If I was my patient, how would I feel?

THEY say “Remember apple, table, coin.”

I am angry.
You would be too.
Try not being able to speak.
Attempt to communicate and cause only confusion.

Try wearing a brief.
Sit in your urine and wait.
Then in your feces.
And to make the indignity worse
Allow a stranger to invade your privacy and
wipe. your. butt.
THEY did this to me. So I couldn’t be president.

Then skip all enjoyment of food.
Instead have a tube where sustenance goes
No. more. swallowing.
Water sipped could kill.

Maybe I’d prefer to die than to sit here like this.
I told THEM not to help me.

I blame THEM for this arm that doesn’t work.
Then THEY extend my fingers just to make it HURT like *%#

THEY are trying to control me.

THEY tell me these are voice.
How would you like to be told your reality isn’t real?
*%$@ you.
I. Am. Angry.
You would be too.

Then THEY ask me, “What did we memorize?”
Why are they asking? Of course I remember.



This is a piece about how I imagine it feels like to have Schizophrenia, dementia and a CVA (stroke) that caused dysphasia (inability to swallow, which means my nutrition is delivered to my stomach via a PEG tube) and a contracture of the arm and hand. It’s part of my reflection on CNA clinicals.

Asking a patient to remember three unrelated words is part of testing memory. It’s common for our minds to replace information we don’t remember with other information without us even being conscious of it.

Several times when I use the words THEY and THEM I’m referring to caregivers and several references are to delusions/hallucinations caused by Schizophrenia. I thought about differentiating them, but ultimately this piece is from the patient’s perspective and they may not be able to differentiate.

To prevent infections, a patient with a contractured hand will need to have their hand opened so it can be cleaned and dried. This can be extremely painful. So, this use of THEY refers to caregivers.


Nursing school starts on Monday, so this may be my last post for a while.

Confessions from failure

To wrap up my reflection on my short time in the Army, here’s a short piece I wrote a few years ago:


There are many things that remind me
Of the failure in my past.
The smell of gunpowder in the air
which follows
the crack, crack, burst of the rifle.
The burning in my lungs and thighs
after a long distance run.
The rough, gravelly concrete beneath my palms
with the strenuous rhythm of push-up and down.
The off kilter of concrete
slabs beneath my back
as my stomach muscles contract
Lifting chest to knees.
The sound of angry voices
crude language on their lips.
The screeching voices echoing
“Failure, failure. You will never be
anything more.”


For several years after my discharge from the Army I wrestled with the sting of failure. It started with a wrongly diagnosed sprained ankle. I was treated for an invisible fracture, told to walk until it showed up on the X-ray. Because it was sprained, the pain went away after a few days and I continued to run and jump. But within a few hours, the pain returned but too late to go to the Doctor. Without a trip to the Dr I had to train and we were severely punished because one man did something stupid. I spent an entire Sunday afternoon doing squat thrusts (some people call them burpees) using only my opposite leg and ended up with a knee injury. From there the injuries collected: resulting in damage to both hips, both knees and that initial ankle. I training injured for 7 weeks and then the day came: the final PT test. I passed the push ups and sit-ups with no problem and then failed the 2-mile run by 3 seconds. I remember collapsing in defeat after that failure. A few days later I tried again and once again failed the 2-mile run by 3 seconds. A few days later I gave up trying and failed again by more than a minute. I told them I wanted to go home. To get permission to be discharged I had to meet one-on-one with the Captain. He told me that it cost the military $50,000 to get me to this point in training and because they spent that $50,000 on me instead of on resources for another Private out in the sandbox, he was dead. It was my fault another private was dead and here I was quitting. I was a failure.

Those words haunted me for a long while. I do not believe them now. And I no longer feel like my discharge represents a failure. Did I fail? Yes. Was it a failure? No. It was the right path for me. The five years I would have spent in the military would have radically changed who I am and how I see the world. I am thankful. Thankful for the injuries. Thankful for those 3 seconds. I don’t feel thankful for that Captain, but he was only doing his job to the best of his ability. I think I’ll pray for him tonight.

I’m thankful for the experience. I’m not sure I could explain why. But I am.

How about you? What experiences are you thankful for?

Remembering Emily Faith

Exactly two years ago, a sweet baby girl came into the world too early and ten hours later left us too soon. Emily Faith you are missed.

Awake but Dreaming of You

It was a journey that began abruptly
A little warning with blood and contractions
But with hope that the Great Physician would
Take care of the precious life
That the Creator would sustain

I saw healing and restoration as I prayed
And thanked Him for His provision
Before it came
Trusting in His unending care

Anxiety as the flight took off
Carrying sister and child
Dear God, please help us
The only words

Thankfulness and respite
For a moment
As all seemed calm and well

Shock and fear
Emily Faith was born today
She survived

It’s a long journey
Thirty percent
four to eight months

Lord God, give us strength for this journey

Hope for healing
A strong heart beat
All her fingers and toes

Dear God, thank You for life

In a meeting
Phone vibrates
Shock, horror, grief, disbelief

“Emily did not make it”

Focus.  Where were we at?
Let’s continue
Let’s wrap this up

Feel the darkness coming
Trying to stave it off


Phone Rings


I um.

Point to phone
Room next door is empty

Sit on couch
Answer phone
Silence with shock and sobs

Barely speak
Hang up


I don’t understand

Walk to desk
Grab purse
Emily didn’t make it.
I’m leaving

Want to give a hug
But can’t

Can’t hold it together

An endless walk
To car and safety


Text prayer warriors


Parking lot
Like a movie
Sobbing on steering wheel

Oh God, How are we going to make it?
My family can’t handle this, too!


Oh, my God!

Oh, my God!

Oh, my God!


Why have you forsaken me?


Rocking sobs
Racking grief

Get out of car
Walk in building
Into elevator
Moving up

Phone Rings.




Emily is alive.


Is this a joke?






Oh, my God
On a sigh
Of thankfulness

Just think in twenty years,
We’ll tell how God
Miraculously brought her back to life

The little girl Jesus healed.

How great is our God.

Go to appointment
In shock
Can barely speak
Then can’t stop

Am I crazy?

My finite mind can’t keep up


All the juxtapositions of opposites

Hope soars
And blossoms
Into dreams

Talk to sister
Doing well

Long road

Should I come?

I don’t know

Do what you want.

Head to friends

Share my news

Hugs and love

Driving home

Return to work

Work, work, work.

Share story with a friend

Praying, praying, praying

Turn off computer

Phone vibrates


“Emily has passed away”


A second walk
To a distant car
That’s not really very far

Sit in darkness


A whispered
Oh, my God

Texted back

“So sorry. I love you.”

No words

Call friend

“Can I come over?”

“What happened?”

“She died.”



Can’t stay awake
Can’t go to sleep
Streaming tears

Oh, my God.

Visions of Emily
Safe in His arm

“Antie Krista
I love it here
I wish you were here
Can’t wait for you
To come”

She’s happy
And dancing
With sweet ‘lil ones
My friends have


“I’m glad you’re there
But I wish you were

I didn’t get to hold you
I wish I could”

I should have gone on Monday

But, I didn’t.

I trust God’s prompting
And His timing

But sweet, girl,
I wish I had touched you

Just a second
So I could remember
The feel of your little

The softness of your head
All ten toes.

My sweet, sweet niece
I love you more than I can say

You and Maddie.
I love
more than I ever thought I could

And you are gone

Never to be held in my arms.

I know someday I’ll hold you
I’ll hold you forever

I guess I’ll share you with your mommy
And daddy and everyone else

But I can’t wait to just hold you
Hold you and spin
And laugh with joy to
Just be with you

Sweet, precious Emily Faith
I’m so glad your parents named you

The perfect name.
For a perfect tiny

Ten hours

So short but long time

Ten hours and life has changed


The world’s axis has shifted

So tired
Can’t sleep

Tears streaming
But dreaming
Of you


You can read Emily’s story on my sister’s blog.

Lead me in the way everlasting

My heart cries: lead me in the way everlasting;
the everlasting way of the Lord.

You are everlasting
and your way is eternal.
The flowers may fade
but Your Word remains.
Lead me Your everlasting way;

The way of the Lord
Is illuminated by
the light of the Word.
Light of the World
Lead me in your everlasting way

You have searched me and known me;
You know me intimately.
You embroidered me together
with colors too wonderful to imagine–
with detailed thoughts of how
my way would overlap with Yours.

Lead me in the way everlasting;
the everlasting way of the Lord.

You works are wonderful.
Inspi’ring deep awe and praise.
Your ways are too much for me
to know.

How good it is to taste
the goodness of the Lord.
Like the sweetest candy
or the freshest water.

Lead me in the way everlasting;
the everlasting way of the Lord.

Inspired by: Ps 139 (Amplified version), Isaiah 40:8, Psalm 119:105, Psalm 34:8. John 8:12.