Hospice….reality hits home

IMG_2118So I’m sitting here writing a paper about death and dying for my “End of Life Issues” class and I reference the 5 stages of dying.  The last stage, acceptance, is defined as: “coming to terms with reality. It is accepting that the world will still go on without you. Death is after all, just a part of LIFE.”

OUCH! I think my dinner just hit the back of my throat.  Will our society ever accept the life, the temporary being, that was meant for us all along?

As  I reread this blog, my thought is that I sound like some kind of preacher or something…the truth is, I’m really ASKING YOU, “how is it that death is supposed to be acceptable?” I see myself being lowered into my tomb…as my Papa, Mimi, and Uncle Randy were lowered in front of me…did they move on…or did they cease to exist? This is the question I will seek to find the comfort in knowing as I peruse through life. My dream is that my family will assist me in this quest. Can you imagine it? This infection of perusal in our life mission by my endearing family that I cherish so much? That is the quest that I intend to lead. Are you with me?

Few will understand, but for those who do, the meaning of life, and our life’s meaning, will surely be self-evident…or so is I hope.

Am I a Hippocrate?

So here I am trying to convince everyone (myself) that dying is a fact of life and should be accepted as such, but we all know that dying is our BIGGEST fear…even worse, having one of our children die.  If you think about it, death is constantly around us.  We see it. We hear about it.  We fear it..not just our own deaths, but the deaths of our children, our loved ones.

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I remember the beginning of one of my Mom’s chapters, the chapter she began after the death of her Mother.  I remember the dynamics of the entire family changing on that day.  My Mother hasn’t been the same since, and neither has anyone in the family.  And now I’m in her shoes, watching my parents age and I am desperate for everything to stay the same  as it was for my Mom before my Grandma died.  So, while I sit here with worry about what is to come…and other things that could possibly happen, I ponder, “am I a Hippocrate?”

I have dedicated my life to improve end of life ‘stories’, but in reality I am terrified of it…for myself and everyone in my life that I love.  I see people day in and day out faced with death and can’t imagine what feelings are consuming them. I try to put myself in their shoes and hope that I can someday accept fate so I can live my life without the worry that age is going to consume me, make me ugly, dependent, and sorrowful. So maybe my calling is more of a search to put ease in my mind about what is to come….

So what IS my calling?

So for those of you who don’t know, I am currently in school to obtain my Doctor of Nursing Practice Degree.  The path that got me here has to be faith because it just feels like a puzzle that fell into place.  I never wanted to become a nurse.  In fact, I quit college because I had no clue what I wanted to do.  Then I had my Brendon. It was that experience that led me to nursing….

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I had such a wonderful experience during labor that I was inspired to become an L&D nurse.  I saw the importance of the nurse to a woman in labor and thought I could really impact this area.  So I set some goals and off I went!

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Somehow I ended up in ICU…maybe by fate…but I fell in love with this area of expertise and just knew this was where I was supposed to be the moment I arrived.  Here I am almost 10 years later and I am more inspired than ever. You see, while I thought that my “calling” was to foster children, providing them a solid foundation to believe in love and family regardless if they stayed with us or went back to their parents, my TRUE calling was right under my nose.

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By this time all three of my sons had fulfilled every square inch of my heart (and soul) and I had set out (with Jamie) to spoil them rotten and show them the World….which costs $$$, so with my passion for nursing and my passion for doing things that cost money, I decided to further my education.

So here I am absolutely crazed as I wear many hats: the mom hat, the manager hat, the nurse hat, the student hat, and the hat that wants to SAVE THE WORLD! I was told that all Graduate students want to save the world, but I figure the odds are that very few of us actually will….In reality, it’s not that I want to “save” the world, but I sure as Hell plan to change it

After a morally distressing ethics case at my work, one of the physician’s said:

This process of coding bodies will unfortunately go on for years because society considers that we are this temporary body and not the soul.  As I said earlier in one of the meetings, we have created a deathless society.

 Unless and until it is etched in the hearts and minds of people that “we are not this temporary body but the eternal soul”, these unnecessary acts of body preservation will go on.
 
There is no profession in the world other than healthcare professionals to deliver this eternal message.
It was then that I realized that our culture has the wrong idea about death!  We have become so obssessed with the miracle of medicine and technology that we forget who is responsible for our lives…not medicine. Not machines. And yet we often depend on these things to live…unnaturally at times…because that has become a custom in our culture.  Other countries don’t think this way.  They rely on Faith and Spirituality to fulfill their lives.  So how did we get so far off the path?  It is that path that I plan to get us back on. A path that teaches us that death is part of the human cycle, but doesn’t mean an “end” to life.  It is another chapter in our lives, like so many chapters we have already written.

the beginning

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This is the woman that made it happen.  No one appreciates their parents like they do when they become parents themselves.  This woman, my Mother, along with my non-photo-loving FatherImage

 

have taught me the importance of family.  That was just the beginning of what life began to mean for me…

 

What makes Me ME

In 2009 I posted a note in Facebook that explains a lot about me:

Rules: Once you’ve been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you. At the end, choose 25 people to be tagged. You have to tag the person who tagged you. If I tagged you, it’s because I want to know more about you. 
PLEASE DO IT, I LOVE GETTING THESE 
(To do this, go to “notes” under tabs on your profile page, paste these instructions in the body of the note, type your 25 random things, tag 25 people (in the right hand corner of the app) then click publish.) 

1. My family is the most important thing to me…Making them happy (between my mental breakdowns) is what helps me sleep at night. 

2. If you are truly my friend I will do ANYTHING for you. Cry with you, cry for you, and definately kick someone’s ass for you. 

3. My biggest fears are losing a child, my parents getting old (getting old in general), dying, not being with my husband FOREVER, spiders, snakes, and mice. Oh and of course, turning 30. 

4. I HATE HATE HATE being referred to by the color of my hair (wherever that hair may be). If you know me even a little you know at least this about me. 

5. I have a weakness for cheeseburgers, peanut M&M’s, little girls in pink dresses (boo hoo), and pretty much any furry mammal. 

6. I think all living creatures have feelings. Hence I have a hard time killing flies. 

7. If I could go back and do it all over again I would say “absolutely not” unless I could take all of my experiences back with me. I love being an independent adult. 

8. I love being a nurse. It truly is a rewarding experience. My favorite patients to take care of are the ones that are dying. Sad as that may sound, my niche is making the family of a dying patient get the best experience out of it. Some may say that makes me a cold person (I know because when my grandma was dying I was told that to my face and I will never forget it) The families of those dying patients would say it makes me (and all of those who do it day to day) a truly special person. I say it’s a little of both, but it still hurts to be labelled as “cold” 

9. My favorite thing to do is go camping with my hubby, kids, and dogs. I would live in my camper all summer if Alcona Park was close to the hospital. 

10. I am my mother with the stubbornness of my father. 

11. I cry at everything these days. I cried three times during Private Practice last week. Seriously…It’s not real! 

12. When I was a kid I was scared to death of disappointing my parents. Even though I did some bad things, when I was doing them all I was thinking of was oh my GOD what would my mom and dad think.

13. Time consumes me. Everything I do on a daily basis revolves around how much time I have before the next thing I have to do and not being late. 

14. Every time I go out or throw a party I get a stomach ache because I am so nervous about being on time and making sure everyone else has a good time. 

15. I hated Gabriel Richard High School 

16. I bite my lips until they bleed. When I am nervous I scratch my neck until my skin is raw. 

17. Since I’ve had children I have always thought that I have a calling.. I want and will be a foster mom someday 

18. It makes me sad that I may never have a daughter to share girlie things with. I cry about it often. 

19. If I could change careers at the drop of a dime I would go back to my original plan of marine biology..I have always wanted to work with killer whales. Working at an aquariam with rescued marine animals would be the best job ever. 

20. When the kids are off to college (and yes they will be) I want to sell this house, move up north in a small cabin in the middle of nowhere, buy a huge RV and travel the world in it all winter. 

21. I always think everyone is staring at me and making fun of my pale skin and crooked teeth. 

22. I think I have the best family ever! The Corey family is like no other! 

23. My husband says that in an emergency, a true friend would drop everything they were doing, without hesitation, and come get you even in you were halfway across the world. Do I have one of those…Maybe 

24. I am addicted to FB, which I know is super cheesy. I love reading everyone else’s status. It makes me feel like I have somewhat of a life knowing what everyone else is doing. Pathetic huh? 

25. When I was a kid I probably had a cruch on every boy in school for at least one hour…until I moved on to someone else.Image

I Began to Piece it All Together

I’m not sure exactly WHEN it clicked, but I know my place on Earth now.  There is a reason I have been tortured with questions about death since childhood.  While I don’t have a strong relationship with Jesus, I see the importance of accepting death as part of life.  While I fear it, my place on Earth is to make society understand that death is not something to be afraid of.  So how am I supposed to convince the world of something that I am not sure of? That is a question that I hope to answer during my career. But until then my role is to make sure that the transition from life to death is peaceful, accepting, and painless.  I want satisfaction with the fulfillment of loved one’s lives as they crossover to their spiritual life–whatever that is.  THAT IS MY CALLING.