Browsing "Health"
Nov 29, 2017 - Health, My Story    No Comments

Seeking Thanksgiving

Hospitals don’t get holidays.

Sickness doesn’t take a break, so hospitals have to keep working to promote wellness and health — no matter what date the calendar says.

I was thankful to have the weekend before Thanksgiving off this year to celebrate with my family. We’ve come to expect this “modified Thanksgiving” since I often work the week of Thanksgiving, serving the little turkeys.

I am thankful to let my coworkers have the day off to spend with their families. I am thankful for my job. I am thankful to wear funny headbands and try to make the best of a holiday where no one wants to be in the hospital: patients or staff. I see purpose in these choices and in my work. But I still sometimes dread going home after work on holidays. I work until after dinner time, which makes it difficult to attend any Thanksgiving festivities. Most of my in town friends were traveling or had plans earlier in the day.

I sought to find a place at someone’s table and it just wasn’t an option. I felt like a the holiday orphan. I had a choice to make here. Even though I got to celebrate with my family just a few days before, it still felt lonely to anticipate celebrating a holiday with leftovers eaten on my lap at home alone. Holidays are difficult. They are difficult if you’re alone. They are difficult if you’re with family. They are full of expectations and grand plans and often don’t live up to them. I wished that spending the evening alone didn’t bother me, but it did. I had a choice to make here, I needed to ask for help. I needed to share my need. To see who else felt alone and was looking for another option just like I was.

I was able to go on a last minute adventure to Disney with a coworker who was in the same situation as me. We had a Thanksgiving feast in Pandora, complete with Na’vi beverages. I ended up having a full and pleasant day. I am so thankful for everyone who got to celebrate with their families and friends on Thursday. If you were like me and separated from loved ones, for any reason, I fight for gratitude alongside you. I had to expend effort to seek thanks giving this year. I sought to practice defiant joy. I had to share my need.

I’ve realized more and more that giving thanks is not a natural tendency. It requires work. It requires a community to remind me of my blessings. It takes friends and family and coworkers to give hugs, phone calls, texts, and last minute Disney adventures to remind me that I’m not really alone. I spent my day seeking thanks giving, and it was worth it.

 

Jan 18, 2017 - Health, My Story, Running    No Comments

My Marathon

Now that I can walk again, I am ready to talk about my marathon experience.

I did it!

I ran (and walked) 26.2 miles.

A year ago I made a “Bucket List” of things I wanted to do in life. Running a marathon was one of them! Running has been a very powerful spiritual analogy to me during my four years as a runner. Life is a marathon. It is not a sprint. And in this marathon of life, some miles are joyful and easy and your training comes in handy. But many many miles are hard or lonely and you fear you cannot keep going. I wanted to prove to myself that I can keep going in running and in life. I am not running either race alone. I have cheerleaders and spectators who care about me and will help me finish my race well in all ways. This matters. Even when you are experiencing your toughest miles and you feel like you are emotionally hitting a wall, someone cares, someone sees, someone is cheering you on. Look for your spectators and cheerleaders — and keep running.

At the Expo getting my bib!

I ran as “Taco Belle” because I have to be silly.

Lisa and I shivering in the cold at the starting line.

And nearly seven hours later… The finish line!

Iced up and dressed to the nines. 

My finest cheerleaders!

My team!

And as if that wasn’t enough, my sweet friend Jake brought his allowance money to the finish line and bought me a rose to celebrate my race. Not wanting to be outdone, my boyfriend followed up with this bouquet as well! 🙂

Thank you for cheering me on, friends. You make my miles of running, and of life, so much more enjoyable. Here’s to future miles!

Jan 31, 2016 - Health, Running    2 Comments

Rebel Challenge

Flying across the country.

Waking up at 3 am (many times…)

Running 19.3 miles.

Worth it!

I participated in the Star Wars Half Marathon Rebel Challenge two weeks ago and scored some major victory points and bling by doing two races in back to back days. I got to spend some time with delightful people, visit the happiest place on earth, and prove to myself, yet again, that I am capable of things I never thought possible.

Running has taught me a lot about life. Growing up, I was the asthmatic kid who was picked last for kickball. I could never run. In fact, I completed my first ever mile without stopping when I was thirty years old. Even now, I am not fast, I do not complete with my corral-mates. I just plod along… for hours. For nineteen miles!

My running is far from flashy. Far from perfect. Far from fast. But I go. I move forward. I’ve been learning that life is a series of small steps, which when taken faithfully, can add up to something great!

I keep telling myself not to worry so much about the Finish line. But to focus on having the courage to start! Do something you don’t think is possible. Then hustle, train, and prepare! And you just might shock yourself.

Small steps can move you.

Where are you running?

 

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Jan 27, 2016 - Health    1 Comment

72 Hours

72 Hours.

Depending on what you’re measuring it could be an incredibly long or an incredibly short time. Consider building a cathedral in 72 hours versus holding your breath for 72 hours.

For me, 72 hours is the length of time that my patience lasts before giving out entirely.

I took ill last week. Typical symptoms: sniffles, scratchy throat, fatigue. Never fear! I will fight these germs head on! I stayed home from work, cancelled all plans for three days, hydrated, rested, and barely left my bed for 72 hours.

sick, ill, snot, kleenex

And after waking myself up in a colossal coughing fit on the morning of the fourth day, I became enraged. I did everything right! I laid low, took care of myself, used a dozen boxes of Kleenex. And everything north of my diaphragm was revolting against me. My patience was gone; I felt I deserved health at this point.

I ripped the covers off in a huff to begin the de-snotting process, “God help me if I’m ever really, really sick.”

Whoa.

I am literally surrounded by people fighting off illness, injury, infection, and infirmity at work. Children and families who are stuck in bed (and sitting bedside) for far longer than 72 hours. So instead of being angry, I’d like to say:

To the high risk mama with the aching back after weeks (months!) of bedrest, your work is worth it. I see you.

To the little kid who had brain surgery and has been stuck in bed with tubes and drains ever since just longing to get up and play. I see you.

To the mom and dad of all my little patients wondering about the future and sitting crib-side holding little hands. Your care is powerful. I see you.

To everyone who has ever been sick, bedridden, silenced, downcast, or sidelined. My 72 hours has given me just a taste of your story. I see you. I want this experience of lost patience and waning health to help me see you even more.

To feel seen is a powerful thing.

Mar 7, 2015 - Health, Running, speaking, travel    No Comments

Internal Daylight Savings

No, I’m not dead.

No, I haven’t decided to live off the grid.

No, I haven’t eloped.

February was just a blur. 

IMG_3398sick, ill, snot, kleenexenchanted 10K

Traveling, speaking, multiple illnesses, and a twenty-mile race can make a month very tight and very exhausting. I feel like I am just now able to process all that happened in February. Like my mind is living a month behind my body. It’s a new kind of internal daylight savings!

But I’m hoping to spring forward in more ways than one tonight. I want to align my clocks, watches, and internal system to live in the present. Yes, I need to think about my blur of a month, but I also need to live where I am. I don’t want to live life solely through my rear view mirror. I think back and muse, “Wow, I led a women’s retreat. I spoke for four hours about the Sabbath one month ago this weekend. Was that real?” I ponder such questions because the distance between my thoughts and my presence can keep me from enjoying what’s going on right in front of me. Maybe you feel the same. Nostalgic for what was and never fully enjoying what is. I am seeking to enjoy life past, present, and future. Remember good times, enjoy today, plan for the future. That’s my new daylight savings plan – enjoy the sunshine wherever it shines!

How do you train yourself to enjoy today and not worry about tomorrow or long for yesterday?

Feb 17, 2015 - Health    2 Comments

Sick and Ticked!

I’m sick. I just have a cold. Typical symptoms: cough, stuffiness, watery eyes, fatigue. But I’m ticked about it! I don’t have time to be sick! I have stuff to do. I have things to catch up on after speaking at a women’s retreat about Sabbath Rest! I have a half marathon this upcoming weekend! Couldn’t we reschedule the stuffy nose timing, God?

sick, ill, snot, kleenex

The irony is not lost on me. 

I spent all of last weekend telling a lovely group of women that they were not responsible for their own salvation. That they could rest. More than that, telling them that God designed us to need rhythms of rest and work.

But I don’t like my current rhythm. I’d rather be working. I have stuff to do. I’ve said it before and it is true again today. Sickness is used in my life to remind me that it’s not all up to me. When I am sick, I can still trust that the world will go on. Because I am not responsible for upholding the world and keeping it running. (Though I often live as if I am!) God is in control. I am not. My job right now is to blow my nose, drink hot tea, and take naps to fight off whatever virus has taken up residence in my lymph nodes. That’s it. That is what I need to check off my to do list today. Rest, be still, recover. And trust that God has everything else under control.

Instead of being sick and ticked, I will strive to be sick and trusting. It will be good training for all the times that I’m not ill, but still want to trust!

 

God repeatedly uses illness in my life to remind me of this truth. What has He used in your life?

 

Nov 17, 2014 - Health, Occupational Therapy    2 Comments

World Prematurity Day

I did not write this. But oh how I wish I had! As I celebrate World Prematurity Day today, I see not only my patients but their families struggling so much to deal with an ICU stay for the tiniest member of their family. I too see you.

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I SEE YOU by Jodi Dolezel:

I have read your blog posts and your Facebook statuses, I have had the honor of getting to know a lot of you through social media, and I have watched and cheered your children on from the NICU days through early childhood. I have had the privilege of meeting some of you in person, and I must say you are an amazing group of people. You have candidly shared your thoughts, your lives, your children, and your heart with me, and I am truly grateful to have this bird’s-eye view of your world.

Being a NICU parent is hard. I know this, not because I am one, but because you have allowed me into your world and have given me a perspective that I would never have been able to have without this gift you have given me. To see through your eyes, to understand what it is like to walk in your shoes, and to really grasp the other end of the spectrum from your point of view. It is a gift, and I am, and will be forever be, grateful for it.

I know I don’t understand, and I will never understand completely what it is like to be you. Nor do I pretend to understand what you are going through. But I do want you to know that I get it. I get that having a child prematurely or spending time in the NICU is not what you had planned, and it is extremely hard watching your child suffer, feeling so helpless and full of fear. Having a medically fragile child is difficult, and you may feel alone, isolated, or invisible. But today, I want you to know that you are not alone, you are not invisible, and that I see you.

I see you rushing into the NICU with your hair pulled back and your sweatpants on. Bending over at the sink scrubbing your hands with intent, hoping and praying that you made it in time for the 8 a.m. feeding. You are beautiful.

I see you sitting at your child’s bedside, journal in hand, writing down your baby’s latest statistics: weight, isolette temperature, amount of oxygen, and ventilator settings. Things that no parent should ever have to think or worry about, but you do it. You are brave.

I see you walking the halls to the maternity ward to get a drink from the vending machine. You pass by a couple taking a stroll with their newborn baby in tow in a bassinet. They look so happy, you smile as they pass. The look on your face is one of admiration, but you march on. You are resilient.

I see you unpacking your never-ending pumping supplies, lining up your bottles, and preparing for your next power session, even though you did this routine just two hours ago. You are dedicated.

I see you standing over your baby’s isolette, counting down the hours until the next “hands on care,” longing to touch and hold your child, and praying you will get to have kangaroo care time today. You are loving.

I see you as other new parents enter the NICU for the first time. They are scared, nervous, and afraid of what the future holds. You too are worried about the future, but I see you approach them and offer a shoulder to lean or cry on. I see you explain to them the ropes, telling them that it won’t be easy, but assuring them that you are there if they need your help. You are compassionate.

I see you as the neonatologist leaves your baby’s bedside after giving you an update and the plan for the day. You look puzzled and somewhat afraid. Confused by the medical terminology, you ask questions, and you begin to research and learn all that you can about your child’s diagnosis and possible future. You are an advocate.

I see you as your family and friends visit your child, who has now been in the NICU for weeks on end. They ask questions, the wonder, and they sometimes make uninformed or even hurtful comments. They may fail to recognize that this journey is long and hard, not just for your baby, but for you, too. You don’t get upset. You answer their questions politely, and educate them as best you can, and then you thank them for their concerns. You are amazing.

I see you as you perform diaper changes through all the wires, tubes, and machines. You look beyond all this medical machinery and smile in admiration of your little fighter. You have been through so much, you have seen so much, and you have loved so deeply and abundantly through it all. You are courageous.

You spend countless hours worrying about, defending, and advocating for your baby. You spend days, weeks, months, and often years beyond the NICU experience learning best therapies and best medical devices, finding the best doctors and the best schools for your child. You may be burdened with huge medical bills. You may feel isolated and alone in this new NICU world and beyond these doors in the years to come. But today, I want you to know that you are not alone and you are not invisible. I can never truly say that I understand everything that you have been through, because I haven’t walked in your shoes. But I hope you can hear my heart when I say I get it. I see you.

I see you when you’re tired and at the end of your rope, but you truck on. I see you when your patience is wearing thin but you continue on with determination. I see the amazing strength you possess for your little one. I see you when you are astonished by the wonder of your tiny brave hero as you celebrate another amazing milestone. I see you when you are left standing between your baby and this sometimes cruel and critical world we live in. I see it all, and I see you.

I acknowledge you.

I admire you.

And

I applaud you.

___________

Jodi Dolezel is a Registered Nurse and currently works in a single room family centered care level 3 Neonatal Intensive Care in the Charlotte, NC area. Jodi is also the founder and facilitator of Peekaboo ICU, where this post first appeared.

Reference: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jodi-dolezel/i-see-you_b_6071208.html?ncid=fcbklnkushpmg00000037

Jul 4, 2014 - Health, Humor, My Story    1 Comment

National Cartwheel Day

Today is National Cartwheel Day.

Because I declared it so.

Here’s the story:

When I was a young tyke, I took gymnastics. That was until I was so tall that I could hang from the upper uneven parallel bars and my toes touched the ground. I was 10.

It was a sad day when I had to change my athletic aspirations because no nearly six feet tall woman can contort herself enough to be an Olympic gymnast. Sorry Bela Karolyi, I won’t be joining you this summer.

Fast forward fifteen years, to envision me sitting with some friends celebrating July the 4th. For some reason our conservation made me think, “I wonder if I could still do a cartwheel.” So I tried. And it felt good. Like holding onto just a smidgen of my gymnastic Olympic hopefulness. I decided that day that I would attempt a cartwheel every year to prove to myself that I could still do it. Hence, July 4th is National Cartwheel Day.

It’s a way to be nostalgic and also prove to myself what I’m capable of. If you flip quickly you’ll get an idea of how it looks in person.

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I realize that one day my celebration of National Cartwheel Day may go horribly wrong. But until then I participate in my topsy turvy tumbling tradition with glee celebrating the joys and challenges of childhood.

Happy National Cartwheel Day!

May 31, 2014 - Health, Humor    2 Comments

Up From the Bed She Returns!

(Sung to the tune of “Up From the Grave He Arose”)

Up from the bed she returns!

With a mighty triumph o’er her germs!

She returns a victor o’er post nasal drip,

And she vows her health to never again slip!

She returns! She returns!

Hallelujiah, Kelly (is-no-longer-sick-and-feels-like-a-normal-person-again-thanks-to-soup-honey-and-Disney-movies) Returns!

 

Thanks for all those who cared for me!

May 30, 2014 - Health    2 Comments

Forced Stillness

I’m sick.

My voice sounds both sultry and squeaky with varying frequencies. I feel like Phoebe from Friends singing Smelly Cat with her raspy, mucous-coated vocal cords.

It’s no fun.

Here’s what I’ve accomplished over the past two days:

Disney Movies Watch

Illness is one of the few things that makes me stop. Really pause and rest. I have such an insatiable inner drive to constantly be doing. I am thankful that this helps me do more than I sometimes should be able to, but it is also exhausting. I cannot tell you how often people ask me, “When did you have time to do all this?” Truly, I don’t know. I play an ongoing game of Time Tetris trying to shift my obligations and squeeze a little more out of each day.

Until I’m forced to be still.

Whether its a sore throat, or snotty nose, or aching knee, or pounding headache, it often takes an intense force to make me rest.

But I don’t want to live with such pressure. I’ve been learning about the importance of rest. Of Sabbath rest for my soul. And as much as I enjoy Disney movies, the rest I’m searching for is way deeper than Sleeping Beauty’s snoozing.

I’m going to find stillness and rest without being forced by my squeaky-sultry sound. God used my cold to remind me of my need to rest. And for that I am thankful.

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