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Aug 18, 2016

The trauma of being a relief trauma nurse

I had written this and posted it to Facebook, about a month ago. I am reposting it because I have come across another situation as a volunteer trauma relief nurse, where I couldn't save a 17 year old boy. Please don't get this confused. I am not blaming myself right now. But I cannot stop thinking about his 22 year old brother who I saved, who will wake up, or has woken up, to find out that his brother is dead.

So...

How do you code a patient and then leave, without the baggage?
Other nurses, medics, cops, etc. Please tell me: How am I supposed to GO HOME, and actually BE HOME?

I can leave the situation, physically, but emotionally I can't. I can't go back, and I can't move forward.  I get stuck.

I can't shut it off, even after its played out.  So where is this mysterious, "turn off" button after a code or rapid response?

No matter how many times this has happened, I seem to take it all on, and internalize it for a while. Even after I leave, I am still there with my patient.

Between different jobs and experiences, I have not yet learned how to leave a tragic/unexpected situation behind me. If I couldn't save them, I blame myself.  If I did save them, I feel too much empathy and worry about them at home. i can't leave my patients. I wonder if I ever will.

I came home and cried recently, not just once but throughout the whole day. And I cried myself to sleep. My poor fiance has dealt with my anxiety and night terrors and I am so lucky to have him, but I wish no one had to deal with this. 

My patient had very calmly told me that she was going to die. And then started to look very scared. She grabbed my hand and asked me to stay with her.  While assessing her she went into sudden onset of acute distress that required rapid response.

Although my heart always races in the moment, my interventions are not the "difficult part" for me. It's the aftermath and even after I stabilize them I am haunted by what they went through, and what they may still be feeling.

I held her hand after rapid intervention, we were not out of the woods yet but I knew that I at least bought her some more time. I made her keep eye contact with me during and after I intervened. I kept telling her that she's okay, and that I am not leaving. Although emotional, that wasn't the difficult part either.

She expressed intense anxiety throughout the situation, and I began to internalize it.  I get too attached and I begin to feel,  what I think the patients feel.  This happens with every response, every patient.

Her face was tense, her hand was tightly clenching mine, the sound of her struggle to breathe -  That was the MOST difficult part of everything and it always is.. no matter what the situation. And that is what plays on repeat in my head, when I am "home"

Whatever it is - this empathic transference of suffering and anxiety - it lingers. And as I toss and turn, the sounds and the images feel real,  as if they are still happening, and I am still with my patient.

Maybe for others this mostly only happen during unsuccessful codes and responses? I can only speak for myself, that the panic I feel happens with any outcome,  and strange enough,  it is most severe after I preserve a life. 

I noticed that my state of anxiety and depression doesn't happen when I provide end of life care to dying patients. When a patient dies in a more peaceful and predictable way, it is sad and I care very much,  but I also feel that they are not suffering anymore which puts me at ease.

It is not even death that triggers my emotional spiraling.  it happens when the situation is unexpected, and when the patient suddenly experiences inconsolable anxiety or physical suffering. And even when I safe their lives I cannot stop wondering if they are okay now when I am home and cannot help them anymore. I try so hard to distract myself but I always put myself in their shoes and I panic.

The patient had asked me not to let her die. And I didn't let her. She did not die, and I did my job. I am well aware of that.  But it didn't stop the emotion I felt afterward.

I have spent so much of my personal time, not only replaying these situations in my head,  but wondering if patients  still felt that anxiety after the fact, if they will have to go through it again,  and how bad that must feel.

It must be indescribable, knowing that you're in a life threatening situation, and knowing that you are helpless. So you watch the nurse run to the crash cart and rush back to stick you with needles, force oxygen into you, nebulizers, machines, tubing, wires, rigorously checking vitals - do they see everything little thing happening? That must be traumatic, and whatever I feel when I put myself in their shoes probably doesn't even compare. But the way I feel still breaks my heart, no matter what patient, no matter what job, no matter what outcome.

And sometimes one situation makes me think of another, and then I think of my first "rapid response" - my Aunt Sue.
I moved in with her when I was 15. It was just the two of us. And we were close my whole life.  I woke up one day and found her on her back in the living room, barely breathing. She looked like she was already gone, despite the loud struggles to breath. She was in a coma from an unexpected massive brain hemorrhage. There was nothing they could do. But I stayed with her. I was there.

"Maybe if I had been a nurse at that time, maybe I could have successfully saved her.  Maybe I could have. I would have.  I should have."
But I know that's not so.

I still became a nurse. And now I am not only employed as one, but I am a  volunteer trauma/disaster nurse. Was this against better judgement?! I really don't know. But I am good at it. And there is a lot more to the job that isn't mentioned here. This is one struggle, one negative impact that I need to learn how to cope with,  but the positives things outweigh this by far.

   I accepted my Aunt's passing on, a long time ago. But for a while, I did ask myself, "Could I have done more? Did I miss something? Could I have acted sooner?"

I am starting to realize that I ask myself the same questions about my patients.
I want to be able to shut that off, the noise of the aftermath, but I do not know how. I try and will keep trying, but It isn't as simple as just lifting the pin on a broken record.

I DO know, that I am a good nurse. But I hate the fact that I cannot have complete control over every outcome. I want every patient to live. I want no patient to suffer.  Yet I know that I am not God.

Wanting those things for everyone is nice, but at the same time, it is extremely irrational, and beyond stressful.

Do other people feel this way?  Or am I just simply crazy!?

Well I have no idea what types of responses I will get, if any,  but it sure felt good to get that all out.

Aug 17, 2016

MY BRIDEZILLA STORY (by Kerry Lynne)

I just saw a wedding photo that captured people smiling SOOO BIG and WIDE that I wondered if they'd taped their lips back to keep their mouths from flying off their faces in ecstasy...

ANYWAY. This got me thinking.

When I first got engaged last year, a friend told me that my wedding would make me see a truly different side of myself.
"Is that a good or a bad thing?" I asked.

"Hard to say. You'll have unrealistic expectations. And you will get angry when things don't go your way. We all become BRIDEZILLAS, Kerry."

When she said that to me, I tried to imagine myself as a bridezilla.. knocking tables over and throwing cake at everyone while simultaneously shoving it into people's mouths and tackling all of the servers to the ground and screaming, "DAMN IT THIS IS WHITE CHOCOLATE I THOUGHT I TOLD YOU DARK CHOCOLATE YOU F***ING T***S F*** YOU ALL IN THE A******* WITH WHITE CH*C*LATE D****!!!!!!!"

Ah, yes. that sounds just like me!

OH!!! OMG!!!
I THINK I JUST HAD A SARCASM!

Growing up, when I thought about getting married, I don't recall significant thoughts about the actual wedding.
I just wondered about my future husband.. what would HE be like?
Will he be funny?
Will he be kind?
Will he be an abusive and sadistic wife beater due to my deep seeded psychological issues?!?!
WILL HE AT LEAST HAVE A BEARD!?!?

And now here I am engaged to a man with a beard who is not a sociopath and has no criminal record!!

But, I'd never opened a wedding magazine in my life, I had no idea wtf I was doing.

AND THEN, it hit me.... I thought:
What if my friend was right?! What if everything goes wrong!? What if I accidentally plan a bat mitzvah!?!?

What if this wedding DOES bring out the worst in me?

What if I become demonically possessed?
DO PEOPLE STILL DO EXORCISMS OR IS THERE A MEDICATION FOR THAT NOW?!?!

WHAT IF I HAVE A PSYCHOTIC BREAK AND DO SOMETHING REALLY CRAZY.. LIKE EAT MY OWN HEAD?!?!

* Bride's first breakdown *
..Isn't that supposed to be about flowers and sh*t!?

AND THEN came the MOST outrageous thought! What if I become A BRIDEZILLA!?

DEAR GOD NO! EVERY BRIDEZILLA REMINDS ME OF URSULA!!!
That monstrous octopus from The Little Mermaid!!

I had nightmares about her when I was a kid! I feared that she was in every ocean, every pool, and every toilet! SHE COULD HAVE BIT MY ASS!!!

She was not only creepy with her scary face, crazy hair, and floppy boobs. Worst of all - SHE WORKED IN THE BLACK MARKET AS AN ORGAN-STEALING OCTOPUS!!!

SHE STOLE A LARYNX FROM A LIVING PERSON (fish/woman)

And Disney made that GRUESOME concept look like a FAIRYTALE...

And that is EERILY SIMILAR to a bridezilla/dream wedding concept! A nice fairy-tale wedding, that makes marrying an insanely selfish tw*tzilla appear to be less gruesome.. but let's face it, THAT GROOM IS DOOMED!

She'll likely kill him and put his balls in a freezer for her own use at a later time.

Anywho...

The whole thought of me becoming an organ stealing octo-tw*t bride faded away.

Because, when I actually started planning with loved ones, I really was exactly like myself.  How was I supposed to know, that would be THE ACTUAL problem!?

Now a year later, I've finally seen a clearer "view" of myself. I had an eye opening moment of introspection, as I looked at myself in the spoon I held...

I was right about one thing - I certainly do not resemble a selfish octozilla.
Unfortunately, I grossly identify MORE with inanimate objects, like doormats.

IS THERE A MEDICATION FOR THAT?
...IS THIS SH*T EVEN DIAGNOSABLE?!

I never thought weddings were, "all about the bride" and I still don't. It's equally about the groom's beard.

We are both paying for it, planning it, and marrying each other. HIS BEARD AND I.

But then I accidently made it about everyone else.

Ideally, I wanted EVERYONE to be happy, including us. But there was a problem: These were, "unrealistic expectations."  The ones my friend said I'd have.

It wasn't long before I was unknowingly bending too much for others. And when you do that constantly, people expect you to keep doing it.. whether you realize it, or they realize it, or not.

What I've realized, is that I never did that for my fiance. I would in a heart beat, but he never asked me to. Whenever I'd discuss the wedding with him, I'd never regret not saying or doing what I truly wanted. He never acted like he knew better.

There was a lot of tension between certain loved ones, which lead me to walk on eggshells as to not make things worse.

When I finally realized that we were spending thousands of dollars to bend over backwards, I attempted to, "put my foot down" which was useless. There was so much push back, it was overwhelming. My foot never actually reached the ground. It just hung in mid air, and nervously flailed around.

My attempts over an entire year were becoming less pathetic, but still unsuccessful. And still, another year to go. I became angry and sarcastic, especially when having conversations with myself...

"OH LOOK KERRY!"
"AT WHAT KERRY?!"
"THE PERFECT SHIT STORM KERRY!"
"YES KERRY ITS BREATH TAKING! IT MAY JUST KILL ME!"
"WISHFUL THINKING KERRY"
"INDEED KERRY"
"HURRY KERRY! TAKE PICTURES!"
"YES KERRY! LET US CAPTURE THIS MOMENT BEFORE IT ENDS IN 2017!!!"
"YES WE MUST KERRY! WE ONLY HAVE ANOTHER ENTIRE YEEEEAAAR BEFORE ITS GONE OHHHH DO HURRY!!!" 

How did things get this bad? Where did all of this sh*t even come from!? I asked myself.

The sh*t must have come from a very dark, evil place. PERHAPS IT CAME FROM THE ASSHOLE OF SATAN HIMSELF!!

Truthfully, I didn't care WHO'S ASSHOLE it came from! I just wanted it to stop. It was worse than white chocolate -  which is an abomination unto God! ITS NOT REAL CHOCOLATE!!

I always knew that being a push-over was an issue OF MINE. But I guess I didn't know it was THIS BAD.

I've been this way my whole life. Even as a baby. My first words were, "ALL welcome to step on me because I must make everybody happy even when it makes me sad hooray for being pathetic can I get a pity party MMM CAKE"

YEAH I KNOW IT WAS A RUN ON SENTENCE. I WAS LIKE 18 MONTHS OLD. STFU.

Although being considerate of the bride should be common sense, I can't expect people to be mind readers while I pretended that stepping on my toes didn't hurt. I had to throw away my insecurities and speak up until they listened. That meant dealing with their anger in the short term so things would be understood.

At first, I don't think people expected to see this "side" of me. And I didn't either.

I was angry and hurt. So, I didn't put my best foot forward. But I am proud of myself, for not shoving it up anyone's ass.

I felt like I did the wrong thing, but now I believe that I did the best I could. Sometimes, doing the right thing can feel wrong when you're not used to it. I was not used to standing up for myself. 

I am now working on putting this behind me, forgiving, and learning from it.

I stopped asking myself questions about why people treat me this way or that way.

The real question is: Why do I let them?

I started thinking of how many people I have put above myself. Unlike my loved ones in this situation, most of the people I have put above me, in whole my life, were not good people.

I always had this idiotic belief that when people do hurtful things, that I should be understanding. OHH THEY ARE JUST HAVING A BAD DAY! EVERYDAY...

I used to befriend a lot of horrible people. And I've dated a good amount of people who treated me like dirt. I thought that every single Spawn of Satan out there is capable of being good, and I had always made excuses about why I let them stay in my life

"YOU GUYS JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND.. THIS PERSON IS A DOUCHEBAG BUT I SEE POTENTIAL! WHY JUST THE OTHER DAY, DOUCHEBAG APOLOGIZED FOR THE 283838388TH TIME! THIS TIME DOUCHEBAG MEANS IT!!! THERE IS A GREAT, BIG, WONDERFUL PERSON, DEEP INSIDE OF THAT DOUCHEBAG!"

......…............ Yeah I tried not to go there but I did.

If you know me enough, then you probably realized by now that I'm JUST LIKE Mother Teresa!
EXCEPT I am a total trainwreck version of her...with a deep seeded need to please people...and a foul mouth...and I have way less wisdom and way more emotional problems.... which now require weekly therapy....
SO BASICALLY I'M AWESOME.

But on the bright side, after all of this - I love my fiancé even more. I love that even with all the chaos around us, we are still the same US. We'd get so overwhelmed together, but then lay next to each other laughing. I wouldn't even want a nice, calm wedding if I meant I could not have him. Ideally I want both, but I want him more than anything, and I always will.

Maybe, all of those happy people, in those happy pictures... Maybe they were happy because, that actually matters!

So what have I learned thus far!? I'm not a bridezilla. Yet I won't be a push-over, not anymore. And I shall not steal anybody's organs.

THE END

Jan 11, 2014

To a power greater than myself

I wrote a letter today. I put it in the box that I keep letters to Aunt Sue. This one wasn't specifically for her, it was to any kind of power greater than myself...

"Please guide me, help me to overcome my weaknesses. Help me become better, greater, stronger, and wiser. Help me love and treat others the best that I can, and please help me show the same greatness, the same kindness, to myself."





Dec 2, 2013

Racism

Choosing to be racist in this day and age is old news. It's like choosing to sh*t outside when you have indoor plumbing.

HEY! Why use a toilet when you can do it old school and sh*t in a hole in your backyard? By choice!?
Yeah, it's a way of the past, and so it makes no sense to do that now.

It's the same thing with a racist mindset. You are living in the past, for what reason? Choosing to view the world with closed eyes, a closed mind, and a cold heart.. how is that beneficial to anyone? Including yourself?

There's no intelligent reasoning behind racism. It's straight up ignorant.

The way I see it, being racist is being lazy. It's the lack of motivation and will power to open up your mind. I don't care if you grew up with racist parents. I don't care if your whole town is racist. Grow up, be stronger than that, and choose to think like an individual. If they all jumped off a bridge would you? If you say yes then you're probably better off.

Check out the video below for the latest shenanigan. I think it's safe to say that ignorance and racism is still very much a part of this world today, and it's quite disheartening. But at least more and more people are seeing it for what it really is, pathetic and wrong.

http://www.addictinginfo.org/2013/12/02/landry-thompson-dancer-arrested/

Anyway, that's just my two cents.



What did one racist say to the other?
I DON'T KNOW, 
CAUSE I DON'T F*CKING LISTEN TO NONSENSE.










Nov 22, 2013

Poem by K. Lynne - Untitled


So uh, this one doesn't have a title. I don't think I should give it one until I think of a good one. It's one of those poems that has a lot of meaning, and that's why you'll probably read it and be all like, 
"I NO UNDERSTAND YOU KERRY!"
But I dig it, you know, cause I wrote it, so I get it, and stuff.


There and back,
Up and down
The radiance 
Is burning out


Don't let them down 
Stay with them now

But that glimmer I've got
It's fading out

Time takes me away
Every now and then
But I don't have to go
I don't have to go just yet

Try to hold
Onto this hope
It's everything
That's what I'm told

Don't let them down
Stay with them now
But that vibe I had
It's burning out

And it takes me away
Every now and then

And I never know 
When I'll be back again
But I cannot come home 
Not just yet


There and back
Up and down


-K. Lynne