Beautiful Minds.

#[02222016]

Today was my first day in the Psychiatric ward.

You guys should’ve seen our faces. We were excited and yet we were also anxious and scared. We had too many questions, too many what-if’s even though we were already given an orientation before.

The guard unlocked the gate, pulled it open for us, I can even hear the metals clanking and right at the moment I took one step inside the facility, my heart skipped a beat. It felt like I entered the realm of “The Walking Dead” (Have you ever seen that series? I haven’t. I mean, I only saw about 2-3 episodes in season 2). Their were arms flailing from barred rooms, men and women calling out at us, some smiling widely, some staring at us with curiosity. It was a bit scary. My partner had to grip my arm so tight I could hardly feel it.

We then went to the basketball court at the male clients’ garden (or was that a garden? Not so sure. It was like an open place or something). That was the place where we were given an orientation by the nurse on duty in that ward. The male clients were still inside taking their medications, daily baths and other daily routines they have.

The orientation was a brief recall of theories we’ve learned and important things we should carry with us. He also shared tons of stories. Some made me relieved and some scared me more.

Then, the male clients went out into the open area with us even while we were having the orientation. I can feel everyone going stiff, including me. Then we were dismissed and were told to go find clients for ourselves. We had to face our fear at that instant.

I placed a big smile on my face, putting on an aura of courage but deep inside I know I’m scared. However, when I finally got talk to one of them, they weren’t so bad at all. They were nice, a lot like babies actually. You see, people with mental illness usually delves themselves into the early stage of life — preschool age and such.

There was one patient, he was on his 30’s and yet when I asked him how old he was, he answered me saying: “DOSE.” In the English translation, that meant “TWELVE”.

I had a lot of experience in the ward. It didn’t scare me but rather it lifted me up. It felt a lot like a happy place. Now, don’t get me wrong. HAHA. I’m not crazy.

I met different kinds of people there. One of them was a medical student. She was very interesting. She had on a red lipstick and her wet hair was combed well. While me and my classmates were gathered in a big crowd she started to walk in between all of us and pointed her fingers towards the bathroom saying: That’s my concert hall. That’s where I sing all my songs. It has three compartments. Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao. I always go to Visayas.” I didn’t need to translate anything to you this time because that was exactly how she said it. She was talking to us in English. (Note: Luzon, Visayas and Mindanao are the 3 largest islands of the Philippines.) Another woman, probably in her mid-20’s welcomed us. She actually oriented us in the whole women’s floor. It felt like she was in her sanity. It was fun listening to her. She didn’t seem crazy at all. One time, she challenged the nurse in-charge to tour us around to ask us questions but since the nurse no longer had anything else to ask us, she took over. “Bi, bi, unsa may gamit sa Risperidone bi?” In English it meant: “So, what is Risperidone for?” She challenged us as if so sure that we had nothing to answer.

The people there are amazing. So are the patients. Looking at them, I wonder what each of their stories are, how they got there, why they’re even there and so much more.

So, for all the student nurses out there who are about to be exposed in the Psychiatric Ward for the very first time, this is my advise to you. Carry everything you have learned in theory in your heart and mind BUT! (“BUT” emphasized right there.)  BUT never let it dictate your perception of the patients. Learn to explore the vast unknown of their personalities. Do not let your knowledge scare you thinking you know what a mentally-ill-individual is thinking. That’s being judgmental. As student nurses, always carry a pocket full of knowledge, courage and compassion. Don’t look at your patients as someone who’s barbaric, uncivilized and all that. Erase your imagination of a crazy person with golden teeth, coated with too much dirt that when you look at them the only thing that’s white are their teeth. Stop imagining them having unkept, messy hair with no baths while laughing all the way, stop thinking even that they are always plotting to hurt you or harm you. Remember, you came here for them, not for you. You are not the star here. They are but of course, always be on your guard. We still must look out for ourselves to be able to render care to them but be careful also not to be too careful of yourself that you end up mistaking them for someone they are not. Compassion. Always remember that. 🙂

I’m very thankful to God for giving me the privilege to meet these people with such beautiful minds. They are precious beings. I feel kind of bad for thinking wrongly about them. It was an honor to know that they’re not that scary at all. They may be different, yes. Mentally-challenged, yes but still, they are God’s creations. They’re still beautiful.

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Medical Missions

It was on the 17th of November 2015 that I wrote this thought with ink and on paper.

I got so tired of Nursing, of my life as a whole. My faith was running out of gas. I saw no value nor purpose in it. In fact, I begged God to take me home. I no longer wanted another day.

One day, my mama asked me to assist her in taking pictures in a Medical Mission trip.
Downcast as I was, I didn’t have the heart to go but at the same time, something in me tells me that I needed to go and on I went.

On our way to the mission field, I asked God,

“Lord, hanung imo man jud kong paadtuon? Wa ko kasabot Lord.”

English Translation: “Lord, why are you leading me there? I don’t understand.”

Then, Medical Missions started and God has given me the grace and the chance to use my profession of choice into practice, NURSING.

Serving God filled me with so much joy, I would fail to explain it.

As the day came to a close and the Medical Mission in that particular place was over, I prayed and asked God again.

“Lord, unsa man jud imong purpose atu?”

English Translation: “Lord, please tell me what your purpose for all that.”

Then, He answered me saying,

“To remind you why you’re there in the first place.”

Boom! Fireworks! Loud gong! Bang, bang, bang!

Everything is starting to fall into place. It seems that I gave up on life because I was not living THE LIFE. I started to live for the purpose of MYSELF. Study hard, aim for good grades, what to eat, what to wear, friends but life is God and if life is God then “SELF” has no place in it.

Sadly, this is how life has been for the majority and I hate to break it to you but you’re living a life made by the standards created by people.
Born to go to school, get a diploma, graduate in flying colors, travel the world, settle down, build a family and die only to realize you have never lived at all.

I am not saying that living that kind of life is wrong. It is not wrong to have goals and dreams in life as long as it will always go to and for the glory of God. Such life becomes wrong when it takes you away from God’s plan and purpose for your life. If it pulls you further and further away from God and if it sucks all the time out of your schedules, if it becomes your sole and top priority life then it is wrong.

You see, life is for God and to live it for yourself would not be called LIVING but shall be called DYING.

Imagine a bird which was created to fly but then its fellow birds tells it that they were meant to swim and so the bird dives onto the depths of the water and enjoys it for a short while, only to find itself gasping for air, slowly dying and realizing too late that it was only and solely meant for flying. Its life would be so tragic.

Don’t let yours be.

Live as how God designed you to be: For Him and exclusively for Him alone.

Out of the Blue

So it was supposed to be another tiring start of duty kind of day for a student-nurse like me. Like any other duty-days, I dropped by the pharmacy to buy sterile gloves. I was still a little bit groggy and my mind is at point blank. I hit myself by the racks and gosh did I look so clumsy.

I was wearing my white hospital-duty uniform with my name plate on. It had my name, school and expected graduation year engraved on it.

While ordering the gloves over the counter, a guy suddenly asked me about this particular clinical instructor from my school. I was taken aback. Do I even know this guy? Probably not. So I asked him if he ever was a nursing student from my school and surprisingly, he was. He was 4 years ahead of me so by the time I got into that college, he already graduated. He’s currently a medical student. Yes guys, he aims to be a doctor someday and then out of the blue, after a 20-second silence between us he told me:

“Pag-Med oyy.”

In English, dear friends, that sentence meant:

“Go take up Medicine.”

What? What’s this guy saying out of the blue? Me? Medicine? I can hardly pass this nursing course. I’m surprised he even said that.

You see, it was only two days ago when I asked God if I should take up medicine at all. So whatever this random person told me had become really significant to me. I don’t even know his name. Errrr, I forgot to ask him. My bad.

So really, I was wondering if this was God answering my prayer or was it just coincidental?

What do you guys think?

It was You

The skies that day was too clear with fascinating shades of blue and white, puffy clouds.
And oh how the ocean captivated me with its dark, blue waters and dancing waves ever alluring the attention of the crowd.
On the night of that same day, I lay on the cold, fine sand and I saw the stars.
They shone so brightly, standing out in the darkness of the sky.
The next day, I woke up, got out of the tent and did a little stretch only to find myself completely dazed at the resplendent sunrise.
And yet, it was not any of these that left me in awe.

Oh Lord, it was You.

It is You because You’re the beautiful One.
You’re the One to whom our eyes should take too long to stare.
The skies, the ocean, the stars, the sunrise and the rest of Your creations will never be enough to reflect the amplitude of Your beauty.
But for now, may we praise You for the grace that made us take a glimpse of You by merely seeing the glorious works of Your hands.

Oh how we long for that day when You come oh Lord.
Oh come, Our King.