Category Archives: fear

Nursing. It’s for Other People

shotI wrote this short piece for my blogroll blog and I don’t have many followers over there so I thought I’d drop a link here to share a quick story.  Also there is a link to one of my favorite bloggers (nutsrok).

 

 

I encouraged and consoled and used my best confidence-building pep talks during these calls but I worried.  I was out of my league. I could no more be a nurse than fly to the moon.  I lack empathy.  Continue…

 

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Looking for the Money Shot in Iowa

I remind myself constantly that cameras – while they may not lie exactly – only reveal snapshots.  How many times have you been questioned about the look on your face at a particular moment, “Are you mad?”   “What are you thinking about?”   In reality, your nose was itching, you remembered a forgotten task, you had a foot cramp,  or actually, you have no idea why your mouth turned up or your forehead wrinkled.   Looking at photos of my own self, I often wonder, What Was I Thinking??

Cameras hyper-focus an audience on the face and body language of its subjects.  We have these two-hour time frames during televised debates to stare at (and listen to) people talk and display a whole range of emotion, physical reaction and thought.  What  looks  like an arrogant smirk may well be the result of holding back a fart.  These are, after all, human beings.  Farts and all.

Televised debates are incredibly powerful influencers because we are so visual and so vain and so attracted to perfection and so fickle- always looking for that one tell-tale moment when the candidate reveals the whole Monty with that one  expression (the money shot?).

Or, maybe I’m just shallow.

I think these GOP (and most) candidates are courageous and patriotic and ultimately, love America.  I had a moment last night while watching the debate  when I was overcome with patriotism.   I watched these people on the stage in various camera angles, up-close-and-personal, and I just felt so strongly about all of them.  I was proud and touched by their courage to be up there. I was overcome with gratitude to be an American and I thought, for a minute, that these candidates are all mostly good, or want to be, and mostly trustworthy and mostly meant, or wish they meant, everything they said.  It was weird.

All of that, I think, is a result of  ‘seeing’ the people instead of  just hearing them.  I can’t help but wonder how much that affects my opinion and I am trying hard not to let it.  I often wonder how just ‘hearing’ and not ‘seeing’ the campaigns of 2008 would have changed the result.

Like so many other people watching, I am listening for ideas, platforms and issues that speak to me directly and that represent my exact vision of my country.  Therein, of course, lies the real debate.  What, exactly, is my vision?

I am certainly not liberal but I am also not a fringey right wing zealot.  Libertarian ideas appeal to

Here.. put this on…

me but I refuse to try on Ron Paul’s tin-foil cap – although I have toyed with the idea.    Other than the isolationist concepts, he has some pretty appealing platforms.

I want to like Bachmann.  After watching the debates (so far) I am starting to warm back up to her, although, she seems a bit high-maintenance for the job.  How long exactly, does all that make-up take her to apply  everyday?  I know, I know.  Shallow.  I don’t like any kind of religion in my politics but I do believe that we should base decisions on goodness and justice.   All of that goodness mostly comes from God, doesn’t it?   Whole ‘nuther subject there.  Extremism scares me.

I like Santorum.  I actually, probably, like him the most.  But – there’s that whole religion thing again.  I just don’t really give a shit what gay people do.  Get married, don’t get married.  I don’t care.  I do believe in a strong family unit and I don’t think it is affected by what gay people do or don’t do.  Either you are gay – or not.  Period.  I’m not.  My family unit looks pretty typical.  I don’t mind if my neighbor’s does not.

Huntsman ‘appears’ to be a bit smug and over-confident.  Maybe he just has gas.  I generally like his platforms, although, honestly, I have not studied him much.

Romney.  I like him.  He does not appear to be basing business decisions on any weird, cultish, Mormon philosophy.  He just seems like a regular Christian guy who is smart and decisive and a savvy business man.  He does make stupid faces while he listens to the other candidates.  I bet he never farts.

Perry- I just don’t know.  Hard not to like a cowboy from Texas.  He is easy on the eyes.   Is he smart enough?  Would he be true to American values?  Texas is one of the only states that is still thriving.  That says something.

Ultimately, Gingrich appears to be the wisest, smartest and most qualified.  He does have that baggage and there is something lurking there.. for me.. that keeps me reserved a bit.

I think I would be fairly comfortable with any of them.  Except Ron Paul.  I would be okay with him as VP, although Biden has proved that office to be fairly useless.

So… what are your thoughts?

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Traumatic Brain Injury

The facial expressions of pain and human weakness I have read about for years in literature and could never really visualize, I can see now on the face of my friend.   The mixture of fear, regret and barely controlled hysteria is too rich.  It nearly makes me sick.  Her freckled and pale face is deeply wrinkled and drawn and her normally green eyes have been swallowed by the black of her pupils.  She looks her age.  Her chin and neck are stretched in a constant state of cringing.  She is afraid or unable to make eye contact and just as well.  Her pain is raging in there and it’s easier for me not to look.   Her back is humped like an old woman’s as if protecting the soft center of her chest, where I imagine her heart beats and aches in a perfect, stabbing rhythm that is too deep to think about for more than a second.  Tiny hands curl toward her center and she appears to be hanging on, barely.  She is an old woman.  She is my age.

Bleary eyed and still heavily drugged, her son turns his head toward her voice and may even recognize it.  This is ‘tracking’ we are told.  We don’t know. We know nothing.  The brain is clearly functioning on some level.  He can turn his head.  The legs on this six foot-three-inch boy thrash randomly, violently.  This is ‘neurostorming’ we are told.  He squeezes our hands.  But what does he know?

A month ago he knew everything.   Now his eyes are blank and dilated and he responds to questions with simple answers: rote memory.  What is missing from this child’s brain and what is just bruised for now?  We don’t know.  It is a waiting game and nobody is guessing.  Anything could happen.

The decisions that ultimately created this scene for my friend is a conversation for later.   For now, we wrap his fingers around a fork and encourage him to navigate the food toward his mouth.  And chew.  And swallow.  And, ‘do you want a bite of carrots or potatoes?’   Is he really hungry?  We don’t know.  At 20 years-old he must be hungry often, we reason.  So we offer food.  But we don’t know.

Occupational therapists and speech therapists and physical therapists and nurse’s aids rotate in and out and speak to him as if he is three years old.  I cringe when I hear them. He is not three years old.  He is a junior at Kansas University.  A 4.0 Dean’s Honor Role student.    A future defense attorney.  A month ago he would have beaten them all handily in a game of chess.  A gifted musician.  Brilliant.  He is not a three-year-old.  He is handsome and humble and passionate about his world.  He commands a long line of young women who are completely disarmed by his perfectly white teeth and brutal charm.

Two months after his accident, he is finally able to smile and laugh.  It may be the most difficult part of his progress to see him affect what was once normal.  His bald and scarred head is too heavy for his shoulders.  He sits slumped and slack-muscled, drool suddenly rushing down his chin.  He knows to wipe it off and the corners of his mouth are cracked from the constant drooling, wiping, drooling, wiping.  But he laughs.  I tease him about President Obama, his hero, and threaten to bring my bowling ball and take advantage of his situation by finally beating him at it.  He laughs hard, his head bobbing.  His teeth, now too big for his head, still beautiful and white, are fully exposed behind his grin.   My friend beams from across the room.  Her son is alive.  He is smiling.   It takes everything I have to not cry.

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