A dream coming true. . . . .

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Above you see evidence of a dream coming true–the “physical proof” of my first novel. It seems I’ve dreamed of being a writer all my life. As a matter of fact, I guess I have been a writer, but, perhaps now, I’m becoming an author.

The book is NOT the “great American novel” by any stretch of one’s imagination. It is simply an inspirational romance which celebrates life in small southern towns, where life is often centered around the church. It is a love story but very “pure” by today’s standards, reminiscent of Grace Livingston Hill and Emilie Loring novels that I read as a young girl. Those novels proved to me that love stories can be inspirational and pure, yet still entertaining. I hope and pray that there are some who will still find that style of writing enjoyable and uplifting.

But, most of all, as I have seen this project come to fruition, I have become more aware of the very good things that God has blessed me with in this life. A good education, the profession of nursing, loving and supportive family and friends. And, most of all, faith in my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. As I was kindly rejected by a literary agent, I remember telling him that God would do what He wanted with this story, for it was His. And, it is His. Seeing it come to life has inspired me to try harder, do better, be kinder, be more faithful.

And so, whether it is commercially successful or not, whether it receives positive or negative reviews, whether readers find the characters as charming as I do or not, it is a success. Because dreams come true for very few, and I am one of the lucky (blessed) ones. And this process has made me a better person.

Nursing, Past and Present

The way it was.....
The way it was…..

I remember my days as a young nurse, days all in white, head to toe, with white dress and stockings and freshly polished white shoes. There were bandage scissors in my pocket, and a watch with a second hand on my wrist. I was an oddity in the small community hospital–an RN with a four year college degree in nursing, stethoscope hung round my neck, daring to listen to heart and lung and bowel sounds as I made rounds to assess the thirty patients on the medical ward where I was charge nurse. The LPN, displaced from the charge nurse position by my arrival on the scene, was somewhat dubious of this upstart young nurse who thought nurses’ notes ought to say more than “a good day” or “slept well” or “up in chair” and “ate well”.

I remember the excitement I felt the first time I recognized the signs of congestive heart failure in the patient before the doctor had diagnosed it. And the satisfaction of receiving a call from the OR with the surgeon’s message, “Tell Ms. Parish the appendix was hot.” It was oh, so satisfying, since I had called so many times to convey my concern for the patient that she was finally taken to the OR. The memories that fill my mind, the stories I could tell, the love that I have had for this profession sometimes overwhelm me. Often I have said, “I came up in the glory days of nursing.” No IV pumps–we counted drops to control the flow of IV fluid. I can shake down a mercury thermometer and take temperatures without the aid of a machine. I can use manometer and stethoscope to check a blood pressure–no Datascope needed here. I wrote legible, meaningful notes and enjoyed the confidence placed in me by both my coworkers and the physicians with whom I worked.

It’s all changing now, you know. Some things are so much better. It is nice to have an IV pump to control the flow of intravenous fluids and blood and medications. And it’s nice to have patients on continuous cardiac monitors that detect changes real time. Temporal scan thermometers are cool. Heart attacks can be stopped by a trip to the cardiac catheterization lab and an angiogram and balloon angioplasty with stent. Slow heart rates can be corrected with pacemakers. Sudden death can be aborted by implantable defibrillators. There are now a multitude of medications to treat hypertension and diabetes and high cholesterol that were not on the market when I started.

Some changes, though, leave me with a sense of sadness. The paper chart that used to be the story of the patient’s hospitalization, to be safeguarded and reviewed and valued as a communication tool is becoming obsolete. Electronic medical records are the future, and the future is now. Please understand that I’m not bemoaning the advent of electronic records in their totality. They’ve made my life easier in so many ways. And, to the extent that they contribute to a seamless delivery of care to the patient in a high quality manner, they are a gift to both patient and practitioner. But, in some of their incarnations they serve only to tie nurses to computers and turn physicians into clerical workers, and those iterations bother me. Are we losing some of the humanity of healthcare? Is the relationship of caregiver to patient being disrupted by the presence of mere machines?

But, there’s no going back. So the white cap is on a closet shelf, and I wear scrubs instead of white. And I struggle to adapt to the changes while still cultivating the patient and family relationships that make this profession so rewarding. I remind myself that life itself is a series of changes, as is the profession I have chosen and enjoyed for so many years, and I try to develop a sense of anticipation that better things will come from this struggle.

The way it is.........
The way it is………

The Next Chapter

Why am I here? (Blogging, I mean.) And, just what do I have to say? (That would be worth others reading!) It’s about recreating myself. Or, just maybe, having the courage and initiative and perseverance to pursue what I hope will be my “next” career.

You see, it seems that most of my life has been about being a nurse. And it’s been a really good part. Don’t get me wrong–I am still, and will always be, a nurse. Nursing still occupies a major portion of my days. But, sometimes it’s time to dream the next dream, conquer the fear, and start something new. I think this is that time. It is time to begin writing the next chapter of my life.

I have always dreamed of being a writer. A for real, published writer. I thought that was just about writing a book and getting someone to publish it. But, in this day of the worldwide web and immediate internet notoriety (and noticeability), I have learned one needs to be “present” in that great void of connectivity. To say it in the vernacular of agents and publishers, one needs to have a “platform”, to be visible, and to have followers.

Why would anyone “follow” me? Well, to start out, you might congratulate me. For taking this first step. It wasn’t easy. I have agonized over it–been fearful, frustrated, and despairing. Yet, here I am–imagine that!–writing to the great “void”–bold, confident (well, maybe that’s stretching it), and full of hope. I am reminded of Isaiah 43:18-19a: “Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing!”

So, here I am. Doing a new thing! I wonder how many of you have unrealized dreams, how many others have been fearful, frustrated, despairing? Surely I am not the only one! Or, maybe I am. Just wondering. This journey should be interesting, to say the least. More later…………….