Growth, Healing, Uncategorized

Night In Room 4: Trauma Unit

“So dear, how many seizures would you say he’s had tonight…” the nurse asked me while I choked back sobs.

“Uh… I’m not sure, maybe 20?” Greg held his breath and yet again cringed and turned ashen as another wave hit him, and he let out a big exhale as it passed.

“Okay, height, weight, any known allergies?” She asked again.

I dappled through the litany of questions, while Greg shook and we headed into the ER entrance right away and he was lifted to a stretcher.

TWO HOURS EARLIER THAT EVENING…

“Hey honey, how was work today?” I asked, stirring a pot of noodles waiting for Greg’s arrival.

He dropped his lunch box to the floor and headed upstairs.

“Pretty good, I’m just going to head upstairs and shower before dinner.”

He came downstairs shortly and wolfed down a bowl of tortollini and salad. Once cleaned up from dinner and loading the dishwasher, we sat on the couch to watch some Seinfeld reruns. Greg took some more cold medicine, he’d been fighting symptoms all week, but was getting better…or so I thought.

As we laughed between jokes on TV, I noticed Greg was gripping the couch in an odd fashion. He closed his eyes and braced himself, once then again and again. It was as if he was having contractions, that was the best way to put it. One would come and then leave, then they got closer together. I figured his blood sugar was low, he had been sick after all. So I grabbed him some orange juice. He downed a glass in a single gulp and seemed to be okay for a few moments. Then they came on him again, this time worse than before. His body twitched and contorted.

“Let’s go Greg, NOW! We are going the On-Call clinic.” Why I didn’t just bring him to the ER, I have no idea. I willed my brain to work.

“Why? I’m fine.” He uttered.

“No you definitely aren’t.” I raced for my keys and flip-flops and headed out the door.

When we reached the On-Call clinic they insisted we go the ER. On our way over, Greg began to twitch and contort voraciously around in his seat. I said his name, shouted it out and he didn’t respond, as if he didn’t hear me. Then he uttered a huge exhaling breath and slunk back in his seat exhausted. I lost my focus and tried to regain it while racing to the ER.

BACK TO PRESENT IN THE ER

They led us back to a room, Greg being raced over on the stretcher. We entered the room and a short but lean looking doctor entered, no lab coat, but rather a t shirt tucked in and cowboy boats. He had curly long hair and ice blue eyes with a weathered face.

“Hey, where is this guy’s EKG, where’s his chart?” They hooked Greg up to monitors and determined it was his heart that was starting and then stopping, over and over… 30, 50, 100, 120, 50, 40, 15, 0… flat lining…

A nurse entered the room…

“We are going to move you to room 4.” They moved the stretcher out quickly and I followed suit. When we got to the door I noticed the large glass windows that pointed toward the monitors in the hall with a team of doctors gathered. The door read, “Room 4, Trauma Unit”. I prayed Greg was too incapacitated to read it.

The nurses rushed around taking blood and reading the machines.

One nurse moved toward the bed with a device, paddles and a box. I knew what this was.

“Honey, this is just going to go on your chest, just as a precaution…”

I knew it wasn’t, it was very possible they’d need to restart his heart.

Soon after more vitals were taken, a cardiologist about seven feet tall entered the room.

“Hello, folks, I’m the cardiologist on the floor tonight. Now I see some wild stuff is going on with your heart and I’d like to put in a temporary pacemaker.”

A pacemaker I thought? That’s for old people who really need it… this can’t be good.

“We also gave you antibiotics for lyme disease because it’s very rare that this would happen in someone so young and healthy.”

“Potential risks of the pacemaker are a collapsed lung. But the risk is low.”

Greg nodded, we prayed and he was rushed away without any hesitation.

The dam behind my eyes broke and I wondered what exactly would happen if and when he returned from the OR.

TO BE CONTINUED.

photo credit: https://www.bing.com/images/search?view=detailV2&ccid=0ETW5W0P&id=0B6BDB52A503062BC2A78A4720903DA28AAA8CC7&q=flat+lined&simid=608024416818237155&selectedindex=6&mode=overlay&first=1&thid=OIP.0ETW5W0PZ_p8caxLnTkLJwEsD6.

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Uncategorized

Success Is For Your 40’s

When your in your younger years, the 20’s and 30’s, you tend to feel like success and achievement in your career isn’t coming fast enough. Success seems to be slow and far off and you seem to wonder what all that college and education was for, because the payoff seems distant. At least, that’s how I felt.

When I think about my dream job, it includes published works, being a political commentator and contributing to news stations. So I took the liberty to look up what others who have those jobs in the media, what they did to get there. I was stunned. As I did some digging I found that almost all those that I admire on TV that cover the political news are all in their mid 40’s to 50’s. It was across the board. The authors I admire who publish pieces similar to my genre, they are in their 40’s yet again…

Here are some examples… Vera Wang was age 40 when she started designing, Sam Walton was 44 when he founded his first Walmart, and Henry Ford was 45 when he invented the Model T (Business Insider).  It’s a pure myth that achievement is instant, the list is lengthy of those that found their career climax in their middle age.

Now I’m not proposing that there is something magical about this age. But really, why middle age and what’s the correlation to success? I think that we forget that success requires time, patience and priming the pump. When you prime the pump it takes time before the water flows through, but it doesn’t mean that the priming process is useless or not doing it’s job, it just takes time. Our experiences and toils in our 20’s and 30’s are still important, but they are the unsexy foundational years. They are years to learn, experiment and grow. They are the years to “prime the pump” for our careers.

When you’re starting out in your career, you don’t know how far your skills will take you. The coffee fetching, the phone answering, the filing, all those seemingly menial tasks are taking you somewhere. You start to learn how an office works, how the workplace dynamics operate, and soak in information from your workplace. All the daily abilities you acquire will build upon themselves.

Don’t despair if career success seems far off. Some of the most great achievements have occurred in time, after the pump has been primed. And priming, is a process.

Uncategorized

LABOR DAY REFLECTIONS. IT’S NOT THE LABOR WE HATE.

Post Labor Day, I’ve given a lot of thought about the holiday weekend itself. So many people who have that holiday off from work use that weekend to go on last minute vacations, enjoy barbecues, be with family etc. But as the cookout coals burn off, and the beaches close, you can hear the roaring grumble of those that remark, “Ehh… I got to be at work tomorrow. Better get the sleep now… ugh…”. There’s this deep dissatisfaction with work. The sense that the ever-looming “Monday”, is coming. And it’s only worse when you’ve had an extra day of freedom.
 
What does that say about our society, that so many individuals feel like they are going back to a “grind”? I don’t know about you, but when I use someone for a service or good, I kind of want them to like what they do. If my heart surgeon feels like he’s or she’s going to the grinding stone every day, I don’t think I want to be his patient. If my photographer hates their job, I don’t want those prints. The barista at the coffee shop who is chewing gum like it’s cud and looking at me like I’m crazy, asking “What do you want?”, I’m not sure I want your coffee…
 
You can actually FEEL when someone doesn’t like their work. It permeates through a company, through the culture, and gets transferred to the customer at the end of the day. Now, we all have days when we just aren’t liking our job or career because it was a bad day/bad week. But when it’s a consistent dissatisfaction, it really needs to be dealt with. Otherwise, it leaks out in so many facets that it burns the customer or client in the end.
 
I have decided that it’s not work that we hate. We actually love work and are made for it. When we work on a project that’s meaningful and see that it helped someone else, and we were a part of that success, we feel awesome. It doesn’t matter what industry, we just want to know what we did, what we contribute to the workplace MATTERS. And there are so many reasons why this success model doesn’t happen. It could be a leadership problem at your office, lack of growing professionally, or the wrong career fit as a whole.
 
Don’t dread the Mondays, the commute, the people, the building… There is a spot for you and the people that you are meant to serve, they are waiting for you. Instead of seeing Monday as a grind, see it as a new way to use your skills to help others. Because someone out there needs what you have to provide. The way you do something, the way you use your talent in the marketplace, it’s like your workplace fingerprint, because no one can bring it exactly like you do.
 
So find that thing you’re meant to serve others with and do it well, and uniquely you. It’s only something YOU can do.
 
#workthatmatters #doover #start #jonacuff #womenwhowork.
Forgiveness, Growth, Healing, Uncategorized

THAT TIME I THOUGHT I HAD FORGIVEN

It’s something that I never thought I had a problem with, until I went to lunch with a longtime friend.

“But you don’t understand what they did. They made me feel so betrayed at a time I was so vulnerable…”

I went through my laundry list of excuses, reasons why I was justified in feeling hurt. I didn’t think it was me holding a grudge or withholding forgiveness, it was just my feelings. But no, my hurts had piled up from years of being so annoyed that this event had happened that I had withheld forgiveness by default. Sound familiar? And since I didn’t see these people hardly ever, I had buried the hurt and it only came back in rare occurrences, giving me the illusion that I was “fine” or “over it”. But I realized that when someone pokes at an issue, and it fires you up, it usually means that you’re still not over it. Just because someone hasn’t “poked” at it in a while, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.

I had tried to forgive, to forget certain events that happened around when my mother left and the things people had said that were supposed to be out of concern but came across as crude or ignorant. I had thought that I had. I had prayed, written, been pensive, as I tried to make peace. But somehow, when a person or event was brought up, I’d be fired up again. Why? Why couldn’t I get past it?

It dawned on me, about ten years after the events had unfolded, why I couldn’t move forward. You see, when I looked at the events from my paradigm, it was all, of course, through my eyes, my lens. I saw things that hurt me, and rightfully so. However, I didn’t consider the other people, those that hurt me, as people. I realized I only saw them through my hurt, and somehow, dehumanized them. When they were dehumanized, it was easy to stay bitter, to say, “you hurt me and should pay”. But when I saw their own fragility, humanity and struggles, I felt something different. Genuine empathy. And once I reached this milestone, the feelings of bitterness slowly left me.

We are all only human, here today and gone tomorrow. We have limited time, capacity, and abilities. To lose someone from an event that maybe wasn’t positive, but also not irreparable, is such a shame. Because together we really are better; better ideas, passions, and problem solving.

What this doesn’t mean, is this: you’re not an open door for neglect and abuse. But what it does mean is good-willed and intentioned people make mistakes. They sometimes jude too quickly and react harshly. And to shut someone out, even if it’s just in your heart or mind, forever, just isn’t fair.

So today, maybe start looking past your pain, and looking at your enemy as a human. It’s extraordinary how it may just change your mind and heart forever. It did mine.

#forgiveness #ilovepeople.

Uncategorized

MASSIVE CHANGES; IT’S NOT FOR THE FAINT OF HEART!


Life isn’t so hard to figure out when you’re in your routine; same family members, same date night restaurant, same address, same job… etc. Though it might seem boring at first, but you don’t realize how much perceived security is in those things. Suddenly, when you’ve moved more than you’ve stayed, and family seems to be far away or your job you thought made sense, now doesn’t, it messes with your senses. Did I do something wrong? Was there something I missed, a wrong turn? 

I know it’s something I struggled with. Going from a life of having a lot of “certains” and “knowing” to feeling like I didn’t know much at all. Starting a business, preparing for a new baby, and having a spouse job transition, what was going on? 
Sometimes the GPS doesn’t give you the next set of instructions because you don’t need to turn yet. When you’re taken on a new road and its so unfamiliar, it doesn’t mean it’s necessarily wrong. Sometimes it’s a new level of learning of trust. But to those of us that like having a cheat sheet or the magic list, this is so challenging. 
So today if life’s changes feel like a pair of tight skinny jeans, you’re in good company. Great things and deep growth can come from the uncomfortable.

Change, Empowerment, Self Help, Struggle, Uncategorized

WHEN THEY GET WHAT YOU WANTED

It’s been a personal struggle of mine for a while, albeit, one that seems to improve over time. But isn’t it challenging, when you see a friend get the job you wanted, you felt YOU deserved, or when someone got a promotion at work that YOU felt you worked so hard for? The list goes on… their car, their kids, their spouse, just seems BETTER?

I think with social media, the problem of “coveting” or wishing we had what we don’t have, has only gotten worse. We see pictures on Facebook and Instagram and somehow think that’s a glimpse of reality; sometimes it is, mostly it’s not.

In my own life, I remember being really envious of someone I had worked with in the past who seemed to be so financially well off. No student loans, no obligations, just doing (according to my mind) really well. And I had such a hard time NOT resenting this person. I thought about how many menial jobs I’d worked in high school and even in college, and thought, how dare you be doing better than me when you didn’t work as hard? But see, all those statements I made up in my head (because they aren’t the truth) were all just inferences I had made. I don’t know his struggles, I don’t know how hard he worked or his story. I’m just making snap judgments to make myself feel self-righteous. But I’ve been there, and I know that it can be so challenging to truly say, “I’m happy for you.”

Over the years, I’ve learned to say that phrase–even when I didn’t mean it yet. Because I realized, we aren’t all competing with each other, we are empowering one another to bigger and better things. When I stopped viewing others as a “competitor” in a race to “greatness” or “success”, I started helping them, seeing them as humans with flaws. We all have struggles, even if they are silent ones. I also realized how grateful I was to have them in my life, and for all the blessings I have every day, that my envious spirit was blinding me to. When I focused on what I had an my own abilities, I became more self-aware than outward focused. By doing so, I become more friendly, joyful, a better peer and friend.

So appreciate all you have, don’t worry about the competition. You aren’t in a race against others, only for your personal goals.

Business, Career, Change, Female Entrepreneurs, Growth, Healing, Uncategorized

WHY I HATE CRITICISM

It’s a fact of life; people are going to either give you positive or negative feedback. They might do it in a helpful way or in a more destructive fashion. It could be your boss, co-workers, friends or family. But the truth is, receiving criticism isn’t going to go away.

For me personally, I think I’ve always had a really hard time with criticism, both constructive and destructive. But when someone gives me the impression that I didn’t do a good job, or my idea was substandard, I almost feel defensive. How dare you tell me I didn’t work hard enough? How do you know what I put into this? It’s like I need to defend myself, my work. They could have told me I did something 99% correctly, but for some reason I don’t see that, my focus goes to the 1% that they are unpleased with. Know the feeling? 

I think this starts in childhood. We had a parent or adult figure in our lives that told us what we were doing wasn’t good enough…our grades weren’t perfect, our hair looked funny, or we didn’t do as well in sports as our peers. Then when we grow up, this voice doesn’t stop in our heads… it begs us to listen saying, “They weren’t too pleased…you screwed up again…”. And I don’t think I’m alone in this. Far too many of us live with that critical spirit and tone in our lives.

Nine times out of ten, our bosses, and family, and friends aren’t being critical of us. They aren’t trying to be destructive, they are trying to help. But when we hear them through the lens of our own hurt, our own past, we miss the message they are sending. Thus, it makes us defensive and appear wounded and snippy. I don’t think that is our intention. Today, and every day, let’s take some steps toward recovering our minds, silencing the negative voices, and hearing what our critics are really saying.

Uncategorized

THINGS WORK OUT WHEN I AM CALM

Do you ever notice, that when something is really bugging you or working on your mind, you tend to focus 100% energy toward that “thing”? It could be financially related, or a problem at work, or a big family transition, whatever it is. And in your desire to bring about the outcome YOU desire, or think will be best, you end up unnecessarily stressing yourself out?

If that’s you, you’re so much like me. I tend to think that worrying or over-analyzing a situation will somehow make what I want happen, as if I can figure everything out. But I can’t, and you can’t either. When we surrender the “I can’t” and stop trying to make things happen, I’ve noticed that life tends to ebb and flow in it’s natural direction. Things work out without my interference or control. When I give up, that’s usually when I see the best progress. 

So today, stop controlling or manipulating. The world is far too big for you and you can’t make life do what you want, you’re not the Creator. Just sit back, and enjoy what you can, instead of worrying about those things that aren’t in your control. ‪#‎letgoletGod‬ ‪#‎wednesdayworries‬ ‪#‎wednesdaywisdom‬

Business, Career, Female Entrepreneurs, Growth, overcoming, Personal Development, Uncategorized

My Worth & Value: It’s Not in What I Do

I grew up in a home that stressed the importance of achieving. Good grades were hung on the refrigerator, special meals baked for getting into an academic club, and rewards for being the “best” reader in sixth grade. It was as if my mom almost loved my sister and I more if we brought home something that showed achievement. I remember one day she even told me to not bother coming home if I hadn’t gotten an “A” in a particular class. It was this tough, militant-minded way of going about reaching achievement that left me burnt out in college and confused as an adult.

I did very well in high school. I was the nerd, the track runner and a strong introvert. Most people in my classes would consider me fairly bright but also quite quiet. Once I got to college, I realized how much I was being challenged by particular classes; I chose to take the math and the science courses that would challenge me. You see, my mom always wanted me to take those courses because she said that writing and what I liked to do, didn’t have much value in the real world. So I set off on a course to do something I didn’t love as much, in an effort to make her proud or earn her love. I wanted to feel as though I’d accomplished something worthwhile, as if my identity could ever be found in what I did.

It took me changing my major, changing schools, to understand, I’ll always be me, a writer and a thinker, and that I also have a mind for business and organization. You see, you can’t really change the gifts and talents you have. Sometimes the world appears to put one gift or talent above another, but that doesn’t make yours any less important. We don’t know the impact we have on others, what we might bring to another person. To deny the world what we uniquely have from our Creator, is both wasteful and selfish.

After college, I tried to find meaning and acceptance in my careers choices; being a go-to person, someone others could count on, and knowing all the answers. And honestly, sometimes I was. But whenever I was criticized, it felt like my very core was being “attacked”, my sense of accomplishment dwindling. That’s when I realized, whether I’m super liked in my position, whether or not my title is impressive, I’m still Christina Bennett. I’m enough because I’m me, not because of my gifts or talents, but solely because of who God made me from day one. There isn’t another person that is just like me or you, or can ever touch the world in the same way. Now, to be clear, there’s nothing wrong with goal-setting and trying to achieve. I would encourage all to set clear goals to live an intentional and impactful life. However, when your sense of worth and value is wrapped up in your title or station in life, it becomes a problem. Because what happens when one day, you don’t have that “thing” anymore to say you are… what happens to you then?

So slowly, I’m unlearning the desire to keep up with the Jones’ accomplishments, unlearning the need to be first or to have all the answers. I’m bringing what I have to the table and honestly, it’s enough. I’m letting go of the voice of my mother saying I needed and “A” on a paper to come home. Unlearning the need to accomplish things like my friends or family do. Because we aren’t the same people, with the same gifts so why would we ever think that we should achieve the same things? It’s a lie we believe, one we tell ourselves that we should be like someone else. But just like a fox can dig and bury things in the ground, they don’t expect to fly like the eagle can. And likewise, the eagle doesn’t question why it can’t dig like the fox. He accepts he was meant to soar in the sky.

So whatever you are, the eagle, the fox, be “you”. Do what you’re meant to accomplish. It’s your life to live, your impact to make, so make it exceptionally you.

 

 

Photo Credit: http://iysigirl.com/wpcontent/uploads/2012/07/bigstockphoto_accomplishment_-_road_sign_273784811.jpg

Business, Career, HigherEducation, Uncategorized

The Trouble with College: Why it’s not helping Students

When students get their high school diploma, it seems like the world couldn’t be sweeter. They have their colleges lined up, their dreams in front of them; it’s an exciting time. College is supposed to be this bridge to adulthood, the place where your dreams can come to fruition via the “perfect” degree program and study abroad opportunities. But is college really preparing students for real world experiences? Is the insane amount of student loan debt, worth a private school pedigree? Is there actually a J-O-B at the end?

Now as a disclaimer, I do believe in education and that certain programs and degrees can open up doors for students that otherwise, they couldn’t have been able to reach. However, I do believe colleges are doing their students a big disservice.

When you go into the financial aid office, they are fully ready to sign you up for loans, federal loans, Parent PLUS loans, or even to suggest private loans. There’s no emphasis on getting students to work part time while in school or discussions on whether your degree in Medieval history, will help you land a job. Why are they not discussing the fact that your degree should be marketable in today’s economy? Why not work with current companies and employers and discuss what positions they are in need of, and to then design degree programs to fit those needs? There’s so much complaining of the government and the student loan crisis and to them I’d say, I agree. But there is plenty blame to put on colleges and universities who live in a fake academia world where there doesn’t need to be a job at the end of this academic road.

They also don’t discuss what jobs will be available with those degree programs. For example, an English student maybe should learn to blog, periscope, get out on social media with their craft. But no. All the emphasis is drawn toward the scholarship of Shakespeare or British literature. There’s nothing wrong with learning about that but it needs to have a medium or an outlet for a student to make themselves marketable in that same field. There needs to be a practical way of getting a student to use their education in today’s market.

There’s also no discussion on ROI, Return on Investment for degree programs. For example, a Petroleum Engineering student, while a more marketable field, should know how much money he or she is fronting and what they’ll then make in that career, for the next 30 years. There should be more discussion in the offices before you sign up for a program or loans, hey, this may cost you $300,000 if you go to this school and it will only payout $40K a year maybe, assuming you can find a teaching job. Leading students down the rabbit hole and making them think their degree is the ticket to Willa Wonka’s Chocolate Factory, is wrong, dishonest, and misleading.

In today’s world, I think that degree certificate programs, internships, and state schools are all great investments in your educational future. They can provide all the necessary “today’s world” education and can help you determine what you actually like, for a fraction of the cost. But for students to go into college thinking that it’ll guarantee a job, or a job you would like, that’s just a pipe dream and false.

If colleges want to survive, they need to act like businesses. To do this, they need to have better career track counseling BEFORE they sign students up for programs. Get students educated on what jobs are out their, what employers want. They should stress internships and work on developing better relationships with local businesses. Career centers need to reach out to students to get them in the right programs for their interests by work with current companies to find out the needs and demands of today. By doing this, that will bring in the alumnae money back into the system, because their graduates won’t be broke and it can be a functional, self-sustaining process.

 

 

Photo Credit: http://www.businesspundit.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/college.jpg.