Ummm… is this what 35 is supposed to look like?

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Yes! It is a tiara. With Glitter. And, yes those are bubbles in my scepter. Why? Because I am a princess. Every one thinks so.

Seriously. What age is it when you finally have it all figured out? I really thought 25 would be it. Then, 28 seemed like it would be the year. Now, here I am at 35…. and I am still pretty much flailing away, and figuring it all out as I go. Sigh.

There is some good news: Every thing is awesome. I get to be and do anything I am willing to try to work for. That is a liberating feeling.

I am on a path of many wonderful adventures.

If you had asked me 20 years ago who I would be at 35, I would have been so wrong. Turns out, I am still the same girl. I only wish I had been a little nicer to her.

So, having a great time. Surrounded by thoughtful and hilarious friends. I promise you, I have never laughed so hard continuously before. Good times, Good beer, and I may have had lemon cake for breakfast.

 

An Open Letter To All Of My Friends Who Take Selfies

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This is a great piece about a selfie-appreciator. The thing is… For me it all started out as a joke… But, now I see it as an opportunity to show me exactly where I am.

The Belle Jar

Dear Friends Who Take Selfies,

I want you to know that I love it when you post pictures of yourself. I know selfies get a lot of bad press, but I think they’re rad. They give me a little window into your life, and you’d be amazed at how much I can get out of one little photo.

I love your pictures because I love seeing what you’re wearing – the outfits you build give me ideas about how to mix it up with my own wardrobe, and seeing you work your shit gives me courage to try clothing that I otherwise might have thought was too outlandish or revealing.

I love seeing how you do your hair and makeup. You look like a hot babe and I wish you would make YouTube tutorials explaining how you get your eyeliner just so. I want you to post pictures every time you change your…

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My Last Day

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So, it’s been a week since my last day in the MICU. This has given me an opportunity to look back on the progress and growth I have experienced throughout my career.

Wow! I have changed a lot.

I remember when I started Pre-nursing courses. It all seemed so complex and difficult. Intro to Chemistry? I studied so hard!!! Looking back now, it is all elementary. (Thanks for that Dr. Watson.) A&P? Ugh! Terrible. I made a C the first time I took the class. Obviously, I took it again. I had to.

Then, fast forward through nursing school. It’s okay, most of it is a blur anyway. I got my first job in the medical field as a Nurse Tech on a Renal Telemetry floor. Let me tell you, this was the last place I ever dreamed I would find my first professional home. These patients were tough! I fell in love with the frenetic pace and the patients. They were mostly chronically ill, and they were often in the hospital way to much.

Perhaps my favorite thing to watch were Renal Transplant surgeries. There is a moment when the kidney is hooked back up, and it turns pink as blood is coursing through it. That is a magical moment.

I graduated, and became a grown- up nurse. After a little more than a year, I moved to MICU. I started the stressful times all over again. I used to cry all the time. I remember the day my first patient died. It was August 4. I think I cried harder than his daughter did.

Eventually, I learned to distance myself a little more from the grief. I learned how to be there, and not feel devastated every time a patient died. Unfortunately, there were still patients who haunted me. Times they hit a little too close to home. The young man who reminded me of my brother. The other young man who reminded me of my brother. The man who made me think of my granddad.

After a couple of years, I knew I wanted to be a nurse practitioner. So, I applied to school. I had already taken graduate level statistics, I was ready. (I really was not, but it was as good a time as any.)

Once the clinical portion of grad school started, I realized no one was going to teach me how to do this job, I had to pay attention and learn. I was so lucky to have wonderful teachers and mentors who were so dedicated to their profession. Dr. Rivas, Dr, Johnson, Dr. Smith, Dr. Kadiyala, Dr. Bradley, Dr. Simfukwe, and Ruan Reast were tireless. They taught me compassion, and they taught me how to look things up. They taught me how to be confident. I am so grateful for these people. I could have never done any of these things without their support.

Now, once I graduated… I knew what job I wanted. Unfortunately, they already had an NP. I waited. For over a year. It was the longest year of my life. Then, the position was open. Keep in mind, they had trained me for two years.

The transition from bedside nurse to NP was hard. Most likely, the hardest part of the battle was in my head. I may have felt I had something to prove. (I am not going to actually admit to that though.) There were times I had to show people I knew what I was talking about, and in my naiveté, I probably made mistakes in how I spoke to them. However, I would like to point out, it was not always unprovoked. Unfortunately, two wrongs never seem to make a right. I hate that. I really do. I want to have some justification for my defensiveness. There is none.

Here are some of the things I learned though.

  1. You do not have to prove you are right.
  2. Tearing someone else down is never the answer.
  3. Sometimes life is not fair.
  4. The patient may come first, but the entire team needs support.
  5. You cannot take back your tone of voice.

Perhaps most importantly, it is never okay to be unwilling to listen. These lessons are going to help me in the future. I am going to be a better NP for them.

Another lesson I learned, it is okay to move on. Your dream job does not mean you have to stay there forever. This has been emotionally difficult for me. There are times I have felt extreme guilt and shame at the thought of leaving. Why? I am not certain. I suppose I felt I owed it to the people who had taught me so much.

There was also a sense of righteous indignity at the way every thing had turned out. I felt the need to convince some people I had not had bad intentions, therefore I was not being difficult. Well, perhaps. Perhaps not. It really does not matter.

Here is the point. The transition from nurse to nurse practitioner is hard. So, very hard. The best thing may be to start in a place where they don’t remember you crying at the bedside because your filter tubing did not flow. (That was embarrassing- I did not know to open the vent.) Sometimes, it is easier to grow up, both personally and professionally when you are not surrounded by people who watched all the awkward phases of your maturation.

I imagine it is not unlike adult sibling relationships. You are still quick to bicker and squabble over the small things. However, when you meet people as an adult, you tend to forge more mature relationships.

While I am going to miss my friends and work family, I am so excited to move on to new experiences. I imagine the learning curve is going to be quite stimulating for me. I love a challenge. I have to admit though, I hope they don’t forget me.

Your Therapist is Not Your Friend (and 4 other things you need to know about ethically sound counseling)

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Appropriate thoughts about what therapists are… And are not.

Working It Out Together

I read recently about a couple of therapists in the town next to mine who were arrested for insurance fraud for bilking the Medicaid system. They got caught in part because they were bragging that they had found a way to “get paid for work they hadn’t performed,” namely billing for sessions that didn’t occur, and using the licensed provider’s credentials to bill for work that an unlicensed social worker performed. One of the many charges they are facing is “defrauding a public community,” a class-B felony. Since reading about this story, it’s weighed heavily on my mind. You see, as therapists, whether we like it or not, we are held to a much higher standard of behavior in the community than folks working in many other professions. And there are important reasons for that. As professionals who create space for people to share their most closely held, often shameful secrets…

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The Luckiest

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Apparently, I like to hang out with Wonder Woman! Damn! She is tall. I love it!

Let’s talk about Ben Folds. What a great show! He plays piano and bangs on a drum! My kind of guy! Super funny, has a sensitive side… sigh. Where is this guy in the real world?

I had a great time at The House of Blues in Dallas. Great venue. Totally fun. Good sound. All around great show. My favorite song of the night was The Luckiest.

I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns, the stumbles and falls
Brought me here
And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know
That I am
I am
I am
The luckiest

-Ben Folds.

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Somehow I did not manage to get a good pic of Ben… I loved his show. I was too enraptured to take pics I guess.

I sincerely try to remember I am who I am as a direct result of my entire life. I would not be me if not for the good, bad, and ugly. There is a lot of beauty in my life as well.  I owe it to myself, and all the people who love me to remember the beauty. Mr. Folds, can I call you Ben??? Please?, dedicated this song to Kidd Kraddick. Now, believe me that is one sure way to bring tears to my eyes. I cannot speak of the day I learned of his death without tears in my eyes.

I am known to say I am a lucky girl. I genuinely believe that. This song resonates with me, even if it is a love song… I feel like I am the luckiest- I have wonderful people in my life. I have been supported and lifted up so many times in my life. It is important to remember the gratitude. It is so important. Otherwise, you run the risk of being trapped in the quagmire of negativity.

My life is changing. I am able to be more open to adventure and fun. I think it is important for me to pursue this. I need it. I am willing to work hard, and I am willing to be responsible. I am looking forward to the new and excited experiences.

I love my life. I love my family. I am indeed- The Luckiest.

Father’s Day for the Fatherless

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IMG_9424I do not want to beat a dead horse. However, allow me a moment to explain what Father’s Day means to me. My father disowned me when I was sixteen years old. It is not like we had a good relationship before that time, but I was able to pretend we had the possibility of having a relationship. Now, almost twenty years later, I am still filled with regret and wishful thinking.

I do not blame my father for his short-comings. I think he is sick in a way I cannot understand. He has his own demons, and it is not my baggage. The problem for me is this: being rejected by the one man in your life who is supposed to be there for you sucks. I find myself bordering on unhealthy man-hating. I do not want to feel the resentment. So, I pretend it does not bother me.

Most of the time, it doesn’t. I am living life on my terms, and I am making decisions for myself and my son that I feel good about. I am on the verge of starting a new job, and I am finally excited about the possibilities.

Rejection. Essentially, you are not enough. Or, perhaps you are a little too much. Either way, I was not what I was supposed to be. This feeling has permeated my entire life since the day he sent me on my way.

I have learned something though, this is just a feeling. It really does not have much to do with me. My father does not even know me. He does not know about my education, career, friends, or how I am a loving daughter and mother. He does not know all the hours I have dedicated to making myself a better person. He does not know that I am kinda funny sometimes. He has never seen my tenacity in action, and he has no idea how hard I work. He does not know me.

It irritates me that the rejection I experienced at the ripe old age of sixteen has tainted some of my current relationships. I find it painful to think I lash out, or ignore people as a protective measure. Part of being a grown-up is learning to move past these feelings, and learning to have healthy relationships despite the crap you have endured.

So, while I really have pretty negative feelings about Father’s Day, I am so glad to have so many wonderful fathers in my life. I wish them a very Happy Father’s Day, and I am so proud of them.

As far as my father goes: Good Riddance. That is all I can say. You sir, have missed out on a relationship with the coolest kid in the world. Your grandson is amazing and wonderful. You have also missed out on having a daughter. Seriously. It’s your loss. I may have regrets, but my family loves me, and I love them. It’s really too bad you don’t know what that is like.

Life is Good

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IMG_9367I am a lucky woman. I am a single mom, and my son is the light of my life. I know, everyone says that. He has sacrificed so much for me to have a career, and he has been so gracious and supportive every step of the way.

I do not do it alone, my family has helped us so much! I could not have accomplished any of this without their support. I am so grateful. I swear, I don’t even have the words. What??? Nyki at a loss for words? 

Ty needed something to drive. I wanted something that included bubble wrap and a helmet. Turns out, those are not standard features on any vehicle. 

Here is the best part. We actually pulled off a surprise. My family took him to “look” at cars. I had him convinced I was looking at a car. He had told my mother he really wanted a truck, but he understood if I could not get him one. As if I would not do every thing in my power to get him what he really wanted… that is what I always do. 

Then, he was sitting in this truck. Just to see if he liked it. My brother told him it was his. The look on his face was priceless. He was SHOCKED! The way he said “It’s mine? Really?” He immediately dug in his pocket for his phone, and called me to tell me over and over how much he appreciated it. I think he may have been in shock a bit.

My job as a parent is not to give my child every thing he wants. There are many things he would like to have, and they are out of the question. I am lucky. I work hard, and I have good opportunities. I work a lot, and it takes me away from my family. My son could be bitter and complain about my work schedule. He doesn’t. He always understands.

There have been times in the past he and I have had plans that were canceled after I received a phone call about short staffing. He never complained or whined. He said “I understand. It’s okay. Your patients need you.”

When I went back to graduate school so I could become a nurse practitioner, my time was monopolized by my career even more. My son and my family were so patient and supportive. Even the times I wanted to quit. Without their support, I never would have made it through all of it.

So, now he has a truck. I can only hope he is careful, and the other drivers on the road are careful. I wanted him to have a reliable vehicle. I wanted him to have something to drive he was proud of. I wanted to see him smile. He may be a little spoiled. The good news is he is a good kid. He makes good choices most of the time. He has a huge heart. I am proud of the man he is becoming.

I think I am almost as excited about this truck as he is. I would do anything for him. It’s one of the perks of being an only child. Believe me, he wishes he was not an only child. I remember when he was about three years old, and he informed me he needed a sister. Sorry buddy, not happening. 

So, life is good. It is all worth it. I would do anything to provide a good life for my son.

Let’s talk about sleep

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So, you never realize how little sleep you are getting, until you get a new bed. Last night was my first night in my new bedroom. I decided to take it for a test run, so I turned on Grease and promptly fell asleep before the opening credits were even finished.

This morning I woke up and feel fantastic. I am not stiff and sore. It is like I finally skipped my nightly battle with a worn out mattress.

Buying a new bed is a big purchase. I think some of us take the importance of proper support for granted. (Part of me wonders why it took me so long to make this purchase.) For now, I am up and ready to face the day. (Secretly, I can’t wait for bedtime tonight.) That is how you know you made the right choice.

Tilting at Windmills

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There comes a time when I have to lose the quixotic attitude I have concerning my employment. My capricious ways are exhausting. I know without a doubt this new opportunity is something I need to pursue.

I have spent my entire career in the same health system, and in order to continue to grow, it is time for me to branch out. Yeah, I am scared of going to a new place. New doctors, new patients, new EMR. Then, I remember how lovely the block schedule is going to be. 7- 10 days off at a time. Wow! I am going to have more time to devote to writing, and I just bought a new camera. I want to learn photography.

After spending all these years focused so intently on my career, I have decided I need more. I need to be a whole person. I owe it to myself.

Change is scary. I am leaving my support system at work. I always know who to seek out for advice. They have made a nice work family for me, and I am going to miss them terribly.

Nothing great ever happens if you do not take a chance.

I am going to spend the next two weekends seeing friends and Mudder Buddies. There are a lot of June babies in our group, and I can’t wait to celebrate with them. I never dreamed it would take me 35 years to get some courage. Concerts and Barbecues. It is gonna be fantastic. I think we are meeting up to go hiking with some Tough Mudder Dallas peeps.

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My first picture with my new camera. I have no idea what I am doing, and I need to get some editing software and learn to use it. However, I think it is rather symbolic. There are alway blue skies behind the clouds.

Life is an adventure. May as well explore the possibilities.