Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Tales from the Light and the Dark Side

How was my day of self-care? Cut short by a phone call from one of my kids needing financial assistance. Oh well, at least I got the massage first (which was wonderful). Haircut and clothes will have to wait a while longer. The nicest part of my day was taking my girls and riding out to visit my friend Debbie and her girls. My friend Teresa navigated our way to some far flung corner of a rural suburb where we arrived just in time with lasagna and fixins for Debbie and her family as they were unloading the last of the boxes they brought with them. The timing was perfect. Teresa and I quickly got the meal ready for Debbie and her lovely, but tired and hungry daughters and we all sat down to a jolly feast. Debbie's husband arrived home from work just in time to share the meal with us. We visited a while and then packed up, leaving the leftovers, so that they could get on with the enormous task of making their house into a home. Debbie, tender-hearted soul that she is, was near tears as she thanked us for being there to welcome her family to their new home. I thought of the time about 23 years ago, when I was laid off and had two small boys and no food in the house. In desperation (and too ashamed to call my family), I called Debbie. She showed up within the hour with a bag a groceries under each arm, the store bought food was supplementmented with items from her own cabinets (now I'm in tears). She didn't have much money so she had given us some of her own food! She comforted me as she helped me fill my empty cabinets and refridgerator. I thought of the time, nineteen years ago when I was single and pregnant and scared and unsure and how she stood beside me and was a good friend to me, and how she came to my birth to help me welcome my family.
You are welcome, dear friend.
I'll attend my LLL meeting later today with my daughter-in-law. I'm looking forward to it. Its been a while since I've updated the book so I'll write about that.
This book will be a series of stories about my experiences, as a birthing woman, as a student nurse, as a labor and delivery nurse, and as a birth advocate. I was visiting one of my former nurse-managers (one of the few who at least emphathized with my point of view) earlier this week and telling her about my "tell-all" book and she had some interesting thoughts. She said, if she could add a few chapters to my book, it would be about the importance of leadership and how much an organization is influenced from the "top down." She stated that how care is administered by the front line practitioners is heavily influenced by the ethics and attitudes of the powers that be (I'm paraphrasing).
In the institution where she and I worked together, the patients were mere fodder for residents to practice on. It was even implied in the hospital mission which placed the learning of medicine before the care of patients. I was saddened and sickened by the many abuses I observed there. My book will tell the story of my sad misadventures, and miniscule victories there. Mostly I banged my head against the wall until I was senseless. But I'm happy to report that others rose up after I left who do a much better job of creating change within the system. I've acknowledged to myself that I am NOT a team player, and don't work well within systems. I keep asking myself, how will I write about my failures? I'm no hero. I didn't change things, I only antagonized most of the time. I was quite misguided in my fervor. My motives were pure but at times I only made things worse. I can only tell my story- as it unfolded. Perhaps there will be some lesson for others even in my failures.

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