Sleeping Bag

listen to your heart

The homeless travelers in Colorado Springs stand on the highway exit corners collecting an undisclosed plethora of coins, paper money, uneaten fast food lunch I didn’t want after all, 2 large unsweetened tea cause I asked for sweet tea I’m a Southerner now in the West, cans of sardines, to name a few. Last week the wind was blowing crazy like it only does around the plains and yep it was cold and snowy. I’m in my toasty warm lovable Kia Sportage and there he stands shivering with his cardboard reused sign ‘Need Help’ so I gave him my sleeping bag. Chica doesn’t know yet as I’d used it for her to stay warm when she takes her copilot seat. The traffic light remained red for some time as the grey and orange bag whipped around the disheveled fellow as he stood waiting patiently for the next flow of onlookers. I rolled my window down again and gave him one of my many cloth bags cause I’m a silent bag lady too. He scurried back with a grin saying ‘thanks man.’

Yesterday as I was walking around the adorable welcoming snowy town of Manitou Springs I spotted a fellow curled up under the bushes in a sleeping bag with the morning sun resting on his quiet form. He looked rather comfortable but I know better.

Try telling a mother and business woman facing retirement she should get pregnant because after all it brought her such joy and purpose. She would not need to answer and could inwardly chuckle as she continued to plan her future freedom life out from under all the shady business situations she’d faced working in the system as well as all the critiques she’d swallowed during her parenting years as she attempted to do the best for the fruits of her loins.

Ok so I’m not facing retirement but I relate to her. As a rock climber would turn and walk away from some strangers encouragement to jump on a climbing route without ‘good beta’ from a trusted source. I’m at a spot where I neither want to get pregnant nor jump on any rock requiring vertical ascent. Substitute the suggestions of what should a nurse do? ICU, ER, private duty, hospice liaison, cardiac unit step down, travel nurse (hard!), inpatient rehab RN, camp nurse, Health Director, occupational health nurse at a lumber plant, and most recently school nurse. I’ve done it all. Loved it and can list why I will not do each again.

As my own employment grim choices are laid out in front of me I can’t help but think I might need another sleeping bag.

3 things

I saw a bunch of homesick kids last summer …. summer camp …. kids of all ages … there’s nothing worse than that old feeling of missing your mom (dad/parent/guardian) and it’s usually visa versa from her end as well …. but from the nurses end – mine – it’s a challenge unlike most others. Add a medical element to it all and there’s another obstacle to clear. My experience has showed me the child who faces this and makes it till the end of camp is often the one who grew the most and as a result it shows in their walk/smile/eyes. And it’s contagious. I found a simple tool to use for homesickness.  To help redirect the mind when it’s steering the emotions to complete upset you need to know 3 good things. Ask the kid to tell you 3 good things about their day. 3 good things she looks forward to. 3 good things. And I’d have to say it often amidst many tears where the subject is ‘I miss my mom and I wanna call her’ and more upset. So, change the subject.  It will now be ‘good things’.  So when homesick is brought up (every other minute) my role is to model the simple use of the tool of  strong communication. Before I listen to you I wanna hear 3 good things. And I’ve gotten good at prompting the child who can’t think of a single thing to be thankful for ……. Tell them to me. Feel that good place. That’s what happens. They accidentally feel good just for a split second …. and it puts a chink in the darkness of sad/gloom/negative. The cool thing is … it simply works. Its easy. It’s a remedy I gotta package and now sell. It might help kids enjoy their childhood a bit better.

“Is this blog personal or professional?”, he asked.

.blue sky white cloudsI had a comment from a fellow blogger asking if my site was professional or personal. It caught my attention. Should I connect all this to Facebook, Linkedin? Instagram seems fine as all I post are really cool photos but most are from the traveling I’ve done as a direct result of being a nurse. Being a nurse I kindof feel it’s one and the same for what I do and have done with perfect strangers. Past and present. Is it too personal that I take care of your body and don’t know (momentarily forgot) your name? It’s probably not professional that I forget names so I’ll take that strike. Being a nurse is personal and professional. Bringing it back around to life at camp. I patch up scraped knees, wash out the sand/chlorine from little eyes, nurture the homesick, take care of the fevers, climb on the top bunk in the middle of the night for the tiny girl w sickle cell anemia who played too hard in the pool and woke her counselors with her weeping she hurt so badly and I stay w her so if she wakes crying I’ll be there to rub her back or give a little Ibuprofen till the sun comes up as there was little else to do because moving her would hurt more and having sickle cell anemia is rough when you want to be a little girl at camp ……………….. hummm is this professional or personal? Good question.