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Archive for August, 2011

For those of you who know, I worked hard last year and I lost 30kg. I have always been the chumpy kid, and as I grew up nothing changed. In fact I got chumpier. I do not have a natural athletic ability, I never have and I never will. But I got to a point where I stopped comparing myself against other people and started competing against myself. I got to a point where for the first time in my life I was able to run, and became quite fit. I was really enjoying my new level of fitness, mentally, physically, emotionally. It felt there was little that would get in my way… How wrong I was.

I fell off a dirt bike in April this year, I hyper-extended my knee and landed on it the wrong way round, basically snapping or damaging 3 of the 4 main ligaments in my knee. I ended up having surgery, and a number of months of rehabilitation. I am still going through physiotherapy and rehabilitation, and I will be to some degree for at least the next year or so if not longer…

Last night I went back to the gym for the first time since April. I went to my first spin class, and oh how I have missed the endorphins. I don’t think the class went particularly well, and I felt extremely unfit and unable, that is until I realised I am back to comparing myself against others. As far as I could tell, I was the only person in that room last night returning from major surgery and at my first session back, and I know I am the only person who is me.

Back in the day when I used to be obese, my excuses for not exercising amounted to laziness. Essentially, I was able to exercise, I just didn’t want to. When I did start going to the gym on a regular basis, I found that there was very little I couldn’t do. I would improve each session and I would slash through my previous best efforts. Each gym session I was happy to push the limits, and I was happy to go further than before.

Last night when I went I felt victim to my body. For the first time in a long time, I was no longer in charge of the body; I was instead being limited by it. I felt scared to push the limits, and scared of doing more damage. I still worked hard last night on my spin bike, but I felt I didn’t work as hard as I might have previously. In some ways, I feel that my body is failing. In the mind, I am ready, willing and able to get on the bike and ride my little ass off, quite literally! But my body just doesn’t respond the way I want it to.

Over the time I have been immobilised, disabled, incapacitated, call it what you will! I have struggled against this leg with a mind of its own. I have also managed to put on 2-3kg. I want to move that and even more. It’s action time. Even now, there are few excuses I will allow myself to make when it comes to doing the things I want to do.

In a way, it’s an important lesson for me to learn. I am going to be a nurse/midwife at the end of next year. I will have patients who are not in charge of their bodies. Patients who have the willpower and motivation but a body that won’t co-operate.

I guess in a way the hardest part of all of this is that it’s not quite mind over matter. In a sense, mind over matter is a good attitude to have, but I need to be careful to listen to the demands of my leg and not push beyond its capabilities. Because pushing too far would be the ultimate casualty here. But I will continue in my determination. Can you guys help me…? Losing the weight again is not going to be easy…. I’ll need encouragement…

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I have an exam in 2 hours, so of course I am sitting here in this uni bar at 11am in the morning blogging… I can’t think of a better use of my time.. Can you? Some might argue that whatever I cram in the next 2 hours is not likely to be of any good to me anyway… Ah well… I’m not too worried.. It’s one of my nursing subjects.. They seem very common sense in comparison to my midwifery subjects…

I had a conversation with a patient a few weeks ago that has been playing on my mind.. I guess I wasn’t really sure how to take it.. I’ll set the scene…

This semester part of my midwifery degree has me working at the local hospital’s maternity services 2 days a week. We work accross post-natal, birth unit, family birth centre, ante-natal clinics and detal monitoring. I love it. It’s hands-on experience and it’s what I need to learn the practical tasks of the job…

The conversation I had was a fleeting moment with a father of a newborn baby… His wife ran into some complications during the birth of their bub, and she was transferred out of family birth centre into the post-natal ward so that she could stay a bit longer and get some extra medical assistance. The father marvelled to me: “Wow! I can’t believe the level of care she’s receiving! This is in a public hospital! I’d expect this in the private sector, but not public!”

Back in June, I was lucky enough to have an article published in Sunny Days magazine, which I haven’t shared with you guys here.. But I will.. It basically went to say how much I love my course, and love what I’m doing, but that the most important aspects of my job and who I am, cannot be learnt at uni. As a nurse or a midwife, the most important attribute you can have is a genuine care, love and respect for people. The job is too bloody hard if you don’t care. Being someone like me, I care about each and every one of the patients in my care. For me, care is not just saying that a person is under my allocation for the day, it’s doing everything I can to make their stay somewhat less painful. I accept that I can’t change things, I accept that I can’t make the pain go away. And I admit that there are situations where this will be difficult to stomach.

But as far as things go, it’s not just working a shift to me. It’s not just cleaning bed pans, administering medication, checking for bleeding, monitoring vital signs, showering patients, changing beds, changing nappies, cleaning up bodily fluids, and monitoring heart rhythms. These menial tasks are all a part of the bigger picture. I wouldn’t do those things if I didn’t also care. I sympathise with my patients, I empathise with my patients, and I care about who they are as a person. To me the person is in the bed, it’s not just another number in the bed. It’s a person, who has a family, they have fears, they have joys. They are more than that broken leg, they are more than that infected body part, they are more than that respiratory infection, they are real. And the majority of the time, who are in that hospital bed is not who they are in real life. That person in that hospital bed is at their worst, and they deserve some respect. They deserve to be treated as a person.

I guess I am surprised at that man’s sentiment. I can’t see why you should receive any less CARE in a public hospital to a private one. I myself was a patient in a private hospital this year. As far as I can tell the only benefit I had from going in as a private patient was that I was able to book my operation within 10 days of the first consult with my surgeon, which meant having the operation a month or 2 earlier than I would have otherwise. For me that meant being able to continue with uni this semester instead of having to defer a year. That’s it. I had a horrible nurse overnight in the hospital, and I couldn’t wait to leave the next morning… Oh and the other privelege I had from that whole experience was being able to pay for the whole operation… (some may say was my own fault being uninsured! I’ll accept that! 😉

But in my experience, you can’t buy care. You can’t buy empathy. These are human emotions. And the vast majority of the time, the people in my profession have these in great quantities. At the end of the day, we are human too. So if you catch us at a bad moment having had a bad day… I’m sorry…………

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