Blog Post for Cornerstone WLA: A Biblical Response to “You do You”

This pandemic has shone quite a spotlight on our deeply embedded American mentality, “You do you.” We have seen how painfully unloving and detrimental it can be when self and entitlement are at the core.

My latest blog post for Cornerstone WLA shows us through the example of Jesus how to approach the “You do you” mentality in a more loving, healthy way.

You can read the blog post here.

Essay for Spring 2020 Issue of Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine

My essay, Best Brother, published in the Spring 2020 issue of Intima: A Journal of Narrative Medicine, tells the story of a long-time family friend who suffered a severe spinal cord injury last summer and, like so many of our patients and families, was faced with sudden life-altering decisions in the ICU. But with a fully paralyzed body, a breathing tube down his throat, and a mind completely intact, how could he participate in any of those decisions?

The way his story unfolded was extraordinary. I never in my life would’ve seen it coming, the way he and his family found their way. It speaks a lot to the care from the medical staff as well, and what efforts they must have made to ensure his wishes were honored.

You can read the essay here.

The Year of the Nurse: A Tribute

What can I say in honor of my fellow nurses that hasn’t already been said? I wrote this for my team in particular at our pediatric hospital, but without doubt the heart of this applies to nurses everywhere.

I wish I could tell you how they show up to work each day. They’re my friends, I know some of their personal burdens and stressors, but they show up ready to give the entire next 12 hours completely to the care of others – namely sick kids and their grieving families.

I wish I could tell you how they start their work day, wiping down their stations because they’re all too aware of the bacteria and viruses that have landed their patients critically ill in an ICU. They see the intubated, septic patient who succumbed to that virus and so they religiously wipe down every surface they’ll be touching as best as they can… so they don’t pick up that same virus themselves or take it home to their loved ones.

I wish I could tell you how they walk into their patient rooms, minds full of all the details that need to be tended to for patient care, all the specifics of how to administer meds safely, all the awareness of how that particular patient and family are struggling emotionally and psychologically. They walk into their patient rooms and know they have to be the therapeutic person of focus and calm, despite the storms going on in their minds.

I wish I could tell you how they walk back and forth on their feet, getting supplies, getting meds, running to codes, transporting patients and all their lines, tubes, cables and pumps to emergency MRIs, hoisting patients, turning patients, holding their breath in case their patient is too unstable to tolerate such movements.

I wish I could tell you how they come up with the most ridiculous songs, stories, innovations, costumes, and setups to bring some sense of normalcy to a child whose hospitalized life is anything but normal, to bring a sense of innocence and safety and joy to a child who has become terrified of nurses associated with scary masks, gowns and sometimes needles.

I wish I could tell you how they stand at the bedside of patients taking their last breath, watching the mysterious, sobering, sometimes horrifying ways life can exit from a person. I wish I could tell you what their hearts bear in those sacred moments, but how they defer their own gutwrenching grief because they know even then, it’s still not about them, it’s about keeping the parent from fainting and helping the parent transition to the final goodbye.

I wish I could tell you how they go home, weary and worn, minds and hearts and feet still swollen from the day’s work, the day’s care… 

only to know that tomorrow, they will come back and do it all over again. Whether it’s a coronavirus pandemic or not, they will come back and do it again.

Because this is what we do. We are nurses. It is National Nurses Week. It is Year of the Nurse.