And the Light Came On

I was doing a task at home the other morning I’ve done more times than I can count, my fingers knowing their job well. Moving in synchrony, intertwining while unwrapping the IV line, they couldn’t be distracted. And, in spite of years of physical work creating large joints, they worked nimble and capable as my hands spiked the bag of fluids.

Unlimited inner strength can only be awakened when it is in the service of Love ~ Krishna Das

Made with durability

I come from women with large joints and a substantial frame. Wide, robust hipped women. Solid, firm feet with decent arches. But our knees and shoulders hold up for crap. On half of both sides of the women in my family, are a sturdy lot of peasants. But the other half of the two sides, the men, remain a mystery. And that is a little unsettling.

When the eye doctor asked me who in my family has or had glaucoma? I said no one that I know of. Then I remembered the two sides that are wild cards. All the secrets my tribe held so close. Those who would know the answers and could tell are long gone, lips sealed. We are a clan that takes secrets to our grave.

Focus on the task at hand

After I spike this bag of fluids there will be meds to draw up. And it seems as if I can do this with my eyes closed. The thought hit me at how fast all these skills came back. There I was, like it was yesterday, sitting in the saddle of the hospital again. It’s like a Zen practice. An activity in alignment. And I practice, practice.

Another discovery I’ve made is that it turns out IV pumps have the same fickle attitude at home as they have in the hospital. They run with their own sense of time. And, like people, they sometimes get their days and nights mixed up. Blessings that they are, they are still quite independent. And I have to remind myself, I do know what I’m doing, so I pull up short of hitting this one, a new one to us, with a hammer and throwing it out the patio door. Instead, I take a deep breath, and I reach back to my memory bank and use the checklist to troubleshoot. ‘Check the obvious first’ is my beginning mantra.

Back to the tried and true

From there, I use my old IV pump troubleshooting skills, which are tried and true and have never failed me. It is the time-honored tradition of swearing heavily with the foul language of a street fighter. I can be counted upon, when needed, to roll those words off my tongue swiftly and in rapid succession. Those are the times I entertain my husband with the song of my people. Whether out loud or under their breath, many a nurse, human or veterinary, has sung the song of the IV pumps.

I admit to wanting to drop kick a pump or two across a room when working in ECC. The bleep beeping beeps of the pumps that some nights seemed to have a central brain of their own. Bastards. Sometimes they’d beep over nothing. Other times, they’d beep over something. Legit reason or not, they don’t like to be argued with and they don’t like to be ignored. So, we have no choice but to fight with them. Or to make peace with them. Or both when we hear their fantom sounds as we lay our head on the pillow to sleep.

Swapping out for another

Only now, it is one thirty in the morning. And, once again it is the IV pump that dictates when we have these concerts.

Eventually, the old, not working well IV pump had to be swapped out, and I am vindicated with a new pump, who is initially obedient. And, for a couple nights, sleep is restored. I program it, make sure all the clamps are unclamped, make sure there are no occlusions, upstream or downstream. Check, check, check. And, we fall into a false sense of victory until this one, too, starts acting up. That’s when the whole routine commences yet again. And, we’re back to bitch slapping with words. I’m superstitious and think it’s my smugness that sets it off.

Another skill that can bite me

I am a neurotic note keeper. And, while many in the past have appreciated my attention to detail, I know I have a tendency to add detail to fault. A compulsion to include everything and then some. (But what about, but what about…). I’m much better now. It used to be such an internal fight not to mire down including morsels no one cared about but me. I still work hard at not having those details keep me in a stranglehold.

But here I am again, needing to document. And this feeds my compulsive need to record important information. Times when medications are given, choosing which way to deliver them, the severity of the episode, all those important particulars to be noted. And my detail skills are up to the task once more.

But there’s my other sense

Where I fall down, is expressing nuance. A feel, a sense I get, that subtle change that may or may not mean anything. Because sometimes action is not instantly required, but being vigilant is. And, it’s a slippery slope, for me, not to be hypervigilant. So, I try to simply stay aware. Try to stay in ease, I tell myself.

Oh Soul, you worry too much. Your arms are filled with treasures of all kinds. ~ Rumi

A soul contract

My husband and I have finally gotten to the point of amusement about my talent concerning IV fluid pumps, drawing meds up quickly and bandage changes coming back to serve us both well.

Here’s what I know. In spite of what a high school counselor strongly advised me to do, I was not born to be an English teacher. I can barely speak it effectively. My hands were meant to spike IV bags. My senses are my superpower. That knowing of what is actionable and what is not is as keen now as it ever was and it serves me well every day.