Joe has gone to Indianapolis to visit his newest granddaughter, Ms. Lucy Mae, who was born last weekend. I am wishing I could have gone with him. The relationship I am forming with his daughter is rich, deep and fulfilling and completely unexpected. I had no anticipation that we would ever be close. I wasn't opposed to it, I just felt it unfair to put that expectation on a child. It is one of those life nuggets, those precious blessings that come out of nowhere and hit you unawares with the sudden realization that bad things do not always happen. Sometimes good things do as well. I know she is going to be a wonderful mother, full of life and creativity and deep, abiding emotion. I yearn to hold the baby and to smell her little head.
The end of the semester is growing intense. I can't believe in two and a half weeks finals will be over and the first part of nursing school done, that I will have survived my first semester. The last couple of weeks have been somber and trying for me. I had the first skill test that I didn't do well on - everyone has at least one - and I am going to have to remediate. It hit me in the gut, the way my nerves took over, the way my hands shook, the fool I made of myself in front of others as I piece by piece fell apart. This whole pursuit of goals thing leaves you so exposed; I am so accustomed to having this tough exterior of capableness. I recognize no part of this experience means I am less than capable. It just was humbling to say the least, to fall apart that completely. It has punched me in the gut and made me face a few things about myself, about my ego and my expectations of myself...and...well, about my grief. I was tearful and upset far longer than I needed to be after it was over, with an internal sense of panic that made it hard to catch my breath and get back into the game. A pervasive sense of failure and, as I examined myself and my reaction, a sense of having failed Joseph. I have linked this journey so completely to his that apparently my success at it has come to mean to me some need to make up to him....things....??? I don't know what. For not being a perfect mother. For not being able to cure him. For not having him with me now. Who knows. All I know is that it became apparent to me that I need to both give myself a break and I need to restructure my motivations a little bit. It is fine for me to do this in his memory and to carry him with me through it, but it is not fine to hitch my entire ability to carry on after his death to it.
The two days following this fiasco were amazing, filled with opportunities that took me beyond my humdinger of a mood and into a knowledge base that I am excited to find is filling out now a little bit. I got to watch my first surgery and be present at a C-section, which was incredible. In simulation lab I got to put my budding nursing thought process to work and help "save" the life of our high tech, high fidelity mannequin patient, who is able to talk, blink, go into distress, arrest, etc. He has blood pressure and pulse and respiratory movement and sounds....it was incredible. If you do the right things, he starts to stabilize and if you do the wrong things he goes downhill all the way to the point of death. It is the only lab of its kind in North Texas and we are lucky to have it at our school. I get very excited talking about it. It is a chance to practice skills in a very realistic setting and see what happens without actually hurting anyone. They have one that actually births a baby vaginally, completely with rupturing membranes, measurable, palpable contractions and a baby with its own vital signs at the end. They have pediatrics and adults and all different scenarios to go through, plus the room is video equiped so you can watch yourself afterward and have a conference to go over what happened and why. This was my first event in simulation lab and I gained a lot of confidence in myself back from doing it.
So today is rainy and I am alone and studying while Joe is up cuddling little Lucy. I looked forward to the time alone, as there seems to be so few quiet moments these days, but I find I miss him being here in the house with me. The dreary weather is making me brood a bit.