I have always been a healthy young woman. Granted I passed the 30 year milestone last year, I still look like I’m 22!!!  The funny thing is, before I started nursing school I never worried about my health. I never worried, because I would have my blood pressure taken donating blood, it was fine. I have consistantly had low cholesterol levels, worked out regularly and felt really good.

When I started nursing school, I still wasn’t freaked out. One afternoon after a particularly busy day, I had to see a doc at school to get a titer drawn for my requirements. No big deal, except that I hadn’t counted the time to see the doctor, I just figured I had to run by the lab and have them draw blood. It took over an hour before I saw the doctor. He fought with me about seeing what my weight was, I was upset and then he took my blood pressure, what an idiot. It was just a tiny bit high, pretty good for how dehydrated and tense I was, but my pulse was 101.

He wasn’t worried, he said, you know take your pulse at home, if it is 101 again, you need to come in. I went to my class and kept trying to take my pulse, except because I was so freaked ut about it, I was multiplying the number by 10 instead of six. So I thought my pulse was 120 something… when in reality it was about 78.  Which is just fine, it’s a little high, but it’s not a big dea.

Side note: I went to see a cardiologist about four years ago. I had seen a crazy doctor for a physical and they did an EKG. For some reason my resting heart rate was very low, like olympic athlete low. The cardiologist had me wear a halter monitor for 24 hours. It’s kind of like a portable EKG. I went to the gym, I went to work. The results… were unremarkable. I have a perfectly good heart.

Unfortunately, since that little run in with the dumb doctor I have been an anxiety ridden mess. I have always had some degree of anxiety, but managed it well with exercise and such. Nursing school and moving to LB kind of changed all of that. I didn’t have the pool at my leisure, couldn’t fit a yoga class into the schedule easily, and mostly couldn’t afford much more than a gym membership, but was so stressed about school, that I rarely made it to the gym.

Anyone who has been through nursing school will tell you it’s equivalent to a few years in hell. Not only are we constantly trying to take in, process, memorize, and synthesize…. we spend days out there on the floor.  We adjust, manuver, lift, pull, place, poke, prode, listen, console, we do it all. We joke about how we don’t feel like we are people when we are in school, that we are just working machines and it’s true. We are. We spend days in books, in libraries, in coffee shops, we hope we get the answers right and that if we don’t, that at least it will all make sense in clinical, because really that is what matters.

The hardest part of being in nursing school is that knowledge of disease becomes evident. You cannot ignore what a person with a failing heart looks like. What a person who smoked a lot of cigarettes sounds like. You cannot forget the 28 year old who left her Fullbright Scholarship and China to come back be treated for a rare form of lung cancer. The people who’s bodies are broken from being old or being hit while riding their bicycle. It’s in your face constantly, it’s all you think about. You think about how blood pressure is super significant and how diabetes can make people lose their feet. These things, are the things that give me anxiety. The things I cannot control. The most I can do at this point to make myself healthier is to lose weight, which has always proven difficult for me and so I have tried very hard to remain to healthy. So far, I’ve done a great job.

The part I have struggeled with is not worrrying about it. I actually started taking something to help me in the light that I don’t have enough resources all the time to deal on my own. I needed something to keep me a bit more steady. I stopped taking it a few months ago, but I’m going to start again. I have a heavy load this semester. I’ve started working out a lot again. I spent an hour and a half at the gym this morning. I have a trainer, I’m eating egg whites. I’m doing what I can.

I’m working on trying to remember how marvelous the human body is. How it can adapt and change and heal. That if I get sick or if something is wrong with me, it is not the end of the world. If I have to take pills and have regular doctors visits the rest of my life, it is not the end of the world, it does not define me. I’m working on that right now. After all, I don’t look at my patient and think their disease is their fault (well, sometimes I do.) But in my case I need to give the overbearing, perfectionist only child in me a rest and just trust that I’ve done the best I can to make me healthy. If it takes a million creams and pills to make my rash go away,  I will be okay. If I’m sick, I’ll be okay, I’ll get better or I won’t, but I’m banking on the fact that I have a healthy strong life in front of me. I have stuff to knit and sew and babies to love.

I had a freakout moment last night. I let my blood sugar get a little low and got super hot for a minute. I got really scared, I immediately started gathering the medications and vitamins I was taking, thinking I was allergic to sulfa. The boy was here and he just kind of held me and let me rest and calmed me down.  Words cannot express what that meant to me. In that moment, to know he knew I was freaking out because of something silly, but that he just let me ride it out and was there. Sigh, thank you.

Here’s to the sighs, to the anxiety going away, to graduating and getting better health insuarnce and money to pay for doctors visits, I won’t need. Here’s to more training and working out and being healthy this year. I’m doing all I can, the rest is not my job.

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