Thank You Nurses and Frontline Workers

I gave up nursing a few years ago, but my God I remember how stressful it was. I worked a lot in emergency and it inspired me to write my novel Looking For Wonderland, which is a nursing comedy eBook, with the main character being a germaphobic nurse who falls in love with an Infectious Disease consultant. When this pandemic struck, I thought, what would Celine do? If you haven’t followed my blog, you may not know that Celine Dion is my touch stone for how to deal with life’s little stumbling blocks (and fucking enormous mountains that you think you will never get over). After reflecting on what my idol would do, I wondered, how can I support the front-line workers? It’s so bloody stressful dealing with the public, and the madness of working in a hospital.

Then I had a vision of tired nurses kicking off their germ ridden shoes outside their homes, boiling themselves alive in a shower before they felt safe, and maybe they could sit down with a glass of wine (or a bucket of gin), and have a read of something a bit light hearted. So, my publisher in the UK is making Looking for Wonderland a free download from May 1-5th, from any of the Amazon sites. It’s just a little something I feel I can offer in these weird and stressful times. Something a bit lighthearted that maybe can take you back to a time before…

Thank you to everyone out there putting themselves on the front line. I know it feels like you are not always appreciated, but please know, you are.

See you on the other side.

 

An unexpected journey

 

I’ve often wondered what it would be like to be a patient, when I’ve been looking after people as a nurse. How hard is it to wee on a bedpan? Do those clexane injections really hurt as much as people say, and what does it feel like to have a bed bath, and be completely naked in front of someone you don’t know (excluding experiences from my 20s when I was a single girl!)

Little did I realise that I was soon to find out. I had to have pelvic surgery this month, and after some post-operative complications, I found myself smack in the middle of relying on people to help me do the most basic of things. What I found, was that most of the nurses and doctors were incredibly kind, that people do come through when you need them, and that my muse (husband) is capable of talking at me for two hours non-stop about sport when he comes to visit.

After a turn for the worse, I ended up in Intensive Care. Now, for any nurse, this is going to be a challenge. ICU usually means you are on a knife edge of becoming really bloody sick. I was terrified. In the small hours of the morning, after no sleep, I started crying. I had discovered what it’s like to wee on a bedpan (horrendous and very messy), and I also now knew what it was like to have 40 litres of oxygen blowing up your nose. The nurse suggested I watch the TV on the wall in my little cubicle to distract myself, so in amongst all the bleeping machines, I turned it on. I think it was 4.30am.

Lo and behold, there was Celine. My Celine. Anyone who has followed this blog would know that Celine Dion is my idol. If things ever get really tough, I say to myself ‘what would Celine do in this situation?’ And there she was, smiling out at me, talking about finding strength in the bad times, and then singing a song. She looked so brave and happy, that I knew this was a sign from the Universe, and I knew in that moment, that I was going to get better. My nurse thought I had gone quite mad when I told her this, but I don’t care.

Later that morning, the doctor came around and told me that I had staged an almost miraculous recovery. By the end of the day I had been moved to a private room and while still being observed ever hour, was not in danger anymore.

And now I’m home, feeling heaps better, and so grateful for all that I learnt along the way. I can’t imagine how much better at my nursing I’m going to be, and I realise how much a kind word means to people when they are down.

But most of all, I know that if I ask myself the question ‘what would Celine do?’ I’m going to be just fine.

Celine

Looking For Wonderland

Looking for Wonderland-2It’s not often I actually post about writing on this blog, but today I’m super excited to say my latest novel is out and about in the world. You can find it on any of the Amazon sites, and it’s an e-book so you can get it straight away. It’s a romantic, contemporary comedy about Alice, a forty something year old nurse, whose looking for some meaning in her rather muddled life. It has loads of those gross nursing stories in it, you know, the stories you always want to hear from a nurse about objects that go places they should never be put…

I loved writing this book, and along the way it taught me a lot of things. Like patience, persistence and not listening to the negative thoughts in your head. I’ve really come to realise in the last few months, that what you tell yourself you can do, is generally what you can do.

‘I’m too scared to do that.’

‘I’m too old to do that.’

‘It’s not going to happen.’

These sort of thoughts and comments are really powerful, and as you say them to yourself, or out loud to others, they seem to come to pass. So this year, along with actually reading instructions for how to do things (and looking up destinations on maps before jumping in the car), I’ve decided to stop saying ‘I can’t’. The results have been pretty eye-opening. I can do a lot more than I thought I could. I’ve had to really drown out my own negative thoughts about life, and I’ve had a great time expanding myself. For example, my sister, niece and I went to a trampoline place the other day. They have the trampolines built into the floor, and they are separated by foam dividers also set into the floor. Everyone was bouncing from trampoline to trampoline, and I kept thinking I couldn’t do it. I managed to bounce over the divider once, but the next time I went to do it, sure enough I ended up face planting in front of a couple of ten year olds. It showed me that if I listen to those thoughts, then I am going to end up flat on my face, feeling disappointed in myself. I can’t wait to go back and give it another go, and this time I’m going to tell myself I can do it, because I actually can!

So, with that thought in mind, I’m going to continue saying ‘I can’, I’m going to pick myself up and give it a go, even if I do fall flat the first time, and I’m going to have some fun. It’s time to say ‘yes’ instead of ‘no’. Let’s see where it takes us!

 

Nearly Better Than Celine…

IMG_0741 About two weeks ago, I had the chance to grab a place in a masterclass with a famous Australian author, Fiona McIntosh. She was brilliant. So brilliant, I contemplated ditching Celine Dion as my ‘go-to-girl’ when I need advice, instead replacing her with Fiona McIntosh as my screen saver. However, there have to be limits to your loyalties, and Celine is pretty well up there for me. Having said that, I love Fiona McIntosh only a smidgen less than Celine (you have been put on notice Mrs Dion).

What did you learn on your course, I hear you say? Well, I discovered the novel I was writing was crap, and I am now working on a new novel as a result of the course. Sometimes, you just have to change lanes mid-journey and be true to yourself (that sounds deep!) Fiona showed me that discipline (ie. not lying in bed until 9am on your days off reading Hello magazine), determination (not watching Dr Phil instead of writing while lying on the couch on your days off), and belief in yourself (as opposed to lying in the fetal position while chugging down red wine, when you get home from being sent to work in the ER as a nurse, when you have no emergency training), are what you need to succeed as a writer. That and a lucky break.

So, having pitched my imaginary new novel to a Sydney editor who came to the course (it was a masterclass!!!), I now have to write said imaginary novel, in about eight weeks. I think that could be my lucky break. I hope so, but if not, then well, fucked if I know. I shall post some new spring recipes soon. Until then – leap, then look. It works!