Murder and Mayhem

It’s chaos out there. Utter chaos. But quarantine is not what’s on my mind this week. No, I’m still reeling from the everyday, run-of-the-mill events of this past week at work. Have you ever taken care of a murderer in your line of work? Nope? Not suprising. (Clue…It was the colonel with the candlestick in the library….)

Well, life and death often go hand in hand; after all, nursing is all about the circle of life. Earlier this week, not only did I help code a murder victim, but I also took care of the accused only hours later. It’s a bit of a surreal feeling; we did our very best, but a gunshot wound to the chest is not something that all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can ever put back together again. And as remorseful as a soul can be, there’s no returning anyone back to life after a split-second action gone wrong. I mourned for everyone involved in the scenario. The young children who no longer have someone to call “Mommy”, the mother who lost her adult child, and the poor soul who “accidentally” discharged the weapon mere feet away from his girlfriend’s chest. His life will be over from this point on. He can never close his eyes and forget what happened or the consequences of his actions. He will be reviled and hated for the rest of his imprisoned days. His tears were real, and far from over. And of course, there were extenuating circumstances. (There always are, it seems like, but I can’t speak to that here.) I shudder to think of what the girl’s family is going through. Unimaginable pain and loss, and the day after Mother’s Day, at that. So, so incredibly sad…..

The night after that, I was called in to work due to an emergency c-section for a 27-weeker who was bleeding and in labor. There were tears in that room that night as well. Tears of fear…and pain…and then JOY when the baby responded to care. It is always miraculeous to see a baby that small respond to modern-day emergency medical care. We are a small hospital — to enjoy the benefits of a NICCU team, we have to call ahead of time and arrange their 1+hour drive to our facility. They work alongside our nurses to stabilize the baby for several hours before loading up and driving the 1+hour back to OKC. They are courage under fire, calm under pressure…it is always amazing to see them at work!

I also took care of my first-ever case of mumps this week. Having never seen it before except in textbooks, it was still immediately recognisable. My first question was, “Have you had your immunizations?” Interestingly enough, it was the doc’s exact same first question, so I knew we were both thinking the same thing. I’m telling you, it’s been a weird week, and it’s not even full moon.

All this is going on while the covid virus is still running amok and causing chaos. Or, at least in our area, the covid restrictions are causing chaos. We have been extremely fortunate to not have the virus in our town, other than a handful of cases which have all been resolved. I hope you have been fortunate wherever you are as well.

2020 has not been a stellar year for anyone. For us, it started with the death of an extended family member hours after the ball dropped to bring in the New Year. Then, an unexpected death of a dear friend on January 4th, and it just went downhill from there. A huge house renovation has hit multiple snags and delays for us during all this. We are still fostering the same child we’ve had for three separate placements now. Parental termination hearings have been delayed several times, but are finally happening in two weeks, if all goes according to plan. We anxiously await to see if we will be able to adopt him. We have been “in limbo” for so long, it seems like we will wait forever to find out. Such is the foster care system, and I repeatedly remind myself that patience is a virtue.

That’s my life in a nutshell, how is yours? We are all in this thing called life together. We may not be in the same vicinity, and our covid restrictions may not look the same, but we are all experiencing loss and change at the same time. We are all learning new things about ourselves, as well as our neighbors and coworkers. If you didn’t know before if you’re considered “essential” or not, you know now. If you didn’t know before if you’re an extrovert or introvert, you certainly know now. ūüôā Perhaps you’ve learned a new skill or taken up a new hobby. Maybe you’ve found new favorite TV shows or movies that have helped you get through this. Maybe you are a better cook, or gardener, or family member, etc, after all of this. I hope this finds you well and slowly returning to a more normal lifestyle. May there be peace in the midst of our chaos, and hope amid our covid fears. I have faith that we will come through this stronger than when we started. We have a better understanding of our fellowman, and a stronger sense of identity. We have hopefully gained a better appreciation for what’s truly important in life, and can take that with us into a better future.

“Peace I leave with you, my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. ” John 14:27

                                 Nurse Ames, RN

 

Old MacDonald had a farm

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Little man had his end-of-year daycare program yesterday evening. He was a little piggy for the verse of “Old MacDonald had a farm, E–I–E–I–O… and on that farm he had some pigs…E–I–E–I–O”. ¬†Little man didn’t want to be a pig–specifically, he didn’t want to wear his cute little piggy ears. He wanted to run and play, and hit the balloons, and eat the pig-shaped cookies. Wearing the piggy ears just wasn’t an option in his little one-year-old mind. I suppose if I was a one-year-old, I would feel the same way. ¬†But doggone it, he sure was cute for the 2.2 seconds we got him to keep them on for a picture. ūüôā

My heart was happy to see him run and play and act like any other kid his age. ¬†It ¬†hurt though, to know that although we love him, and he calls me “Momma” with confidence, that’s not the way it will always be. ¬†And last night as I thought about his fate in the foster care system, my sweet friend walked by with her daughter. ¬†My friend, who is as good of a mom as any you’ll find, was there with her daughter, yet was missing her son who was killed in a car accident two summers ago. Why did she lose her child while the foster child I raise desperately needs a loving forever home? Why is life so unfair to those completely helpless to fight back? My foster child doesn’t lack for love, but he does lack for a stable home. His parents are caught up in a series of bad choices and it’s not clear yet whether they will improve so he can go back to them or not. ¬†Will I be left with a few artwork pieces and precious pictures and memories ? Or will he need a forever home at our house? There’s no way to know for now. ¬†As for my sweet friend, she doesn’t lack for other children or a loving husband, but that in no way whatsoever takes away the pain and anguish over losing her firstborn child. ¬†Sometimes being a mom is one of the hardest tasks handed to us as human beings.

Tomorrow is Mother’s Day. ¬†I think of all the moms (biological or otherwise) out there who come together with a common interest on this day. ¬† Whether it’s a year to rejoice over how blessed we are, or to mourn what we have lost or never had, it’s an emotional time. ¬†For some moms on this day, they must visit their kiddos in jail, while others visit theirs at a gravesite. ¬†And yet others rejoice while they hold sticky, cuddly, smiley little ones…and their hearts are full, rightfully so.

To celebrate this Mother’s Day, ¬†I pray for my little ones. ¬†The ones I’ve cared for and sent back to their parents. ¬†The ones I’ve been blessed with biologically (who aren’t so little anymore). ¬†For the current foster child in my care. ¬†And then I pray for moms everywhere. ¬†I pray for my friend who still cries for the loss of her son. ¬†I pray for my friends who have never been blessed with children, despite their most fervent wishes. ¬†And for the moms who need a helping hand up, a better support system, a mother figure in their own lives… Let’s not forget them either. ¬†(May we not forget–as a mother’s path goes, so does that of society). ¬†Today, let’s take time out to be there for each other. ¬†May we be that helping hand, that listening ear, that shoulder to cry on. ¬†Remember–It doesn’t take a mother, it just takes someone who cares.

¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Happy Mother’s Day

                               Nurse Ames, RN

 

Palm Sunday

IMG_2893There’s nothing cuter than all the little kiddos waving their palm branches in church on Palm Sunday. ¬†Clearly, this is way more fun then trying to hold still while sitting in a pew! ¬†And there’s a festive atmosphere in church. ¬†This is the day we celebrate Christ’s triumphant entry into Jerusalem. ¬†It’s also my Sunday off, and I’m thankful to be here with family and friends. ¬†But what tugs at my heart the most is seeing our little foster baby waving his palm branches and grinning ear-to-ear for me. My heart is heavy for him, for his future remains uncertain. ¬†His parents have recently split; meanwhile, termination proceedings have started for dad and mom is back in rehab AGAIN. ¬†This is the second time around we have had him in his short life. ¬†I feel so torn between love for this sweet, innocent child, and anger for the unfairness that life has already dealt him. ¬†And he’s just one of so many kids in this situation. ¬†So, so many families in America are touched personally by this same problem. ¬†And each time I get to know another foster kid and their parents, I realise all over again that these are people just like you and I, who are either down on their luck, or dealing with every-day life issues just like the rest of us. ¬†They usually have a poor support system, poor role models, or both. ¬†They don’t set out to purposefully sabotage themselves, and yet that’s where they end up, regardless. ¬†There’s no quick fix, no easy solutions to these problems in society.

How do I reconcile my faith with the problems of every-day America? ¬†There’s no easy answer to that either, but I do it the best way I know how– I put it into action. ¬†On this Palm Sunday, I’m thankful I can love on this little one, and keep him safe from the big bad wolf, so to speak. ¬†He doesn’t have to worry about going hungry, or being scared or hurt, or crying himself to sleep at night. ¬†He can run and play at our house to his little heart’s content, and not have a care in the world, as all one-year-old’s should. ¬†In the meantime, I pray for his future. ¬†I pray that this happy-go-lucky, carefree toddler gets a chance to grow up as a normal kid in a normal home. ¬†That his smile never goes away, that his cheerful spirit stays intact. ¬†Every kid deserves that chance at happiness.

His future won’t be decided today, however. ¬†That’s somewhere out there in the hazy distance. ¬†But today is here, right now, and we are gonna live it up the best we know how. ¬†Which means we’re gonna swish some palm branches around for fun a few more times, probably chase each other with them a time or two, and laugh out loud while we’re doing it. ¬†I’m going to try to not to fall in my heels while he scampers away from me, and when I catch him and all his greenery, I’ll give him a huge bear hug. ¬†And my heart will be full of thankfulness. ¬†

Puppies, babies, and springtime, Oh MY!

Hey, everyone, today I’m taking a break from the weighty matters that sometimes fry my brain. Today is absolutely nothing about nursing and all about a Dixie update. That’s more fun anyway, right? ūüôā You’d love her if you could meet her. She has stolen all of our hearts, along with a few of the foster baby’s toys, the cat’s bed, and a few shoes. She’d chew on your fingers if she could, or play tug-of-war, or trot all over the backyard with you, checking out the smells and sounds. She’s a small, wiggly, black-and-white bundle of pure puppy love.

And my foster baby, who is just as adorable in his own way, has fallen hook, line, and sinker for Dixie. He literally has stars in his eyes when he gets to hold her and play with her. Cuteness factor overload!!

Daddy Duty

Speaking of babies, my daughter and I visited Lake Hefner on our way home from an appointment today. While visiting the lighthouse, we found one serious daddy on duty. Mom and her eggs on her nearby nest were well-protected!

My beautiful daughter Hannah

And because it’s springtime on the farm, I’ll share a couple of other spring pics that make my heart happy. Fall will always be my favourite season, but spring is a close second!

Spring is a season of renewal, hope, and change. I hope wherever you are, your spring is blooming beautifully, and full of life and love.