“The only person you should try to be better than is the person you were yesterday.” -Unknown

Every day I learn something new about myself. I am becoming a new person. It’s healthy and normal, at least that’s what “they” tell me.

I was longing to feel normal. Some days I couldn’t even get out of bed. When I did finally pull myself up because my baby was crying, I felt I should have earned a gold medal. This may sound ridiculous but it’s the truth.

I returned to work hoping to feel normal again. It was far from the old normal. I couldn’t call her when I left to tell her about my day. I felt I was surrounded by people that thought I had the plague. Perception during a depressed state is kinda crazy. It made me crazy and paranoid (and sometimes it still creeps up wothout warning). I quickly learned it’s not me that has the plague it’s GRIEF.

I remember the first day I cleaned my house after my mom’s death. It was about 3 weeks after her funeral. I felt so joyful. Almost like I had won the lottery simply because I got out of bed, made a pot of coffee, and cleaned my house.

I knew the “firsts” would be hard. My daughter’s first birthday was incredibly difficult as Mom had helped plan so much of the party. These first moments take me straight back to “Those Days”. The scabs of healing wounds have been ripped off and they’re bleeding. It hurts. Oh how it hurts.

The crisp morning air of summer changing to fall stings my wounds a lot right now. My sisters and I dread NFL football season and it’s quickly approaching. The only Autumn Sundays I have ever known consisted of homework, cleaning, laundry, NFL football, and a big home cooked meal which mom worked on all day. This Fall will be very different though we do plan to carry out the traditions.

Perhaps my greatest achievement yet is sharing her story. I created a case study for nurses using Mom as the patient with the help of an amazing mentor and coworker. We presented the case to a group of new graduate nurses. We worked diligently to save our patient. We did all the right things, just as mom’s nurses did for her during “Those Days”. The new grads were treating her with the knowledge of seasoned nurses. This greatly warmed my heart to know our colleges and universities are teaching students to care for very critical patients. After learning their patient was no longer able to respond to treatments and in fact was worsening despite all measures, I saw defeat on their faces. The last slide revealed my mom’s picture and the nurses were notified they had just been working to save my mom but, like her healthcare team, were unsuccessful. I appreciate her team more every day. They truly gave Mom their best.

The unfortunate truth is we can’t save every patient. We don’t get to choose who lives and who dies.

I heard gasps and saw some tears shed too. I hope someone is able to take what they heard and apply it to their practice to improve future patient outcomes. I pray so hard that I am able to live to see the day that sepsis mortality decreases because of early recognition.

The last picture I have of Mom.