Tuesday, November 13, 2012

That First Day

     Sunday morning, bright and early, I started my Preceptorship. It's a 120 hours of externing under a Nurse so that you get exposed to working with many patients. Previously, I'd asked to work in Medical-Surgical and Pediatrics was my third choice. I didn't foresee that our instructor would have such a hard time finding spots for us and I figured that I'd be in the local hospital on the floor where I'd done my clinicals. It's funny how you make plans and God laughs at them. 

     My mind was made up at the beginning of all this that I didn't want to work with kids because I've mostly worked in Pediatrics as a Medical Assistant and, although I liked it, I wanted a change. I love kiddos but the day in day out cold, strep throat, 'I don't want a shot!" tends to grow old. I wanted surgeries. I wanted complex diseases. I wanted something that was 18 and over. That had been my plan all along and I was sticking to it. So, when our Precept instructor told me that all she had available for the shift I wanted was Peds, I was crestfallen but, begrudgingly, I decided to take it.

      Well...imagine my surprise when I fell in love the first day on the floor. I saw those babies and in one full swoop, I was head over heels. I looked up because God knew all along what He was doing. That first day, I hit the floor running. Giving meds, assessing patients, looking over labs, you name it, I did it. I had a tonsillectomy, sickle cell anemia, feverish newborn, and the one who stole my heart, the leukemia kid. The tonsillectomy was a discharge so he was out the door in the first few hours and the sickle cell kid had a doting mom. She took care of everything because he was her precious cargo. They were easy. The newborn had a Mom who was there but she wasn't there. For some reason, she didn't really have a good bond with her baby. I don't know if it was because of her economic and psychosocial situation but she seemed to look at him like he was an accessory. She picked him up, tucked him in the crook of her arm, and nodded off to sleep. No smiles, no coos, no eye contact. I just shook my head and prayed that I wouldn't see him on the news in about fifteen years. Real parents know that you have to nurture those babies with love and affection so that they won't turn out like weeds.
     Now, the leukemia kid was another story. His "parents" are his much older Aunt and Uncle because Mom and Dad couldn't or wouldn't get their life straight. Somehow, people tend to forget that you have to have it together before you make a baby, but that's a story for another day. Anyway, the one thing that struck me about this kid was his smile. He looked like sunshine. He's only two and he was only recently diagnosed but he acted like there wasn't a thing wrong with him. He grinned and laughed and played. One of the Nurses brought him a toy and the first thing he said was, "Jesus'. Oh my heart. They said that he prayed over his special toys. When other family members came to visit him, they treated him like gold. I was confident that they made up for what Mama and Daddy weren't giving him. I remember one of his visitors saying what a shame it was that his Mom wouldn't take the time to come in from out of state just to see him. That made me burn inside but it came to me that He always puts us where should be at the right time and with the right people. Everything happens for a reason. I conveyed that and the family agreed 100%.

     The rest of my day passed by so quickly. When I left the floor, I was thankful for three things. One, my babies are healthy and they have me to love them like there is no tomorrow. I would turn over heaven and earth for my kids. Two, I'm not as desensitized as I thought I would be by the end of this Nursing School journey. I had some teary moments that day but I was careful not to let my patients or their families see it. Yes...I have a heart and it burns for Nursing. And last, I'm glad I was wrong. I'm stronger than I thought and I have only Him to thank for that. I didn't think that I would make it to Preceptorship. I planned on giving it my best shot but in the back of my mind, I had a nagging feeling that I wouldn't get this far. I'm a mama of a dozen; life is hard just day to day. But...God knows best. Before I left, these Nurses had on these T-Shirts that said, "Pray for Mitchell" on the front in bold orange letters. A family needed all they prayers they could get for their loved one. That wasn't what struck me. It was the verse on the back that made me smile. He was giving me a little reminder:

Jeremiah 29:11 - 'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the LORD, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'


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