Treating each other…

As I continue to go in to work week after week, I realize that I fall more and more in love with the staff I work with! Some of the most remarkable, wonderful human beings on the planet grace the halls of our hospital.

When you consider the kind of work, and the nature of the jobs in health care, you would think that everyone would be compassionate, patient, kind, etc. Essentially, paragons of virtue. According to the almighty Gallup polls, Americans rate nurses as the most trustworthy professionals, with 80% rating nurses as being very high in honesty and ethics. Medical doctors are second, with 65% earning that “very high” standard in terms of ethics and honesty. High standards indeed, and with good reason. When you are working with people in the most difficult times of their lives, you have be pretty darned ethical.

So, when you think of it, my co-workers are a pretty high quality just by the nature of their jobs. However, I really think that my current job has hit the jackpot. My current position is one which involves some supervisory responsibilities. As such, I am better getting to know some of the other people in our division that I have been working with for some time, and wow, let me tell you! Such remarkable people, all of them! We have single parents, working 12-hour shifts, 3 and 4 times a week. We have people going through advanced education at the same time as working full-time. We have people who come in to work a night shift after 4-6 hours in school earlier in the day, and are just as bright and cheerful as can be. We have lovely young people, some in their first “real” jobs, who are so energized and enthusiastic, and so special in their efforts to make a difference to these patients. We have some older people who have been nurses or certified nurse assistants for years, who still exude their passion for the career. We have men and women, all who bring their personal experiences into the job, making them even better and more wonderful in the care they give to the patients. We have people who have been patients themselves, seriously ill or injured, who later decided to get into a career in health care, bringing their unique experience and viewpoints with them. We have people who champion healthy living, and are wonderful ambassadors of our profession. People who deal with stress with compassion, with humor, with fantastic teamwork. People who prank each other, and still have each other’s backs in the heat of moment. People who can be joking and silly with each other one moment, and amazingly professional and respectful to distraught patients and family members the next. Chameleons, magicians, advocates, teachers, humorists, humanitarians and brilliant multi-taskers.

I look at my place among all of these phenomenal people, and I am so very proud to be a part of this amazing group. Seeing the care, the compassion, and the amazing patience these remarkable professionals, young and old, share with every person they interact with is just so incredible to watch. I hope only that each of them, each of us, is capable of treating ourselves, and each other, as well as we treat these people who so highly regard us. Because each of these individuals deserves that same high regard, that same patience, and that same compassion.

To all of my co-workers, both present and recent past: I LOVE YOU GUYS!!!!

People are strange….

“You’re too tall”. “You’re too short”. “You’re too fat”. “You’re too skinny”. You’re too……old, young, smart, stupid, your hair is the wrong color, your hair is too long/short, you have tattoos, you have piercings, you don’t wear the right clothes, you don’t live in the right neighborhood, you should eat organic, you should shop American, your house is too small, your house is too big, you are still single, you don’t have children, you have too many children……….

Think of all of the negative ideas that are being thrown at us by the universe. All of the ways that our own, denigrating society is trying to tell us that we aren’t good enough. That we are somehow failures because we are “too” something as demonstrated in paragraph number one (hmmm, too verbose? 🙂 ) Think of the fact that, not only are we as adults being subjected to these ridiculous standards, but so are our children, and the younger members of our society. And where exactly did these standards come from? Some superficially impossible standards that have set us all up for failure based on the idea that all women should be 25, 5’10” and 120 pounds? Some insulated society that can’t handle the view of non-airbrushed people, and who feel that natural aging is “unfortunate”?

True beauty is up to individual interpretation. And as such, it is the same as art; it is truly in the eye of the beholder. So for those who find the only beautiful people to be those who are sculpted and surgically altered to the point of Barbie-doll perfection, that is all just fine and dandy. But that ain’t what I think of in terms of art or beauty. I live in Northern Nevada. I am surrounded by what I consider beauty (I’m fortunate though; I have found something beautiful about everywhere I’ve lived, from east coast to west, out of the U.S. and within it). I am surrounded by mountains, and trees, and stars, and sunrises and sunsets, and beautiful lakes and gorgeous snow in the winter.

But when it comes to art, I feel even more blessed. Because everyone in my life, every person I meet, is a work of art. All of those things alluded to in the first paragraph, all of those “too”s, just make that art even more spectacular. Because no two pieces of this art are alike, and that in itself is something stunningly beautiful.

My nieces and I had a discussion a few days ago about the word “strange”. Because they were under the impression that this was somehow a negative word. But, how is that true? “Strange” means “unique”, and different, and of a singular sensation. Yes, each of them is “strange”, just as I am as well, and as everyone in this world is. And there is no such universal insult as “too strange”, ever. All of us are just the right amount of our own strange!

With all of the negative rumblings we receive from the universe, love is rebellion; self-love is even more rebellious, happiness is a revolution—and I’ve always been a bit of a deviant!

To misquote the great Jim Morrison: People are strange, when you’re a stranger; faces are lovely, and we’re never alone! 🙂


The boundary of imagination…

So, I took my 4 year old twin nieces for an ice skating lesson today. One of the wonders of spending time with children is getting to be in on so many “firsts” for them! I got to take them to their first rodeo; their first merry-go-round and roller coaster rides; their first time at the zoo; their first “hike” (about 0.4 of a mile, to a waterfall, but that’s a hike for 3 year olds!); taking them to learn to ski, to bowl, to swim. Now ice skating. As with most things, one of them took to it a little quicker than the other; but both of them were so very determined and bold, it just made me proud!

Afterwards, on the way home (and to get some hot cocoa!), they were talking about what they want to be when they grow up. Maya wants to be a figure skater, and a princess. Oh, and a ballerina. And later a doctor, like her mom. Emery wants to be a pairs figure skater, because the girl “gets to fly”! And a downhill skier who goes really fast. Oh yeah, and a ballerina. And another doctor. The wonderful, tentative, ever-changing grownup goals of four year olds!

But, think about it: what keeps us, as adults from continuing to have such grandiose dreams? Has the universe really quelled our enthusiasm? Is it “reality” to know that we’ll probably never be an artist, a dancer, a published author, an entertainer; or is it the oppression of societal expectations and our own mind? Really, the boundary of our capabilities is really limited only by our imaginations. What we dream, truly dream, what we are passionate about, we truly can achieve. We just let the idea of “reality” oppress us into giving up, or even more sadly, not even trying.

There is so much of a child’s wonder and enthusiasm that I wish we didn’t seem to lose as adults. The ability to believe that anything is possible is just one of those things. And that we are much more than some easily defined and categorized creature in a plain box. Heck, didn’t the “Breakfast club” already teach us all that we are so much more complex than the labels assigned to us by society?

So, as adults, shouldn’t we be able to find a compromise between “reality” and passionate dreams? I think we can. Will I ever be a prima ballerina in the Bolshoi? Nope, but I can crank up my radio and shake my booty, and enjoy the abandon of dancing around with happiness. Will I ever be Jack Kerouac or Toni Morrison? Nope, but I can certainly string together sentences and paragraphs and get thoughts and ideas out in written communication (thanks, WordPress! 😉 ) And will I ever be an Olympic athlete? Nope, but I can appreciate that my body is in better shape now than it was 20 years ago, and do everything in my power to keep it like that.

For those who’s dreams have died, I am sincerely sorry. But for those who may still have the spark, I say continue to go for your dreams. Yes, maybe you will have to downgrade them slightly; but there is nothing to prevent you from enjoying the heck out of what life is bringing your way at this point, and making your current reality your dreams come true! Rebel against reality, and become the princess you truly are!!