Sunday, December 9, 2012

My Own Mount Everest

Hey Peeps—

This week I have reached the summit of Mt. Everest.   Not literally, mind you.  Actually at this very moment I’m in stretchy pants, underneath about 5 layers of blankets on my pillow topped King size mattress.  My 7 year old is also next to me reading Diary of a Wimpy Kid, which is a little distracting, as he tends to ask a lot of questions.  But in between his questions, I have time to revel in the fact that in four days I will be graduating from Nursing school, and oh my gosh!  It feels amazing!  

Several months before I started Nursing school I became interested in Mt. Everest.  I have no idea what prompted this curiosity.  Every book I could get my hands on, every documentary I could watch, anything I could learn about the  almost 29,000 ft. Mt. Everest fascinated me.  I was quoting statistics to people, and talking about it at dinnertime to the kids.  Something about climbing the highest mountain in the world grabbed a hold of me, and I was obsessed.  It all makes sense to me now.  I was about to embark on my own quest up a long, hard, cold mountain, and I needed to know that the task was not impossible. 

Mt. Everest had some of the same elements as my own real mountain.  There are oxygenation issues, the importance of staying hydrated, and the ever popular Nursing Diagnosis: Risk for Falls.  All the way up my Everest I saw parallels.  The first day I started my climb, all three of my kids were home sick.  The irony of that still kills me.  I desperately wanted to be home caring for my kids, but was instead leaving them to go learn how to become a nurse.  Billy, who might not look great in a nurse’s cap, stayed with them, and cared for them.  This whole two years, he’s been the rock of this family, keeping things running, at what I like to call “base camp”. 

There’s nothing glamorous about Base camp.  But you can’t have a climb to Everest without a solid base camp.  It’s where all the supplies are kept, the communication relayed, and where you come back to several times as you acclimate to the harsh conditions.  Fortunately for me, base camp was my home, and every day I returned to the safety, warmth, and hugs.  Sure, there was still laundry to do, and bathrooms to clean, but the love that greeted me each day, was what gave me the courage to set out the next day.  And slowly I began to make some progress. 

When you climb Everest, you go up slowly, stopping at certain points, and staying put for an extended period of time.  The time goes by slowly, as you wait, and you might be convinced that you will never reach your goal.  I felt this way, especially my first semester, when I was doing my clinicals at a nursing home.  I knew I had so far to go, and wanted to hurry up and advance, but I had to stop, and learn the basics before going on.  You have to have a foundation, and this was the semester that my nursing foundation of knowledge began. 

Along this journey, I slipped and fell a lot.  I was blinded, not by the sun or wind, but by my fears.  I spent much of the time doubting that I had the courage to keep going.  But Billy and the kids cheered me on, not to mention family and friends who reminded me I could do it.  Texts, phone calls, and hugs in front of the kids’ school empowered me to keep hiking upward, and not worry about the fact that I hadn’t shaved my legs in months.  

And this week, in four days I will attend a Pinning Ceremony.  Billy will meet me on stage, and place a pin on me, which represents the goal that WE, have accomplished.  I want to stop time this week, and just enjoy the view.  I am humbled and blessed. 
But just like on the summit of Everest, time is of the essence.  You can’t linger for long, because the trek down is actually as hard as the trek up.  I’m not sure exactly what lies before me, but I know God’s been with me every step of the way.   And now it’s time to for me to try out my wings and fly!   P.S.  I’m looking for a job.  Anyone? Anyone?