Thursday, June 27, 2013

Nursing, Writing, and Dreaming

Although I didn't write a formal blog entry about this yet, I am trying, and I use the term "trying" very literally, to take a break from social media for a while; specifically Facebook. The reasons are varied and I will probably save the explanations for another post because it is 11am and I have things I want to get done today; especially in reference to my book Tales From the Dry Side that I am desperately trying to get published.

There has been a lot going on lately, both in my mind and with my health (shocking, I know!) and the break from Facebook has been very good for me. I have been checking a few things on there such as my inbox messages but overall my Facebook use has decreased about 75%. That is a lot! I know I will go back to it regularly at some point but meanwhile, I do sometimes miss posting my thoughts and ramblings as my status updates. Why? Because I am a writer. However I also have this blog. Even though my original intention for the blog was not to use it as a daily record of my activities, i.e. journal, I think there may be a place for it to serve as a function for that at times. Don't worry, I will not be posting the most mundane details of my life on an hourly basis! To be honest, there is not much about my life that is mundane anyways. There is always something going on, either good or bad.

So in today's entry I want to share something profound with you that I read last night. Because as much as I say I am a writer, it is becoming more and more clear to me that I am also a nurse. I have been reading a fantastic, and self published, book called Leave No Nurse Behind: Nurses Working With Disabilities by Donna Carol Maheady, ARNP, EdD. I originally purchased this book because I have been doing a lot of thinking lately about going back to work and how I could possibly manage that, if at all. I have also been thinking about the possibility of going back to graduate school if I could manage an online graduate program while dealing with this lousy autoimmune illness. For the past few years, both concepts have felt completely out of my reach. But the tides have changed a bit over the past few months and this has left me doing a lot of wondering.

First off, I love this book because I am trying to get my own book published and Ms. Maheady's book is self published and it is set up in striking similarity to mine. It is a collection of stories about disabled nurses who have found a way to start and/or maintain a nursing career. Their stories are courageous and inspiring to say the least. Similar to the Sjogren's sufferers stories in Tales From the Dry Side. This is the third self published book I have read recently and I think I am convinced enough by the final product to finally pursue this avenue for my book; provided I can come up with the funding.

Anyways, the other reason I am so in love with this book is because of what it does. It speaks to nurses like me who spent years and years building a nursing career, only to one day have it all taken away in an instant. Ms. Maheady's book, and the stories contained within it, helps me to see that resuming a nursing career someday may not be completely out of my reach. Yes, it will require hard work, courage, balance, and dedication to manage the everyday perils of living with such a sometimes debilitating chronic illness while being in the workplace. But having said illness does not automatically disqualify me from that dream. And if anyone can dream, and accomplish, it certainly is me.

Even the dream of someday being an Integrative Medicine Nurse Practitioner and Writer.

As so eloquently stated by one of her contributors, "When you live with a chronic disease day in and day out, you become familiar with what is changing in your body and in your life. You can share and educate your patients and coworkers just by showing up for work and setting a positive example. Over time, people learn to see you in a different light-not as a person with a chronic illness, but a person who takes life and runs with it into their dreams. I am that person. I go to work every day; and by going to work, I'm contributing to the profession of nursing and to the reputation of all people with disabilities. I'm a daily example that if you decide to take charge of your life and health, you can do anything, no matter what type of disability you may have." (Maheady, 2006, p. 83).

I love everything about this quote. Notice that it does not say that we will not have bad days and have to call in sick. Notice that it does not imply that perhaps if we do go back to work, it will all work out as happy as puppies and rainbows. It doesn't point out that perhaps we will have to again leave the workforce and go back on disability. But rather, it talks about the positive results that can come from having a disability and being a nurse in the workplace. It talks about hope. It talks about possibilities.

For now, that's enough for me.

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