Saturday, September 12, 2009
debriefing from my blue trauma funk
Ever had one of those days where you typed up your post and just as you added the finishing touches it disappeared with one wrong bump? That's about how this post has gone. I'm beginning to get superstitious about posting on continuing education. Its like there is some kind of conspiracy going on to keep me from this subject. Well, whoever those evil people in blog land are, they won't stop me. I'm in a blue funk today and I have nothing better to do than lie around eating chips, cookies, pie, mac n' cheese and finish this post on my blog!
It all started at 3am on Thursday morning. I awakened sporting a pouty frown. It was a triple whammy for me. 1. My mom and dad were leaving. 2. I had to participate in a grueling 2 day emergency nurse pediatric course. 3. I had neglected to read the text book prior to taking the class so I was not fully prepared.
I slunk in the door only to discover that I was in a test pilot course. I was one of 5 students with 4 instructors. Three of the instructors were testing as instructors in order to bring the course to our hospital. There would be no hiding in the back of the room for me this time. The course included food, much to my agony. Candy bars, candy and carbs roamed about the tables daring me to consume them. As picture after picture flashed on the screen I began to lose my appetite. Gruesome scenarios unfolded with graphic photos. Despite my loss of appetite, I managed to consume a months worth of junk food. Candy and candy bars in bowls continually called out my name. I also liberally helped myself to lots of fresh ground coffee. Despite my early fears that our petite, athletic emergency director would feed us a small lunch of bird type food, they proved unfounded. As she pulled out frozen pizzas, I found myself calculating how much I could politely consume. Since we were all sickened considerably by the child abuse photos just before lunch, there was a lot of left overs. Disgusted with myself, I found despite my lack of appetite, I had consumed half a pizza by myself along with everybody Else's left over cookies. Why is it that I respond to stress by eating while all the other thin, pretty women in my class do just the opposite?
In an effort to debrief from the frozen pizza, I took a brisk walk around the hospital grounds. I was amazed to discover a forgotten weedy treed area on the edge of the property. Just a few feet out of view, a small orchard of trees weighed heavily under an array of burdensome fruit. Apples, pears and plums sat rotting on the ground with no one to harvest them. I made a mental note to return there later, and went back to class feeling a little bit better.
I had considered not taking the course, but memorials of children I couldn't save live close to my heart. Memories from shallow graves in my mind became unearthed and I found myself reliving many scenarios from years gone by. Pressure to pass the series of tests at the end, disturbing photos from the course and haunted by old trauma scenes from years gone by, I wallowed further into the bowl of chocolate. By the time I drove home from the course the first day, I wondered if it would drive me to drinking! Fortunately, there was a new supply of cookies, pie and pizza at home. I embraced my baby thanking God that she is healthy and well.
The next day, it began to occur to me that I was using food as a crutch. I mentally made a note of that as I helped myself to some more camels. I had got up early, studied the material and instructed my daughter on how to do the Heimlich maneuver for the fourth time before leaving her to babysit the children. Leaving your kids to attend a class about all manner of children's emergencies is quite nerve wracking in itself. At lunch time, I again feared my petite, athletic emergency room director would feed us something healthy, but she came through with some soups, breads and more cookies. I generously helped myself to an ample supply and raced out the door with an extra cookie as I headed for the orchard with paper sacks. Harvesting the fruit was a good distraction for me. By the time we were thick into testing, I was jittery from days of coffee and crashing from my sugar high. A kind doctors wife showed me some lavender growing near the education house. I picked a big bouquet and began huffing it. I also added some to my hair hoping the aroma would help calm my nerves. I imagine I may have looked a bit odd huffing lavender aroma after each test question. Luckily, the instructors were preoccupied with being tested themselves and pretended not to notice.
After testing in triage, written and practical, I was mortified to discover that I along with everybody else had failed something. Four of the five of us had to retest the practical part. One woman was bawling. I began vigorously huffing more lavender. I couldn't possibly eat any more chocolate, ok, just one. I went off to meditate outside with my failed evaluation. It seemed impossible to jump through every hoop. I felt like there was no possible way for me to pass. Dread overwhelmed me and anger began to surface. How in the world could anybody do this? After reading where I went wrong with my evaluation no less than 5 times I returned inside to test again. This time, I some how passed it. I also earned the highest score in the class on the written test. By the time I was done, it was almost 6pm and I was more than ready to escape and flee for home.
Again, I embraced my baby with gratitude. I didn't argue about watching a Rambo movie with the boys. I thanked Sock Fashion Expert for a job well done. I watched the cheesy home commercials they had concocted. Despite experiencing stress from the course, I learned allot. Hopefully I'll never have to use the information, but if I do, I'll be glad I learned it. I'm especially grateful for the gift of 5 healthy children. Life is fragile. It doesn't last forever. These days we live in are a gift not to be squandered. I think my funk is finally coming to an end. I have a lot to do and there is no good junk food left to eat anyway ;-)