Friday, May 25, 2007

Blogging my heart ache

Sorry I didn't post this blog on Monday, like I usually do. It was not a great week.

The weather was beautiful, it was my wonderful hubby's birthday, and generally, there were a lot of things to celebrate. But most of the week I didn't feel great. I had a non-stop allergy headache, then an earache, and then an old ski injury in my neck flared up. Worst of all, my heart ached the whole week.

I have always reserved this blog as a writing related, creative outlet for my thoughts and ramblings. Lord knows, I can sure ramble. I usually try to forget my work-work and spend this blog on my creative-work. This week, my work-work is haunting me.

Ok, without going into a detailed explanation, for those of you who don't know this: I am a pediatric nurse. I work with my state's child protection agency. I've always enjoyed working with kids, but never really loved nursing. This is a hard field to work in... child protection. Usually, we try to protect and prevent children from getting abused. Sometimes we have a lot of success. Sometimes we're just too late. This was one of those 'too-late' weeks.

FYI, the details of these cases appeared in the local papers so I am not telling you anything confidential.

My first tough case of the week was a five month old baby. She was shaken by her mother's paramour to the point where her brain swelled and she died. I read the medical expert's report and cried. The baby sustained numerous fractures (old and new) including a protruding collarbone fracture, many rib fractures, and leg fractures. What really gets to me is this: she had bite marks on her. Bite marks. Clearly, the person who did this had some kind of mental disorder. It doesn't make me less angry that he did this to an innocent baby... bite marks. God rest her little soul. Her organs were harvested and through her death, some other children can live. She is a true angel.

My second case hit close to home, for the child was a sibling of my 8 year old son's friend. A three-year old drowned last weekend at the home of a friend. The two families got together, the kids went off playing, and the little one got away unnoticed. He was found in the pool. His father (a doctor) did CPR to no avail. I had to interpret some medical info for the caseworker. Again, I cried. I used to be very clinical about things when I worked in the PICU. I was the calmest nurse in a code scene. I could just go on auto-pilot and do what needed to be done, and cry privately later. Not now... not on cases like these. God rest Declan's soul, too.

My heart breaks for these families. Both will be wracked with guilt forever. If I had only... If we had just... I wish I could roll back that time for them so they could just...
I want to scream out, I want to plaster all over billboards, I want to make the headlines read: Only YOU can prevent tragedy. It makes me want to go on a major campaign: PREVENT PREVENT PREVENT. Make sure you know where your kids are - make sure that pool gate is locked. Make sure you know who is watching your child. And never, never, never shake a baby.

I want to be a writer. I want to tickle kids and make them laugh with words, move them with my stories, and make them love books as much as I do. But I also want to save these kids. Save them from harm, save them from heartache, and save them from all the bad things that this world has to offer. I'm no superwoman. I can't do it all.

I don't want to be a nurse. I want to be a writer. I am tired of my heart aching for the children. But I can't stop nursing now. I have to use the skills that I have in writing to save some children. I don't think my heart will stop aching until I at least try.

As much as I really want to jump right back into my fantasy story revisions and go to work on the last packet of this semester, I can't. My muse refuses to budge. She has dug in her heals and will not turn on even a trickle of creative juice until I have done my job. For as much as she pesters me to get back into my creative writing, she also pesters me to do my job. All week I've ranted about how preventable child drownings usually are, and how I want to make everyone aware that they need to be careful. Now my muse won't rest until I put my pen where my mouth is... and in this case, where my heart is.

I look forward to a happier week next week. Happy Memorial Day, everyone. Enjoy it!

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