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Tomorrow.

In the midst of writing papers, formulating teaching projects, learning the ins and out of IV tubing, and the endless grind that is studying, I’ve come to realize something. My elusive someday is about to arrive. You see, after three and a half years of slogging through endless schoolwork, thinking about “someday” when I’ll be able to be an actual person, I’m nearing the end. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m hoping that it’s not a train.

College was hard. It’s where I realized that I wasn’t nearly as special or smart or talented as I thought. It’s where I first experienced real loneliness and rock-bottom, clinical depression. It’s the years my grandpa died, my memere followed, and my family fell to pieces. It’s where I learned that my joints were wrong and they would never be right. It’s where I traded in some of my idealism and optimism for a heavy dose of cynicism and anger. It’s where I had to fight against the nay-sayers who told me over and over that I had no business being a nurse. It’s when I ended  a relationship with one of the very best friends I ever had, leaving a gap that I still can’t quite fill. It’s where I learned that keeping my mouth shut and retreating into a quiet world is the best way to stay alive.

Needless to say, college was rough. But I’m 24 days out from graduation. I potentially have my dream job lined up. I have been cleared to graduate, if I pass my last classes. I just got my first car, and scheduled my appointment to get contacts so I can finally feel like a normal person. My family is all in one place for the first time in years, and I think I’ve finally met some friends that I can trust to be there for me. I may have even found a church with like-minded people.

But I’m scared. I’ve been beaten down for so long, I’m worried that I’ll get right up to Someday, and it’ll slip away again. I’d like to believe that all my hard work is about to pay off, but I’m terrified that it’ll be snatched away, and I’ll have to linger in disappointment for another indefinite amount of time. I did what I had to do to get through school – I ignored people, I always put my schoolwork in front of everything, and when people needed help, I hid, afraid to share my time and compromise the time that I had set aside for school. I’ve been selfish. And with all that, I certainly don’t think that I deserve a a boatload of good.

I’ve been stuck in a holding pattern. I know, I know, I should have made the most of life in right that moment, but school overshadowed everything, leaving me forever exhausted and so stressed out that my last blood pressure read 143/95 (That’s pretty high, by the way.) I want real life to start. I want to help people. I want life to be beautiful again. I want to regain my optimism. I want to like people again. I want my health back.  I want to find joy again.

Is that too much to ask?

I hope Someday really is right around the corner.

Weirdness.

Lasst night I was asked out by a very attractive man. I almost considered his invite, and then he informed me that he has a fiancee who has a boyfriend, but, “they won’t mind.”

Wat?

Also, a very old Russian man told me I was, “very charming”, but in a Russian accent, of course.

I attract strange men. And now I have to study because finals start next week.

Fearless music!

Why are people so timid about music? I mean, people generally pick a genre that they like and then never explore anything outside of it, and that’s really sad.

But what is even more sad is when you find a great, but out there kind of band, and no one will listen to it because fast and furious rock opera music based off a 1980s video game is not there thing. (The Protomen are actually excellent, by the way)

For instance, I have recently been introduced to something called “chiptunes”. There remixers take 8 bit sound effects and work them into electronic dance music sounds. Although a lot of it is just noise, some of it it really excellent and worth listening too. I mean, at least there is some sense of creativity involved, right?

People like to throw around words like, “hipster”, and “arrogant”, and “music snob”, when they talk to me, but really, I just love music that is musically good and lyrically creative. I don’t want to hear any more dongs about one night stand and drinking lots of booze and that one perfect person that made your life complete.

I get scoffed at for my great love of owl city, but if you can get past the girly voice, his lyrics are interesting. They’re clever. He weaves worn metaphors and sayings into something fresh and new. His music sometimes follows the basic C-G-Am-F progression, but sometimes he throws you for a loop, and its great.

Or Andrew Bird! I mean, the guy doesn’t even have a genre because he’s so unique. And his lyrics sound like nonsense, until you listen to them over and over and over and realize that he is actually addressing deep and worrisome issues that people are faced with everyday.

I’m sure that most mainstream musicians love what they do and sing what they mean… but it’s lame. And it’s dumb. And…..it’s dumb. And it’s lame.

So, go listen to something new. Try a rock opera, or chiptunes. Look up OverClocked Remix, and then turn on some 80s alternative rock. Maybe some whispered indie folk pop like Iron & Wine, Noah & the whale, or Sea Wolf? Oh, and Andrew Bird. Lots of Andrew Bird.

A Sermon I Actually Listened Too.

Let’s be honest, here, shall we?

After nearly 20 years of being in the church Sunday, Wednesday, and attending Bible school classes Monday through Friday, I’ve heard most of the sermons and I’ve know the Bible. Sounds cocky, but, eh. Eventually pastors all seem to repeat the same sermons anyways.

So when a sermon genuinely catches my attention, I like to share. And what Eric shared on Thursday, Valentine’s Day no less, was really excellent. He talked about relationships.

Gasp!

But not in the typical Christian fashion that seems to either play singleness up too much (Ahhhh! All for God with no evil woman distracting you from everything ever!) or, very pro-marriage (Find a godly man/woman and be Godly together and don’t do this, this, this, and this until you are married.)

He very simply stated that until we find our calling from God and begin to follow it, being in a relationship is useless. There is no one out there who can actually complete us, and adhere to that belief will leave you lost and lonely. He talked about how he and his wife both were working in campus ministries when they met, something that they had both felt called too… and after nearly 15 years of marriage, they still work with campus ministries, side by side.

He stressed that one does not simply pick up someone else’s ministry. You don’t date a missionary and then decided that you’ll become a missionary too because they are…. you do your ministry until you find someone, and then theirs and yours become ours. It was eloquently delivered, and gratefully received. And frankly, until I figure out where I my place is in the world, I have no business dragging someone else in the mix.

Be called first.

Hope Rising

Tuesday night I got back from clinicals utterly exhausted, having no sympathy or any part of myself left to give.Two solid weeks of depression had rendered me able to get through the day and only to get through the day.

I had been formulating plans.Since no one seemed to care about me, I would isolate myself. Move to Colorado. Never have friends again. No, I would join an organization that would station me in a far away country, and I would use me services to change the world. Alone. Because frankly, it would be easier to never have friends than to deal with the disappointment of having no one when you needed them most.

I got home late, and realizing it was Fat Tuesday and I had yet to eat anything deep-fried, jelly-filled, or otherwise delivered straight from the pearly gates, I started yelling that a late night trip to Dom’s was in order. My roommate and potential future roommate acquiesced. Wait, wat? People cared?

Anyways, about 11 at night is when the Hipsters and the Christians invade Dom’s, so crushed between irony and childlike faith, we feasted on way too many delightful treats, and then proceeded home.

I woke up happy. Gone. Like I had never had any sad thing in my life ever. I forgave everyone who forgot about me, and started planning ways to get together with people. I got out of bed and got things done. I went about my life with a new lease on things. Then…. Valentine’s Day happened.

And you know what? I was still happy. Emptiness and the complete vacancy of happiness in my life taught this eternal optimist not to take happiness for granted. I have friends. I have know what romantic love was. I have a good life. My friends did care, and I got to eat chocolate.

It’s Friday, and I’m still happy. Cleaning the kitchen brought me joy, knowing that it would make my roommates happy, and would be a lovely place for me to be. When a friend who failed to be there for me needed someone to talk to, I was thrilled to help out.

Oh, and today I saw a vaginal birth. Holy eff, Batman. It was intense. I still think I can have kids someday, but, wow. It was a magnificent display of courage and strength on this mom’s behalf. I was utterly impressed. It made me change my mind about moving away and never associating with anyone ever… It would be hard to ever have children if I never had a husband ’cause I was afraid of disappointment, yah know?

Loneliness.

I like being alone. It’s nice to have time to myself to think things through and generally recharge myself before going out and doing fierce battles with the world. But loneliness is something that has sporadically plagued me for most of my life, and is hitting me hard right now.

But it’s not just being lonely and never has been. It’s the gut-twisting, tear-inducing, utterly heart-rending feeling that leaves me feeling too unfit and inadequate to bring anything of value. I look for someone to talk to, but there isn’t anyone. Not anymore, at least. I heartlessly dumped him and left him to pick up the pieces of his life without me. Turning to him would leave us both shattered again and again and again. The friend I though I could turn to became unstable and flaky, leaving me alone when I needed her most. My family is dealing with their own issues, and don’t need to hear the pathetic whining of a girl who really has no actual needs. Besides, they are rejoicing in the return of a long lost family member, and I don’t want to disrupt that with my temporary unhappiness.

And yet, I need someone. The Christian answer is to turn to God, and yet, I feel nothing. I know in my heart of hearts that loneliness happens and I need to learn to function despite it, but it doesn’t change the fact that my raw soul is starting to manifest as physical pain. It’s so unsettling, so painful to be in the place I’m at now. I can talk to God all I want, but at the end of the day, He is not a physical presence to talk back to me, to hug me, to let me know that He is there. I know He is there! I know! But I can’t feel it.

I need someone. But there hasn’t been someone in a long time. In my life, there has been a distinct pattern. I make a friend who becomes dear to me, my closet friend, my confidante, and then they leave abruptly. The move far away. The change schools. They promise to keep in touch and then don’t. Or they just change and are not the person I was so close with originally. People always leave, and I’ve come to terms with the fact that there will most likely never be anyone in my life long-term.

But when I’m feeling this way, it’s easy to forget that I came to terms with it. I look at my friends here at school, and realize that they aren’t like me. They don’t share my faith, or they share a strange alternative version of my faith, or they don’t talk about deep things, or on and on. I should have known. As a conservative Christian bordering on some extreme sect, I should have known that I wouldn’t find anyone like me. If I could just find one person like me, one person to take my side in this terribly hard battle. I didn’t expect that it would hurt so much.I have one good friend who goes out of her way to find me, listens to what I have to say, and picks me up and brushes me off, but when it comes down to it, she can’t relate to me and my faith. She is an atheist. She can’t grasp why I follow My God the way I do. I have a friend who does understand, but he is a guy. Guys and girls never stay close friends for long, and I am hesitant to let the relationship progress for fear of it falling apart when the inevitable happens.

How do I say this without being a dramatic girl, one who is just screaming for attention? I wish someone cared. I wish I could find someone like me. I wish I had something or someone that made me feel less empty. I wish I could stop crying.

“Go get help!” they say. What? Therapy with a shrink who doesn’t actually care? Medication until I can’t distinguish between what is my real emotions and what is just a chemical imbalance? Help where? Help from who? I can’t imagine any kind of “help” working for me. Where do I turn? The internet. I blog my heart away, revealing my deepest emotions to a glowing screen and a faceless audience, which more likely than not, doesn’t exist.

No one reads this blog I’m sure, but if you do, don’t worry about me. This will pass. It always does, and I will go back to mostly enjoying my more solitary existence. I will enjoy the surface level relationships that I have cultivated, and will work to keep anyone from connecting too deeply. I’m graduating in December, and I don’t see the point of making meaningful relationships that will just as abruptly end as they started. I’m lonely. It hurts.

Hey everyone ever, I went to the Operating Room!

My heart pounded, echoing in my ears and causing the butterflies in my stomach to once again begin their nausea-inducing dance. Although I assumed my lack of breath was from my ridiculous amount of excitement ast the prospects of traveling off-floor and to the operating room for the observation of surgery, it may have had more to do with the gigantic steps and fast pace of the transported who seemed none too pleased at the thought of dragging a student down to OR. But now matter.

I arrived in the OR with high expectations, and then spent the next thirty minutes watching the nurse take vitals and chart relevant data, all of which was seven times cooler than similar actions on 11 east because this was the OR! Blood pressure registered, the nurse slipped away, leaving my patient and I sitting, waiting, wishing, hoping for our meeting with the surgeon to happen soon. I asked my patient why she had come to the OR, and after much deliberation, she informed me that her hand was broken and she needed corrective surgery. I asked to see, and she produced a slight bruised, withered old-lady hand, but nothing that seemed out of the ordinary. I shrugged and sat back down, tapping my foot in time to the heart monitor.

She turned to me again, looking at me exactly the way a dear old acquaintance wouldn’t, and asked me for the seventh time if I knew where about her daughter was? I eased her worries, again assured her that her surgery was happening tonight, and proceeded to migration of surgeons and nurses in and out of the patients’ rooms. After a time the anesthesiologist, Mike, arrived and began firing off questions that my lady very nearly was able to follow and answer. He leaned over the bed and removed the blanket, and I felt my cheeks burn as it was revealed that her other arm was in a cast to the elbow, and that she had merely been confused when she showed me her intact hand. The theme was set. For the rest of my visit, as I would attempt to appear smart, I would instead overlook the obvious and make myself appear to be an awkward foolish student. But no matter!

As the prepared her for surgery, Mike explained what they would do to her arm. By injecting a numbing agent into a nerve bundle by her neck, he would put the entire arm into a, “I fell asleep on my arm for three hours and now it feels like it is not part of me” haze, and would prevent her from feeling pain during or after the surgery. The doctor talked through the whole procedure, both explaining to me and the patient exactly what was going on. And then, crisis struck. They were severely lacking in people! Who would tell them when her fingers were twitching? Who would hand the doctor the syringe that he so desperately need? Luckily I was there and was able to do all of those things due to my intense and remarkable medical trainings. Score one point, Student Nurse!

Nerve block firmly in place (and a costume change from student nurse to operating room student nurse), we sat again. “Yes ma’am, you are supposed to not feel your arm. Yes ma’am, your surgery is happening tonight. Yes ma’am, your daughter is just outside in the waiting room. Yes ma’am, we are operating on your thumb. Yes ma’am, this is the hospital.” Eventually, the nurse came to collect the patient and we went off to the operating room in our own so merry way.

Upon arriving, the surgeon turned to me and demanded my name. “Allyson”, I stuttered. He gave me a critical glance, took a step closer and asked if I knew how to sing. Taken aback by his question, I responded that I did. “Good. Brush up on your show tunes Allyson. We sing in this operating room. Now go get some lead.” Although I attempted to process this all, my thoughts were interrupted as I was dragged out to the hallway and dressed in an attractive three-piece suit destined to get me back problems, with a thyroid-protecting necklace type cuff to boot! Fabulous! As a final preparation, I pinched the metal band in my face shield to a prefect custom fit, and marched back to the space allotted to me. The staff in attendance had been doing to intricate “dance of the sterile drape” as the patient’s thumb was iodined, draped, re-draped, pre-draped, covered, and otherwise made sterile in preparations for the surgeons. With the help of propofol, my patient has drifted off to a place where thumbs weren’t broken and she never had to worry about where her daughter was. Draped in a towel to keep warm, she resembled Mother Teresa, peacefully awaiting a restored thumb so she could better go out and save the world. The resident performing the surgery, affectionately named “Boy Wonder” by the attending, took a deep breath, sighed deeply, and then grabbed a drill with the intent and drive so necessary to restore this patient’s thumb to its former glory.

But then the surgeon told him to put the drill down and instead arrange the thumb manually before power tools were brought in the mix. After approximately 4 seconds of stuttering, Boy Wonder did as he was told and began manipulating the thumb back into position with the help of his handy sidekick, they fluoroscope. When the thumb was suitably aligned, the drill was once again retrieved and the real orthopedics began. Vvvvzzzzz. Vvz. Vzzzzzz. Vzzzzzt. Vzzzt. Vzt vzt vzt vzt. Vzzzzvvvvvvt. The long silvery needle began to advance into the bone in order to, per the attending, “shish kabob the thumb.” The next thirty minutes consisted of needle in, needle out, needle in, needle out, until the surgeon’s frustrations cause him to relive Boy Wonder of the drill and finish the job himself. Meanwhile, I was thanking the OR gods that facial masks were part of the get-up, because I would have been embarrassed had they caught a glimpse of my gaping mouth and deer-in-the-headlights expression. When the pins were in place and capped, dressing was called for and the patient’s arm was wrapped until it no longer resembled an arm, but instead resembled a long, cylindrical object wrapped in gauze and cotton battings.
With the surgery finished and good work done, we prepared to leave. But then, a song came on. Up until this point, I had been unable to comply with the surgeon when he insisted I sing, because my bank of knowledge is primarily medical terminology, how to be a therapeutic communication, and chemistry jokes, and not show tune lyrics. But this one struck a chords, and as I sang, his face lit up and he informed me that I welcome to come back anytime to his OR, provided that I sing. I refrained from skipping merrily to the PACU, because that wouldn’t really be a display of professionalism, but did along a slight bounce to my step. I touched in with the nurses, thanked the staff, and then wandered the halls of the OR until a particularly angry nurse pitied me and showed me exactly how I could get out of what appeared to be her surgical unit. Yikes. And then I skipped merrily to the elevators and got back to the unit just in time to take vital, which are my second most favorite thing ever.