Saturday, September 24, 2011

first edition

Publishing a book is quite a process. First the fun part: writing. Then the work: editing. Art for the cover: fun. Editing the cover text for typos: work. 

Now waiting for the galley... the first edition: suspense. 

Soon it will be done, ready, & for sale. Then what will happen?

nurses care?

... or: The Battle of the Nurse Theorists.

I got buttons. "Nurses care" is one of them. Been trying to figure out why.

Martha Rogers v Jean Watson. Watson is all about caring. Nurses care.

Nurses respect patients' dignity, privacy, and autonomy. Mais oui. But is respect caring? I completely support treating patients with respect. I agree that we advocate for patients, supporting their right to autonomy. We must be courteous, respectful, nonjudgmental, tolerant, and polite. We must be culturally competent.

But must we care?

My employer may tell me how to dress and how to behave, but may my employer tell me how to feel?

That's my problem. That's my issue, my button.

I care about my family and friends. I love them. Frequently there is an internal shift, and I care about my patients and students. But. And this is a big but. I totally object to being ordered to care.

Martha Rogers said that caring is ubiquitous. We all care. Of course we care. That was her stance. Peh. Wave of hand. Like handwashing and clean linens: of course we care. Why bother to discuss it?

Why build a whole theory, a whole system around that? Around caring. As nurses, we own "caring"? Does that mean other team members don't care? Physicians, pharmacists, physical therapists... they don't care? Housekeepers, nutritionists, respiratory therapists: don't care. Is that what you're saying?

Yeah, I don't buy that.

As a professional, I pledge to treat each patient fairly, equitably, respectfully, and courteously. I will do my utmost to make each patient, family member, & coworker happy. Isn't that enough? What, I have to "care" about them too?

Nope. That's too much. Over the line. I have a professional boundary and it's right there.

I will do my utmost for my patients, their family members, and my coworkers- but caring- that's for my family and friends. You can't make me care for my patients. Darn it, I will anyway, but you can't make me!

Friday, September 23, 2011

the biopsy

My cheek itches.

I've had a couple of spots on my forehead, for a couple of years. My NP & I weren't sure what they were, so I saw a dermatologist. The appointment? Took a couple of months. The office? Gorgeous.

Are you in medical school and wondering about a specialty? Go derm.

The office was in an abandoned mill. All gorgeous brick, old wood, tile, black metal sculptures, and exposed pipes. The office uniform? Black scrubs. Chic. Staff: perky, cheerful, and agreeable.

My biggest pre-appointment worry: would I have to disrobe? Photos?

Don't worry! She's just looking at your face!

The spots, meh. Nothing. But, wait, hmmm. What about that freckle on your cheek...

Biopsy. So I reclined. Did Reiki on myself, called in my guides and angel. Was totally relaxed when the medical technician (not a nurse? why not? are we too expensive?) injected lido, "Just a pinch!"

The PA approached and asked, "Can you feel anything sharp?"


More lido. No sharpness. She punched out a chunk of my flesh, cauterized the capillaries who were bleeding excessively, and stitched me. "Come back in one week for suture removal!"

"Oh, I can do that myself, OK?"

"OK! Gee, that's bleeding a lot. I'm just going to put a bulky pressure bandage on that, OK? You can take it off in an hour."

OK. And then I was off to shop, in search of venetian blind wands. Found them. yay. 

Monday, September 19, 2011


I love the summer sun and flowers. Beach and gardens. I planted sunflowers and morning glories.

The sunflowers shout hello to the neighbors. The morning glories climb up the summerhouse, twine around the cedar trees, and fling themselves over the back fence.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


Is summer over? Appears to be. Days are 60 and sunny, nights dipping into the 30s: risk of frost.

The garden is still a riot of zinnias, nasturtiums, and morning glories. Eating squash, roasted squash seeds, and green beans. Carrots are still in the ground. Waiting for a fresh crop of spinach.

I spent the summer thusly. At the beach studying for a CNE exam, reading novels, and swimming. Passed the exam. Read Nuala O'Faolain and caught up on my magazines.. starting at January. Went to the teen camp and worked double shifts every day, up at night too. Didn't do any spinning there, or crack open a single book. Did learn how to manage exercise-induced asthma and loss-of-consciousness due to heat and dehydration. Listened to The Cars, the Avett Brothers, Mumford & Sons, and Bob Dylan. Edited my book. Looked for a dog. Someone to keep Fluff company while I was at work.

Found a dog. Adopted her. For a month. It didn't work out and I took her back.

She came from a horse farm near the coast. Horses, dogs, and kids. There was one dog, Otis, half Great Dane and half elephant. There were miniature greyhounds and Australian shepherds. One of the shepherds was beating up on Lucy, a Walker Hound. She came from a shelter in North Carolina. I brought her home.

She'd been beaten. She startled at loud noises. Cowered and craved affection. I gave her plenty. Once I was reading a magazine and she cuddled up close. I raised the magazine as she curled up against me, but when she saw the raised magazine she began to shake and shiver. Ah. Someone hit her with a rolled up newspaper or magazine.

She was OK til I went back to work. Then she got anxious and chewed up my stuff. I'd come home from work to find a pile of chewed magazines, knitting, fleece, and pens in the middle of the living room. Urine & feces too. She and Fluff snarled at each other constantly.

I took her back to her family. The dogs and kids were happy to see her. She was happy too. The mom was apologetic, resigned, sorry it didn't work out. Me too.

Summer. I mowed the lawn, walked the dogs, went to the Farmer's Market. I tended the garden and baked in the sun. I picked peas, summer squash, zucchini, cilantro, and potatoes.

I had company: friends and relatives. I swam in the river with my friend and her dog. I rested.

Now it's back to work. Back to the marathon that is a school year. Back to the amazing awakening that happens when a person becomes a nurse.

And always, every day: Reiki.

Lately I think this about Reiki. What are we doing? We are awakening the client. We stimulate intuition.

Reiki is the best favorite part of my life.

Got a new book coming out. How I teach Reiki. It will be out in time for Christmas and Hanukah.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reiki today

Did Reiki today and had an aha moment.

As we shared Reiki, I kept seeing the client's third eye flick open. Reiki was raising the client's vibration, lighting the way, helping the client see her path. Reiki  helped the client achieve insight and optimal health.

Nurse theorist Margaret Newman says that health is the expansion of consciousness. Yeah, we were expanding today.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Todd Engel of BookLocker designed the cover for the new book. I sent him a watercolor painting, text, and photos; he selected colors and type and created beauty. 

Friday, September 9, 2011

Thursday, September 1, 2011


Sunflowers are flat. I felt like a discombobulated zombie. 74 hours without power. Let me explain.

Hurricane Irene. Well, Tropical Storm Irene by the time she arrived here in Lewiston, Maine. Still, we noticed. People shopped extensively the days before, as we had plenty of warning. Batteries, water, generators, milk, bread, and beer went off the shelves and into carts and cars.

I was poo poo. Prob some rain and that's it. I went to the beach the day before. It was hot, sunny, and deserted. No one! Everyone shopping and tidying their yards.

Yeah. I should have been doing that. I should have taken down my windchimes, the fabric canopy over my deck, and the broken outdoor light. I did put the lawn chairs in the garage and the pots of petunias down in a protected corner.

The rain started around midnight. It rained all day, and the wind picked up. It blew like a train. The clouds swirled. I saw a patch of blue sky, then a big gray cloud came over, and a big wind. It picked up the canopy over my deck and shredded it into Tibetan prayer flags. Then another patch of blue sky. Then more gray clouds, wind, and rain.

I took the dogs out. Lucy was afraid of the wind and thunder. She shivered, tucked her tail, and stuck to my legs. I did storm yoga in the summer house, tripping over Lucy.

I hoped the power wouldn't go out. It was way more rainy and windy than I'd planned on. I filled a pot with water, to flush, in case I didn't have water. I turned the dial on the frig to the coldest, in case I lost power. I wanted it to be plenty cold in there. I did laundry and took a shower. I wanted to be clean.

At 4 pm I heard a pop. The power went out. It was dark.

It stopped raining around 5 pm. The sky lightened a bit. I went outside. All the neighbors were out in the street: wandering, dazed, looking at the sky & trees. We chatted. I looked down the street: all the neighbors, everyone was outside, all at the same time. I put the dogs on leashes and wandered down, chatting, visiting. We went to see the big tree laying across the power lines. Live lines flapped in the breeze: stay back.

Later, I went to sleep. It was too warm, but no AC, no fan. The next day was my first day back at work. I took a cold shower. It's painful, and feels so good when you stop. I took cold showers for the next 2 days. My power was out for 3 days and 3 nights. Since I live in the city, I had water. I could flush, wash, and shower: I felt blessed. I remembered the ice storm of '98? '97? Our power was out for 10 days, and no running water since we had a well and a pump. I remember the hardest part was not being able to flush, and having to wash my hands with moist wipes. The best part was charades by candlelight.

So 3 days, 3 nights, no power. The dirty dishes piled up, as did the laundry. It was hot at night. Every other neighbor had a generator and the noise was disconcerting. It sounded like everyone was mowing their lawn, all at once, all the time. And the gasoline fumes. Yuck.

I'd come home from work and hear the generators. No power.

I'd sit in the evening, the gloom matching my mood. I painted watercolors. I patted the dogs.

Last night 2 cherry-picker trucks rolled up the street. Neighbors came out again, dancing and waving their arms to the sky. Workers had cut up the tree during the day, while I was at work. This was 6 pm. I'd taken the dogs for their walk, and taken my cold shower. A shampoo too, brutally cold. It felt good to sit in the sun after, on the deck, under the tattered canopy.

So the cherry-pickers. It took like 5 minutes to hook up the wires. Power restored. Hugs all around. More dancing in the streets. I felt energized, pulled up the flattened sunflowers and put them on the compost. I opened the frig and tossed out all the contents. Wow. Tofu smells really bad after 3 days. I did laundry and washed dishes. For thrills, I turned on the AC. I took a hot shower and shaved my legs.