STATE OF COMMITMENT

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Ferocious Honesty. Wholehearted Truth. Plucky Candour. This is where my values belong and have for some time, sometimes getting suffocated by my own need to be a pillar of kindness, selflessness, and ever pleasing for the benefit of others. It does me no good you know, this habit of being everything for everyone, nor does it do anyone else any good. Despite being in a profession that is built on the premise of kindness, selflessness, and the best outcomes for others, that premise is nothing but an old whisper of the past – one in which nurses lived in, walked the halls til their feet bled, and were married to their vocation of selfless caring. Certain things had their place in that time, not so in this age where nurses are both men and women, mothers and fathers, and clinical specialists in their own fields with mountainous responsibilities to match. I guess that old whisper has always had a place in my mind – until now.

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For years I have been committed to everything and everyone but myself, myself has always been an afterthought and deep down I knew I would not be able to sustain it forever. At some point I was going to have to be self-caring, selfish, and put my needs first. I knew this because I say these same words to friends and colleagues who are in the same position, only not being courageous to take in on myself and stand firm in my own needs. That time is over, or will be soon as I take step by step in moulding my own life, my own career. This year I have embarked on so many things that threaten to take me out if I don’t heed my own words: research, a 2 year honours diploma, my certificate 4 in fitness, a new business centred around our long-term plan to move and work abroad, and for this my health has suffered with the lacking sleep and lacking time for my own physical fitness.

This year I have taken some steps to move away from things happening to me and into a place where things happen for me. Big difference. This move requires simple but somehow difficult steps. I’m still doing it no matter how hard the steps are. I was bold enough to ask my boss for one set day off each week so I could be mother to my two girls and be there one weekday day per week to do all those mummy chores – and I love those mummy things I really do, they will no longer be there for me to do much longer as my girls grow. I was worried that this was too big a request and that I would be denied, how wrong I was. I was granted this request with the complete understanding that I needed. I added to this my desire to work no more than 64 hours a fortnight unless I expressed the desire to on the odd occasion, or if it was dire to my workplace that I work up. That too has been put in place. I have a wonderful boss and whilst I trust and know that she looks out for her staffs’ best interests, I have a history of not feeling worthy enough – something I am really working on. It isn’t just my work life I have been working on – my physical health I have been too.

When I moved to the Sunshine Coast I had cancer, thyroid issues, chronic and severe allergy, serious and debilitating anxiety, complications from the cyst in my brain, and that was just the start of it. I was recommended by my GP a supplement I had shipped in from New Zealand that really made a big difference and I was able to stop all my prescribed medications, I gave up smoking, and lost a stack of weight. I was doing so well…until a fall at work and a slip on rocks at the beach left me with 2 fractures in my lower spine, nerve damage, and pain that is present even today. That really halted my training schedule and the weight began piling back on. Add to that a few trips to Europe and no desire to abstain from the local delicacies, a ton of self loathing about this, and I am far from where I was before. I am over the self loathing now, knowing that life happens to all of us and knowing that each day I have been doing my best just to stay afloat and keep moving forward. That said, I have also put in place changes to keep moving forward and climb the steep hill back to the fitness and wellbeing level I was at before – looming early menopause or not.

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When beginning back with my fitness journey (ughhhh – hate that word now but cant think of another), I had to be realistic in the fact that I am typical Obliger personality – no matter how much I practise not being that. So in order to get into the habit of self commitment, I have to work with it instead of against it. So I have done the following:

· Enlisted hubby to prepare healthy vegetarian meals using our fabbo cookbook

· Encouraged the kids to start thinking of all the vegetarian foods they can eat for good health and energy – and pack/choose themselves

· Earlier to bed for a good sleep – still working on this

· Monday morning walks at 530am followed by an ocean swim (ok paddle), with a friend who is also an obliger personality – and sticking to this routine no matter how I feel (I can always walk a little slower and not as far if I feel shite), and I have successfully kept this routine even if my friend doesn’t come

· Catching myself in moments of stress and taking a few deep breaths

· Actively trying to let go of the hurts others have inflicted on both me and my loved ones – still working on this

· Beginning a fitness challenge lasting 12 weeks with my beautiful inlaws from across the ditch in NZ…to make it a bit fun

I know I have a way to go before I am back where I was and in a forward motion again, but I am feeling confident in my state of commitment to myself.

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SURPRISE! We went to Europe…and the kids had no idea!

“Of all the books in the world, the best stories are found between the pages of a passport.”

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We did something completely unique, something we normally do together as a whole family but felt would lack the wonder and amazement if we shared this secret with our children. We surprised our children with a family adventure to Europe…again. Only this time we stretched whatever truth we had and led them to believe they were going to visit family in New Zealand, when in fact they would be visiting family in England instead. We talked about all the adventures we would have in NZ, explored cost and locations, looked at pictures and vloggers, and we weren’t being entirely untruthful. After all, we were going to do these things – but not for a few more months when we actually did go to NZ – so really we weren’t lying at all…maybe only by omission.

It was a tough prank to pull, particularly when the climate difference is so enormous, and I had to leave room in my suitcase (and wallet) for the extra clothing they both may need. My travel agent was in on the surprise, as were my family, friends, and colleagues…only a few of whom needed a gentle nudge in the ribs to remind them to prevent their foot from entering their mouths. It almost killed me keeping this quiet and I was close to internal combustion I am sure. Never the less, we arrived at the morning of our departure with complete composure and not one hint of what was about to occur.

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Arriving at the airport we got ourselves a bite to eat and my much-loved peppermint tea, and gave the girls their surprise packages. Included were some metro maps, Eurostar confirmations, Paris accommodation confirmation, euros and pounds, and an oyster card for travel. Whilst my little one took a long time to figure it out, my teenager burst into long sobs of gratefulness and genuine surprise lasting a good 5 minutes, and not without many puzzled onlookers. “Are we really?….I cant believe this!….Oh my goodness…I DIDN’T PACK MY MAKEUP!!!” were just some of the comments that escaped her. It really was a priceless go-pro moment (that’s if I actually owned a go pro).

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The flight was much more uneventful that the last and oh…my sister in law actually didn’t know we were coming! We had kept that as a surprise too with the help of her best friend. That surprise was amazing – walking into the restaurant and being greeted with looks of shock was amazing! My poor sister in law had mostly one thought “how am I going to say goodbye when they leave” bless her soul.

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We had an amazing 3 weeks exploring England: Stonehenge, Pluckly (Darling Buds of May), Chatham Dockyards (Call The Midwife – including seeing some of the shooting of the series and meeting cast), and many other places. We did a couple of days in Paris again, because of course that is my favourite place, and stayed near the Sacre Couer. Did I mention we love Paris? And on our way home to Australia after a very sad goodbye with our family, we spent our 24hr layover in Abu Dhabi in a very lovely hotel. I must say that all in all, my stay in the AUE was eye opening and reminded us of the scare tactics media use to try to breed hate and fear. Our time there was lovely and customer service far exceeded anything I have ever experienced here in Australia, and we were treated with complete respect and care – I have decided that we don’t spend time watching, the news anymore and any website, company, or program that has an outcome of fear and hate, will no longer be watched, read, or supported by our family anymore. Life is too short for that rot!!!

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So, I know that I haven’t gone into great detail about our trip and I have much more to share, so head over to Intrepid Nurse on Facebook and Instagram, where you can see live video, photos, and more – like and share so we can grow our life and adventure stories, and so I can connect with yours. Intrepid Nurse will soon grow to be my main travel and nursing hub and this will remain my more personal family things. Intrepid Nurse will soon follow up with a fully functional website with reviews, videos, and more.

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Big question if you will – what have you learnt by travelling to new places?

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THE ART OF CARING – a nurse in crisis

Lets face it, we are paid to care – or so says society’s conditioned perception and those black and white filtered accounts of Florence Nightingale from the 1800’s. In some circles we are vocationally entwined for eternity to this role of nurse for no pay, doing it soley for the love of it and the promise of becoming a revered saint on the ‘other side’. There are still an enormous cohort that have visions of nurses gliding through the corridors with a grace that is ever so befitting for an angel of God. Glowing and softly spoken her mere presence brings promise of good health and longevity, and you are certain that she was sent here for a divine purpose. What a perfect fairy tale that I’m about to destroy – apologies in advance if you we’re hoping for some gooey BS about nursing being a perfect way to attain bliss and an enlightened soul. Now for the real story.

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I remember looking at the nursing profession (both women and men – however I will focus this as a woman nurse because that’s what I am and I don’t pretend to be PC because this is my blog), thinking ‘Wow, what caring and self sacrificing women. I want to be that [martyr] when I finish university”. I warned you I wasn’t going to be PC. Well didn’t my perception change when I got out of my first year at university. I found a world of competitive, mostly women with awesome goals far beyond what you could dream of, and an industry that gobbles them up. That’s not to say all of its like this but I’ve seen it way more than once. If you manage to get the highly sought after graduate position that every woman and their ambition wants then you have to slog your way from being what us Aussies call ‘vegemites’ aka newbies, to someone the student nurses strive after in a short 12 months. Now I didn’t get the graduate program I had first wanted but I ended up with 3 offers where many ended up with none – palliative, medical and undecided in public and private hospitals I decided on the palliative because the others would not fit around a new found colony of cancer cells on my cervix, and I really believe I had some things to learn there. Some really tough stuff to learn.

So this glowing vision of gracefully gliding nurses soon gets a raw and real kick in the butt when reality sets in. What’s the reality you wonder? Well the reality for many of us nurses is this. We work solidly from the moment you step foot on your workplace soil, because nurses don’t start work at clock on time but in fact from the moment a potential patient or relative spot you at thirty paces in your uniform in the car park – because in the health industry nursing navy’s are like red to a bull. Then when we do finally clock on our bladders suddenly become made of impenetrable cast iron able to withstand the shock of a magnitude 7 earthquake, or at least the constant trickle of water each time you wash your hands. Lets not forget either that during a shift of 8 to 12 hours your metabolism is able to work on no food or if your lucky some snacks you left in your bag last weekend from a picnic in the park – lunch, what’s that?. Then you glide gracefully in the steaming sticky bathroom as you wash your patient, and with each step you feel a squelch in your shoes despite the well designed blue booties – and that’s a feeling you just cannot forget. I’ve been vomited on many times over the past years, in fact I think I have seen every colour and texture known to mankind or alien, and have in all honesty resisted the urge to follow suit hundreds of times. But it’s not all gore and goo, there’s all the emotional goo as well.

The emotional goo is what I know will do my head in one of these days. There is just no way you can escape the goodbyes between a young mother dying of cancer and the children who don’t recognise her and refuse to go near her. There is no way to escape the feeling of complete uselessness you feel when no amount of pain relief works to suppress the agony of another. There is no way to escape the heart wrenching guilt you feel when you reassure a relative that you will call if there loved one deteriorates only to have to call them 5 minutes after they leave to say its too late. There is no way to escape the feeling of incompetence when you make a human error, or fail to attend to every need simply because there is not enough hours in your shift to do so. But more so there is no way to escape the feelings that encompass your soul when the increasing demands of your jobs starts eating away at the bonds you have at home. You can never regain those missed awards, reading in your child’s class, school excursions or just something as simple as those first steps.

Some of you might think that I’m being a grumble guts but the point of this is to ask – who does the same for the nurse? I’m sure each of us have those moments in our nursing lives where we feel as though amidst all the caring we become invisible to the world, but it does beg an answer don’t you think? Who IS caring for those who care? Who is standing up and saying enough is enough? Who is taking their hand and walking with them through their darkest moments?

Nurses do love what they do, feel honoured to be there at those vulnerable times, and generally are grateful to be able to do what many can’t – but we are human, have feelings, have lives, have desires, have dreams, have sorrows, and have a sacred soul. This is true for me, but I have begun the process of asking myself – am I really the best nurse for this job at this time or am I being lead in a different way? A question we all should ask of ourselves.

NURSES ROCK!

Daily Prompt: Take Care

 

Daily Prompt: Take Care.

When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help?

Hmmm…good question. I’m blessed that my days of being sick, catching colds or sniffling my way through winter are far and very few between. One school of thought say that it is because I am a nurse and have developed the immune system of an ox (not that I am an expert on the functioning of an Ox’s immune system – really!). Another school of thought is that its a direct reflection of where I live – on the coast near the beach – Australias beaches are just devine! Yet another school of thought is that it is due to me eating more spinach than the average Popeye-the-Sailor-Man. But really I think it is a mixture of all of the above. But there I do – leading you all down the garden path that is my mind!

On the rare occassion that I am sick, I do let people look after me. But I am selective in that. For instance I will let my husband do anything for me (ok except fold the washing because lets face it – I am the ONLY one that can do it right – so if I am sick the washing is in the basket kids…HA!) I will let my girls do little jobs around the house, but thats the status quo anyway with the recent enforcement of chores – WINNING! And of course I will let them hug me, kiss me and pray for me until the cows come home. My mamma bear gets the obvious pleasure too of looking after me if she is nearby (now a 2hr drive away BOO!). But no one else. I have real trouble letting other people help or look after me or accepting offered help. But I will readily go help another sick person. Yes I know the whole accepting a gift speak but I feel a burden – probably comes from the many years I spent really sick.

Mostly though I soldier on. The house doesnt clean itself. My responsibilities dont go on holiday. My children dont go on auto pilot. So sometimes all there is to do is to take a spoonful of concrete and harden the * up. Yeah I said it. Sometimes you have to get out of your own way and end the pity party in boo-hoo-me street. Most of the time you feel better for having done the big girl pants dance anyway.

What would it take for me to ask for help? Well that would be if me being sick impacted on other people that relied on me for something – period – thats it. Now lets hope talking about all this illness doesnt summon the wrath of the bug fairies. A little affirmation to close maybe?

I AM WELL. I AM INFINITELY HEALTHY. I HAVE AN AMAZING IMMUNE SYSTEM. MURPHYS LAWS ARE NOT REAL.

Everybody Be Well and AWEOSME!!!

TAM 🙂

MOVED BY MANDELA

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Nelson Mandela (Photo credit: Festival Karsh Ottawa)

Just a revisit….

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening or good night – fellow AWESOMERS! Just thought I would put that in since I have followers now from all over this beautiful world – especially in the US…shout out hello to all of you.

So it is afternoon here and I am on my day 2 of 4 of afternoon shifts this afternoon (nurse speak) and decided I would try to fit in a bit of study before I head to work (because lets face it – full time shift work, family, kids, training and my extra role just doesnt fill my time enough so lets take up some study pffttt – yeah I know stoopid idea but hey – someones gotta trial stoopid stuff might as well be me. Im actually going for the guiness book of records for the person who can fit the most into a life – anyone want to race me for the title?). And I re-read the answer to one of the questions and thought I would share it here…

TASK:

Google search under historic speeches and locate a famous motivational speech which inspires you. Analyse in 200 words why this speech interests you and why you find it motivating.

ANSWER:

The speech I chose was the Dali Lama’s Peace Prize acceptance speech – http://www.spiritual-endeavors.org/peace/dalilama.htm

Dalai Lama’s Peace Prize Acceptance Speech

Your Majesty, Member of the Nobel Committee, Brothers and Sisters:

I am very happy to be here with you today to receive the Nobel Prize for peace. I feel honored, humbled, and deeply moved that you should give this important prize to a simple monk from Tibet. I am no one special. But I believe the prize is a recognition of the true value of altruism, love, compassion, and nonviolence which I try to practice, in accordance with the teachings of the Buddha and the sages of India and Tibet. I accept the prize with profound gratitude on behalf of all of the oppressed everywhere and for all those who struggle for freedom and work for world peace. I accept it as a tribute to the man who founded the modern tradition of nonviolent action for change- Mahatama Gandhi-whose life taught and inspired me. And, of course, I accept it on behalf of the six million Tibetan people, my brave countrymen and women inside Tibet, who have suffered and continue to suffer so much. They confront a calculated and systematic strategy aimed at the destruction of their national and cultural identities. The prize reaffirms our conviction that with truth, courage, and determination as our weapons, Tibet will be liberated.

No matter what part of the world we come from, we are all basically the same human beings. We all seek happiness and try to avoid suffering. We have basically the same human needs and concerns. All of us human beings want freedom and the right to determine our own destiny as individuals and as peoples. That is human nature. The great changes that are taking place in the world, from Eastern Europe to Africa, are a clear indication of this. …

… As a Buddhist monk, my concern extends to all members of the human family and, indeed, to all the sentient beings who suffer. I believe all suffering is caused by ignorance. People inflict pain on others in the selfish pursuit of their happiness or satisfaction.

Yet true happiness comes from a sense of peace and contentment, which in turn must be achieved through the cultivation of altruism, of love and compassion, and elimination of ignorance, selfishness, and greed.

The problems we face today, violent conflicts, destruction of nature, poverty, hunger, and so on, are human created problems which can be resolved through human effort, understanding, and a development of a sense of brotherhood and sisterhood. We need to cultivate a universal responsibility for one another and the planet we share. Although I have found my own Buddhist religion helpful in generating love and compassion, even for those we consider our enemies, I am convinced that everyone can develop a good heart and a sense of universal responsibility with or without religion.

With the ever-growing impact of science in our lives, religion and spirituality have a greater role to play reminding us of our humanity. There is no contradiction between the two. Each gives us valuable insights into each other. Both science and the teaching of the Buddha tell us of the fundamental unity of all things. This understanding is crucial if we are to take positive and decisive action on the pressing global concern with the environment.

I believe all religions pursue the same goals, that of cultivating human goodness and bringing happiness to all human beings. Though the means may appear different, the ends are the same.

As we enter the final decade of this century, I am optimistic that the ancient values that have sustained mankind are today reaffirming themselves to prepare us for a kinder, happier twenty-first century.

I pray for all of us, oppressor and friend, that together we succeed in building a better world through human understanding and love, and that in doing so we may reduce the pain and suffering of all sentient beings.

Thankyou.

Tenzin Gyatso

14th Dalai Lama of Tibet December 10, 1989, Oslo, Norway, Earth

 

In his speech the Dali Lama highlights that we are essentially all equal. No matter your race, religion, skin colour, economic standing, history, etc – we are all HUMAN and no less value than another. He discusses and outlines that we all search for the same things – we search for happiness, and to avoid suffering . I find this part of his speech motivating because it reminds us that at the core of it we are all humans and despite the “stuff” we get distracted by in our day to day lives, we all have commonalities of wanting happiness and freedom, but we all feel pain and suffering the same. A reminder that is quite necessary in the hustle and bustle of daily 1st world life.

He then highlights that ignorance, selfishness and greed is a great cause of much of the worlds suffering, and impresses the importance of cultivating a universal responsibility, elimination of ignorance, and a cultivation of altruism through human effort in addressing suffering of all kinds throughout the world.

So overall I find this speech very motivating for me because it reminds me of why I wanted to nurse in the first place – and that is to do my absolute best to reduce suffering of others and to be of service, and to do it through the brotherhood and sisterhood of the health system, and society as a whole.

I think sometimes it is important to revisit our motives behind our choices and paths in life to ensure that we are doing it for the right reasons. I have enjoyed revisiting this because it reminds me of why I do what I do and what I am shooting into the future for. It helps on those days when my “vocation” as a nurse is especially difficult physically or emotionally, and helps in those times when I have to advocate for what is ethical.

One person alone cannot do everything, but one person can be a catalyst, a “helper”, a contributor in everything. Together we can shape our world and ourselves.

Just a side note that I feel really needs to be addressed as a nurse (relating to some of the blogs/comments I have read elsewhere) – there are times when you will come across incompetent health care workers and feel like the health system is conspiring against you in your time of suffering and distress. Just remember that this is rarely the case and complaining about this does not change the outcome – be part of the solution not part of the problem. The time it takes for a “on the floor” nurse to deal with you complaining about wait lists, etc…is the time they could be caring for your loved one. Where are you putting your energy – if you want something changed go about acting in a positive way to help that change – you are not JUST one person – you ARE one person…big difference.

Everybody You ARE AWESOME!!!

TAM 🙂