A new kind of Christmas: A husband, a hospital, and a whole lotta change

I've always been one for traditions. From going around on Christmas Eve to look at lights, to eating fruit crepes on Christmas morning. When I got married to the love of my life on September 14th of this year, I knew traditions would change. And as happy as I was (and am) about being a Mrs., my heart ached knowing that things would have to change.


Along with getting married, my new full-time nursing gig threatened to change traditions. I love my job, and I love not having to spend every free moment studying, but currently I'm missing my month long Christmas break that I got in college! Some people say that deciding what to do for the holidays is one of the challenges early on in marriage. For better or worse,  I found out in early October that I would be working Christmas Day, so the decision was made for us and holidays became a non-issue. 

So, Christmas 2013 has come and gone. It was different, with new traditions made and old traditions that didn't happen, but it was oh so beautiful in it's own way. Have a peek:

Our first Christmas tree in our little apartment, making our new home seem so much homier! 


We started off our Christmas celebration with a surprise for the husband man- a trip to watch our favorite basketball team play. Go Nuggs! 


We headed down to Colorado Springs to stay with Alex's parents. We visited the Broadmoor-an incredibly fancy hotel that is decorated with lights and beautiful trees. 


Oh. And a giant life-size gingerbread house. Note that it is MUCH taller than my already 6 foot 3 husband. The Broadmoor also just happens to have grand pianos all over the place. So, I took a sit at one and played Christmas carols with the family singing along. 


Christmas Eve rolled around and we spent it with my husband's family since I would be working the next day. We helped prepare prime rib and shrimp for Christmas Eve dinner (can you say "best meal you've ever tasted?"), and headed out for Christmas Eve service with the entire family. 


We came back and played games while the prime rib cooked, and then it was time to dig in! 


 For those who know me, I have always LOVED celebrating holidays whether it be birthdays or Christmas on the actual day. Part of what I'm learning in this whole adult thing is that the expectation of doing things on the actual day is more or less unrealistic. So as we opened presents a day "early", I reminded myself that quality time counts, no matter the time or officially designated day. 


And finally the most long awaited day of the year- December 25, 2013. I got an early start to the day- 4:45 AM to be exact. As I drove to the hospital in complete darkness singing Christmas carols in the car, I reminded myself that while I was working on Christmas day, at least I wasn't a child in the hospital on Christmas day. 

Work was weirdly empty with only 9 out of our 24 beds on our wing full. Four nurses started the day, one went home, leaving three of us to stuff our faces with an inordinate amount of goodies. 

Most of my patients were little babies, and probably not in tune to the fact that they were spending Christmas in the hospital. Their parents, however, were very in tune to this fact. And though I could see the sadness and longing to be home on Christmas day, they all agreed that the best Christmas present they could get was their child's health... even if it meant spending December 25th in a hospital room. 

Christmas Day I was thankful that I was in the position to offer a smile and a helping hand even though it meant being away from my own family.  

Many of my fellow colleagues Christmas Day had children of their own that were celebrating Christmas without their mama or papa- I was thankful that, though I must work, at least I don't have any of my own kiddos at home (yet) that I must leave for the day.

Christmas Day was different- I wouldn't choose to work it again, but at the same time it was a good reminder to be thankful for all that I have. To remember that family counts, not a day on a calendar. To remember that Jesus' birth can be celebrated by serving His children. 


Early morning the day after Christmas, husband man and I left early to Durango to celebrate Christmas with my family. We got to spend time around a third beautiful tree, open Christmas presents a second time, and just spend time together. 

This year was different. But I got two full days of Christmas and a chance to shine the light of Jesus at work. New traditions were made (I 'm totally okay with prime rib and shrimp instead of ham for Christmas dinner), and old ones were kept (like each taking turns to open presents). 

Most of all, I was with the people I love, laughing and making memories that I will have forever. We celebrated the birth of our Lord and the blessings of the past year which is really the only tradition that matters. 

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year! 

The Snow. The Mountains. And God


"I lift my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from?
 My help comes from the Lord..."- Psalm 121:1-2
God's awesome =D
(this is a previous post published on Facebook in 2010)


As I run up a steep hill every morning on my daily jog, I see "the hills" (Pikes Peak) in the distance, and I imagine that I'm holding onto a rope that's attached to the mountain, and it's pulling me up to the top. But what happens on the days that I can't see the hills?

This morning as the snow fell hard, Pikes Peak was nowhere to be found. But though I couldn't see it, I had no doubt in my mind that it was there.

Kinda like God.

If I was asked this morning to bet my life that Pikes Peak was still standing- I would have bet my life. If I was asked this morning to bet my life on the fact that God was living, real, and loving- I would have bet my life. But would I have hesitated a split second more on the second bet?

Sometimes, even on the cloudiest of days, you can squint and make out a faint outline of the mountains on the horizon. This is just a reminder, that yes, they are there. The same goes for God. Even in the darkest of times, if you squint and look closer, you can see the faint outline of God- whether it's him blessing you with the ability to walk, or the abundance of having 3 meals on the table. Maybe it's the eerie silence of the snow, the sun peeking through the clouds, or the stirring of the wind that are the outlines of God in your life. Sometimes seeing these outlines of God, allows us to focus on His face better.

This morning I was blessed with the reassurance that God was as close to me as the snowflakes falling on my face. Though I couldn't see God, or Pikes Peak, I felt an incredibly surge of strength propelling me to the top of the hill faster than I'd ever gone before.

I realized that the joy in this life comes from believing that God is as real as Pikes Peak and as constant as the rising sun. Just simply knowing, without a doubt, that Jesus is constantly there loving on us, and encouraging us each step of the way- what a thing to smile about!

So as I lift my eyes to the hills, I know that, just like Pikes Peak, God is always, and will always be there- whether or not I can see him through the snow.

Me


I'm Sarah (with an “H”… don’t forget the “H”)
 
 
I’m a Jesus lover, wife, daughter, sister, friend, and nurse.
 
I love a lot of things, but the top things really do have to be:
(besides those already mentioned above of course… I do not love food more than my husband)
 


©food
©laughing
©sunshine
©seeing God's hand work in my life
 
 
Stick around as we laugh, enjoy food, explore God, and find beauty in the little things.


 




I'm a "real" nurse... well kind of

So. As most of you may or may not know, I just started a new job in August. As a nurse. A REAL nurse. Well kinda, not really. You see, I have the paper license behind my name proving that I am a “real” nurse. But I don’t think one becomes a real nurse until they can successfully manage 3-4 patients on their own. Or at least find the ice machine on their first try.

So, first off, this job is on the surgical/rehabilitation/neurology floor at Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora, Colorado. Children’s Hospital Colorado has consistently been ranked in the top 10 pediatric hospitals in the nation… I say this not to toot my own horn, but to tell you that, folks, I should not have gotten this job. If it weren’t for the mighty hand of God working in my life and placing me right where He wanted me to be I would still be sitting on my couch right now, jobless, and broker by the day. Anyway that’s another story for another time. 

Back to it. My first month as a nurse. Well the first two weeks were sitting in a classroom learning about everything from oxygen to the mission and values of CHCO… nice, for sure, but let me tell you I picked the right profession because I was just OVER sitting still.

The learning curve is steep… and I could write about how incompetent I feel on a daily minute-to-minute basis… but I won’t bore you with the sob stories. Instead you can hear how I have absolutely embarrassed myself in my first 10 shifts as a nurse. I’m hoping that the more I tell these stories, the more funny, and less mortifying they’ll become.

Let’s start with the first day shall we.

Here’s my first day of school I mean work picture. Only difference is, I’m by myself in my house and it’s a lot darker and earlier than I ever would have dreamed of waking up for the first day of school .

And why, yes, I did put a lot of thought into my first day of work outfit, and pack my lunch the night before. Which brings me to embarrassing moment #1.



See those light yellow scrub pants? They are virtually the most comfortable things I have worn ever- they basically feel like awesome sweat pants instead of the awkward drawstring-you-have-to-pull-really-tight scrubs that I’m used to. NOTE, however, the LIGHT yellow color.

Cheery, yes, but also very see through. Which, I failed to notice until halfway through my shift… by then I’m sure everyone and their mother had noticed, and I spent the rest of the day talking to people only if I was seated or had my back to a wall.

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I spent all of 3 years of nursing school SUCCESSFULLY concealing my undergarments beneath the famously dreaded all-white scrubs. Only to fail on the first day of being a “real nurse”. 

*facepalm*

Let’s move on to incident number two. I had sweet adolescent girl as my patient—she happened to be pretty sick and consequently had about two million IV lines running from her various machines to various tubes inserted into her body. 

I was in there administering a medication, pretending like I knew what I was doing, only to unhook two ends of tubing and have white liquid squirt all over my entire patient’s belly. I had forgotten to clamp the tube, and lo and behold, here came the flood (flood of lipids, to be exact). 

Oh, and did I mention there were 5 doctors in the room standing all over my patient as I so gracefully managed to give her her morning shower. 5 is not an exaggeration… Children’s is a teaching hospital so there will often be multiple people rounding on one patient—the attending, the resident,  the interns, the who-knows-who. 5 people indeed witnessed the great white shower.

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And finally, onto my third mistake. There’s more than 3, but these are the most memorable (for the wrong reason?)

I decided I felt confident enough to go into the medication room without my orienting nurse and prepare an IV bag of an antifungal. Well long story short, a couple tubes in the wrong place and one wrong hole, and sure enough, 10 minutes later my attempt at independence had turned into an environmental health concern as I watched my antifungal medication squirt all over the wall and floor as I tried to unsuccessfully stop it.
Well, what can you do?

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This was my first month as a nurse. Definitely funnier now that it’s over, and it’s not ALL bad. The nurses I’ve been working with have been super supportive (“Oh you squirted a medication all over the wall? No problem, I’ve done that too!”), and really helpful (“Psss, Sarah, clamp your tube!)

Which is MORE than I could ever have even hoped for. Mistakes don’t seem so bad when they’re taken in stride by those around you. Or even better when they’re not hung over your head threatening to have your grade failed.

All in all, I expect more mortifying moments to come. I just really try to avoid having one each day. And, I am continually grateful for all the support I receive from the staff and nurses (yayy!)

And last but not least, I think the hardest part of the job so far has been being nice to myself. Not shaming myself for making a fool of myself in front of doctors; not expecting myself to know everything after two weeks on the job; not beating myself up for having to be reminded where the diapers are…again.

And ultimately, remembering that God is with me every step of the way. 

~SJ





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