pretty you are.  Step into a steaming hot tub with Barry White crooning over the bumping Bose sound system.  Relax while the Xanax mist envelopes you, encouraging your weary brain not to give a rat's ass about your employer's latest shenanigans.  Wrap up in a soft fluffy robe then take to your bed dressed in 800 thread count sheets and down comforters.  Be sure to eat the chocolate dipped Ativan on your pillow before you fall into 12 hours of dreamless heavenly slumber in your sound proof sleeping chamber.  When you awaken, you'll feast on the finest chocolate croissants and all you can eat bacon in the garden room, where no one is allowed to speak until three cups of coffee have been consumed.  A foot massage is mandatory before you step off into another day of spirit breaking abuse.  

To qualify for your free stay, you must be a non-administrative patient caregiver who has been called a bitch, slut or whore at least six times in the last week.  Being bitten, punched or spit on by drunk/stoned/off their meds "clients" allows you an automatic upgrade to the Penthouse, where medical marijuana is at your disposal and a candlelight massage is offered every hour on the hour.

The Jerry Springer Green Room

Dealing with a family of hysterical red necks?  Have three or more visitors in pajama pants and braless camisoles?  Tattoo to tooth ratio of 3:1 or better?  Nurse Kim has you covered!  Throw the whole crowd into the Jerry Springer Green room; a soundproof, padded arena equipped with a steel cage and burly WWE wannabes to control that hot mess.  Pretend cameras are mounted on the ceilings to give occupants the sensation of being on reality television that they crave. Full sugar sodas and Little Debbie products are provided for your ill behaved, unvaccinated children's snacking needs. We'll even wash their nicotine  infused coats for free before they go back to the home where "we only smoke outside". 

Ready for discharge? Our purple windowless van transports everyone back to the double wide.  Free Nascar or Nickleback tank tops to the first 20 visitors every Friday.

 The Jerry Springer Green Room's mission is to free medical staff from the throes of family drama so you can safely remove wallet chains, eagle necklaces and "Badass Beer" encrusted belt buckles in the tranquil environment you deserve.

The Nana Brown Home for the Aged

Welcome Seniors to the Nana Brown Memorial Home for the Aged.  Our staff has been hand picked by a professional lackey granddaughter. Here you will find geriatric loving, English speaking nurses with functioning brain cells who truly enjoy caring for you and your repetitive requests.
In our happy, spacious building you will find a swimming pool for water aerobics (ornate flowery swim caps provided and encouraged), shuffle board, Canasta tables, rental dogs for you to cuddle, rental grandchildren to give hard candy to, and a beauty salon for those all important Thursday wash and sets.  Daily bathing is provided and dentures are clearly labeled at night to prevent those awkward exchange mishaps. Pedicures available to male residents who sign a contract stating they will never get one in a public venue again.  Font on all reading material is set at 32 and continuous loops of the Price Is Right and Murder, She Wrote are shown in our ampitheatre. 

Our 9pm snack of ice cream with Ambien sprinkles is mandatory and your Craftmatic Adjustable Bed will be cranked up or down upon your arrival.  Daily lectures include:  Prevent the Beetus by Wilfred Brimley and You Too Can Live Like a Princess After 90 by the world famous Nana Brown. 

To qualify for admission, the approval board must meet your family and you must be willing to excommunicate them if we find them unsavory.  No bitter old ladies or dirty old men need apply.

Kim's Respite Center for Freaked Out Moms

Thought you could do it all?  Realize you can't?  Need a stroller free trip to Target?  Looking for more than a desperate three minute grope session with The Man before that kid needs something again?

The Mommy Respite Center is at the ready to help you get your groove back.  Toss that screaming child into the arms of loving, hearing impaired women who were gypped out of grandchildren of their own.  Shop Target in peace while our pseudo grandmas rock and spoil your baby in a serene setting free of Baby Einstein videos and overstimulation.  Our staff of retired NICU nurses are screened and experienced in the latest soothing techniques and will not judge you for being unable to breastfeed.  Two, six and twelve hour stays available with priority appointments for women who sucked it up and didn't schedule "me time" in the first year of life.  You'll come back for that baby rested, rejuvenated and beaming in post coital bliss.  Try us today! 

Yup.  Those things right there.  The above are all things near and dear to my heart and how I wish I could make them happen.  That would be my dream job - professional philanthropist.  And I wouldn't fire myself for writing about it, either. 

I feel better just thinking about it.