I will be honest:

I am exhausted. I am disappointed.

Day by day, when I know I could do better, but I can’t. Or I don’t.

When I see my comrades as weathered as I am.

When strangers see me, a battered soul.

When I start drowning because I am weakened, helpless.

When I try to save everyone, but the one person that really needs saving is myself.

 

 

The excerpt above is a fragment of a burned out heart. Mine.

It is unfortunate that I have come to this point once again. And I hope that anyone reading this will somewhat understand that not all days are rainbows & sunshine; that it is as real as it gets & I do my best to portray the whole picture.

It is also unfortunate that I acknowledge my burnout state on Nurses’ Week. And decided to proclaim it on Nurses’ Day. I thought it would be an interesting change in the way we celebrate Nurses’ Day. To accept & recognise that it is OKAY to admit to the pessimistic side of nursing. Like how we should celebrate life: we accept the joys & sorrows both for we cannot have one without the other.

Despite this burnout, I only have the utmost respect & support for nurses everywhere.

For your willingness to keep going, no matter how bad things get.

For your strength to bear all the brunt, being at the front line more often than not.

For your heart & wellbeing, that so many have failed to take care of, leaving you to retreat in solitary to lick your wounds.

For your determination to do it all over again, every single day, in spite of knowing the consequences; because only you hold the key to what got you started in the very beginning.

 

CAMIE Angels

 

Happy Nurses’ Day!

 

Toodles. ♥

This week, we commemorated the 3rd year of CAMIE’s existence, as well as achieving our milestone of 1000 days of restraint-free interventions.

It was such joy to be present in the celebration, it was an amazing pride to be part of it. Let me tell you why.

As you may already know, CAMIE means Care of the Acute Mentally Infirmed Elderly. A project started 3 years ago with a selected bunch of nurses to pioneer the unit. At that point in time, I was sure a number of us felt very uncertain about the whole thing. Was it doable? Were we fit for the job? What were we in for? But we’d never know unless we actually try, so we took a leap of faith and soldier on. Hand in hand, we took up the job of caring for people with dementia, at the same time nursing their acute medical issues. Being a fairly new nurse back then, I wasn’t decided if that was what I wanted to do for a long time. I wasn’t even sure of my life, heck. What more having the confidence in taking care of a whole lot of confused, delirious elderly.

But three years on, standing there in the midst of the festivity, I realised I have never been so sure in my life. That I have taken this calling to heart, and I know there’s nothing I’d rather do, or associate myself with. I am a proud geriatric nurse, and a very proud dementia nurse. We don’t always get the recognition we deserve & we certainly don’t always get remembered by our patients. The lessons I get from nursing every single person with dementia were more than enough to balance out the lack of acknowledgement. And the bliss that balloons up my heart when I get glimpses of the persons behind the disease, is indescribable. No words can define that great satisfaction.

CAMIE

It has been a crazy 3 years, like roller coaster rides, we won’t deny this. Nurses came and left, patients lived and died. Ironically, what I am really sadly happy about is how (only) a handful of us pioneer nurses are still around to savour the fruits of our labour. And what I am proud of is how we managed to convince a few more nurses of the pleasure of caring for people with dementia. It is from this ability to care for PWD, that we become even more capable & patient in caring for elderly in general.

CAMIE   Cake

And who would have believed it, we achieved what most people thought (or still think) we could not achieve. 1000 days (and counting) of restraint-free. We did it, we painstakingly did it. All it took was for us to be human, to empathise, and to willingly spend that time to resolve the problems. It also required creativity & patience. But most of all, it necessitates love. Can you see the love in our eyes in the photo above, lol.

 

Of course, there are the non-believers, the sceptics, the cynics. Until today, despite the 1000 days milestone, they still scoff at the possibility. They mock and they jeer at our attempts, and it is extremely disappointing that some of them were supposed to be our role models. It is also discouraging that I had to learn the hard way –  that in this profession, not everyone celebrate our successes, our trials & tribulations. All we really want to do is to show you that impossible can be possible, that people with dementia can live well. All we ask is for you to respect that, the same way we respect your own set of skills and knowledge in your area of expertise.

These CAMIE angels are the most knowledgeable, understanding, loving nurses I have ever worked with in my entire life. I cannot be prouder to call them my comrades, my happy pills; and with them I am certain we can take on any challenges together. Our team’s support is something I treasure, we laugh & cry over cups of coffee to keep us going. And we mustn’t forget our lovely team doctors, all the other healthcare professionals & volunteers who have never fail to support us throughout. It is incredibly soothing to be able to share our thoughts and opinions with the team, knowing they won’t brush us off or take us lightly. Team work is essential, I learnt that from working with all these wonderful people.

Group photo

Group dinner 2

 

So, thank you all. We wouldn’t have done it without one another. ♥

I hope our work inspires someone out there, the same way it had inspired me once upon a time.

Happy CAMIE-versary!

 

Toodles. ♥

D i s t a n c e.

How does something this difficult,

becomes easier?

With every repetitive moments –

Like the endless hugs & kisses

at departure gates

or,

the holding of tears, threatening to spill

at every goodbye;

Do we lose the pull of gravity

little by little, each time?

A vicious cycle.

But the cracks in the ring,

they are showing.

It is only a matter of time;

until the circle breaks.

& my heart will finally be free to come home,

with you.

 

I will wait for you, my darling;

            and I will wait for you.  

 

 

 

Taking a (very bad) stab at writing turned poetry. & swirly thoughts.

 

Toodles. ♥

Last half hour of 2015.

Another year coming to a close. I’m starting to get flashbacks of myself around this time of every year, sprawled in some corner typing out the epilogue of my year and end up being overwhelmed with everything.

It happens every single year.

Instead of going out there, partying, & getting drunk in the real world, I snuggle into my spot, accompanied by my favourite mug of steaming hot tea (or coffee), and attempt to summarise my year.

And I get terrible writers’ block.

And I get clouded by all the emotions and events that took place over the entire year.

And I start over.

Only to realise that I am left with a minute to midnight, or completely gone past midnight.

Not always successful, but at least I tried. And this year, I am trying again.

 

Just like every year, I’ve had my fair share of trials and tribulations. This year has indeed been a wild roller coaster ride, & I’m not entirely sure how best to word it. While most friends I know went through their quarter life crises, I was just so busy with life that I basically didn’t have time for a personal crisis. In fact, I found clarity in such uncertainty, it basically opened up my heart, mind & soul to so many possibilities.

Let’s list it:

  • I’ve graduated (beautifully).
  • I fell in love. ♥
  • I’ve gotten myself into a long distance relationship. It’s crazy and I love it.
  • I realised I actually do love my job, I love what I am doing every day, I love my old people. I love being their nurse.
  • I experienced the whole “moving on with the rest of your life starts with goodbye”, again.
  • I have to accept that you can never make other people understand everything you do, neither do you need to justify for it.
  • I may have burnt/scarred some bridges, but only because I know I cannot keep up. I’ve been completely let down by people whom I’ve held so dear, and if I may be completely honest, it has been so absolutely tiring to hold on. What else can I do, but to let go.
  • I made peace with myself – I wrote an entire dissertation on myself, as if I was trying to get to know me all over. It was kinda fun. I don’t think I’ve gotten to the end yet.
  • I allowed myself to cry buckets when I needed to.
  • I pampered myself, love myself loads & never let myself justify the nice things I do for me. Basically bought a lot of nice things for myself.
  • I’ve made big girl’s decisions that I never thought I’d have to make, just yet.
  • I am still queen of procrastination, sadly.
  • I also allowed myself to be a complete antisocial hermit, and spend all the time I needed, to be alone, to bask in the loneliness, to accept that some things you just got to do alone & to learn happiness in that solitude. Before you can brace yourself to face the world again.
  • I have to live with the fact that my LDR is like a constant countdown – always counting down to when we’ll meet; and when we finally do, the back of our minds counting down the days we have left together.
  • I got to travel a fair bit, thanks to the LDR.
  • But I also found home. 🙂
  • I am halfway there, a work in progress to make my dreams come true.

 

A bittersweet, amazing year overall. I have been waiting for this moment to pass for so long, only too excited to rush into 2016. I wouldn’t have made it through without all the wonderful people in my life (near or far) who chose to stay by my side despite my flaws and shortcomings. You know who you are.

& of course, to my amazing best friend & boyfriend half the world away – it is ridiculous because I cannot express just how much joy you have brought into my life, especially even when we are constantly apart. Truly, distance means so little when you mean so much. Here’s to all the adventures we will have together. ♥ I honestly can’t wait.

 

12189034_10153574081916084_5702827633791323482_n

Happiness comes in the form of a dog.

 

So there you go, 55 minutes past midnight. Never on time.

 

Hello, 2016. I’ve been waiting for ya.

No regrets.

 

Toodles. ♥

I woke up early this morning as usual to Skype the boyfriend – only to be greeted by an exclamation of “This is madness!”. Groggy & half awake, I attempted to process his live updates on the Paris attacks, got onto my news feed, read in horror & felt chills in my bones.

We were there exactly 2 weeks ago. When beauty and love were all I knew.

It is really madness, what with everything that is going on right now. It has turned ugly.

And to think that I was just going to write about how I had an amazing time in Paris, now that I’ve walked through the streets as a different person. I guess this is a completely bad time now.

 

My thoughts and love are with you, Paris.

 

 

Toodles. ♥