“Though you stumble and fall, you’re not down for long; for God grasps your hand in support and upholds you.” (Psalm 37:24)
They say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks! And I should know! However, I can confirm that whilst it is hard to learn new things, it’s not impossible if you stick with it.
Earlier this year, somewhere in the middle of trying to get my head around Wenkebach, Purkinje fibers, hemodynamics, Mobitz Type 1, ‘p’ and ‘t’ waves, colloids or crystalloids, bigemeny, CO=SVxHR, SIRS criteria, Torsades de Ponts, ventilation and oxygenation principles, continuous venovenous hemodiafiltration mode, action potentials, coagulation cascades, PVC’s, the Renin Angiotensin Aldosterone System, Starlings Law and refractory periods, I hit cardiac standstill. I Over and out. I was done. Finished. Asystole.
Around half way through first semester of Post-Graduate study I felt as though there was a complete absence of any significant electrical impulses anywhere in my body! I hit overload. And I wanted to give up. I wanted to quit.
Even though I had only just started, I knew what was still ahead. And I didn’t think the ‘old dog’ in me had what it was going to take.
I remember being only two weeks into my new job in the Intensive Care Unit and I felt like I was an old dog that should be home lying in the sun dreaming of chasing bones instead of running around and wagging my tail every time someone at work looked in my direction. Hoping to impress them. Hoping to please them. Hoping to do the right thing. Hoping to succeed. Hoping not to look like an idiot.
Hoping to be able to “make it” as an ICU nurse.
I constantly felt inadequate. I felt so old. I felt so under-prepared. I felt worried about the rookie mistakes I was probably making. I felt lost. Like I was (only) just holding my head above the water. I felt like… I.Really.Can’t.Do.This.
I’ve been called many things and described in many different ways over the years but being called a “quitter” is not often on that list.
But earlier this year being a “quitter’ was #1 on my list of Things To Do.
Abandon the course.
Forsake all future opportunities.
Relinquish my job.
But instead I reached out to my friends and I said “Help me! I’m discouraged. I’m overwhelmed. I’m scared. I don’t think I can do this. I feel as though I’m stumbling and rushing headfirst downhill ready to face plant and be ridiculed by my peers for my lack of knowledge and skills. I want to give up.”
And God, through my friends, reached out, grasped me by the hand and lifted me back up with words of encouragement and support. (Thankfully God’s gifts come wrapped in people – people I’m so blessed to have in my life.)
God (through my friends) reminded me that old dogs can learn new tricks.
“What God brings you to He will bring you through. He gave you this job, so remember that He is right there with you every moment you are in the ICU. Draw upon His strength, relax and ask God for wisdom and direction each time you go to care for a patient.”
“The enemy is messing with your head!!! So we are surrounding you with a circle of protection to keep him from destroying your peace. You are answering God’s call, Nicki! And the enemy doesn’t like that one little bit! He’s just trying to undermine your success. And we won’t let him!”
“God is not a God of confusion but satan loves to confuse and bring doubts. Remember God is in control and it is His “approval” you should seek. Work as if working for the Lord. Love God and your patients…He will take care of the rest.”
Thanks to my friends (and Winnie the Pooh), the moral of the story is this: when I felt like I wanted to quit all I needed to do was reach out to my friends and they told me that I was “braver than you believe; and stronger than you seem and smarter than you think.”
So I have decided I am not going to give up and I am not going to quit. I am going to stick with it. Because this dog’s still got some new tricks to learn!
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