Thursday, November 15, 2007

Notes from My Life

from Healing Ourself: Growing Beyond the True Cause of Disease, my fifth book.

My entire life has been lived with an intimate involvement in medicine and nursing both personally and professionally.

At the naive age of seventeen I began my nursing career when I entered St. Vincent's Hospital School of Nursing in Indianapolis. St. V's is a wonderful and progressive organization owned by the Daughters of Charity. It offered the usual diploma school program which was the beginning fo the normal nursing education at the time (1949). Despite the views of many towards diploma schools, I have always been thankful that I chose St. V's and I have valued the comprehensive and wonderful nursing education that I worked hard to achieve. It was the perfect background for me to expand and grow as an individual and as a nurse as I began to find myself.

Our education was remarkable and tough because it was academic and experiential. We attended classes daily for several hours,studied, and worked long hours with very little free time to go home, to play,or to socialize. We were required to sign a paper promsing that we would not marry during our course of study and dating was made such a challenge that it wasn't high on my list of activities at school. The intensity of our schedule kept me feeling alone in a crowd as every moment of my life was planned for me.

Since we rotated hospital duty on the evening and night shifts during the week and worked all shifts during the weekends, we never got to know most of our classmates very well with the exception of the few that were on the same rotation schedule. We were organized well by the Sisters, getting up at 5 am, going to Mass, eating, working from 7-9 am on the wards to serve breakfast and give baths, going to class all day, back to the wards in the afternoon, evening, and night. Our days would vary somewhat from year to year and assignment to assignment, but some things never changed, such as Mass, work, class, and study. Only the hours of work were shifted around to accommodate the hospital staffing.

The year after I graduated St. V's changed their program dramatically because the rest of the world was changing and the days of student labor, inequality, and control were on their way out of nursing, or so it seemed. I value my learning experience in nursing school to this day because if there were any holes in the independent work ethic that I learned growing up on a midwestern farm, they were certainly patched over very nicely in nursing school. There were many days when my inspiration and motivation to successfully complete the program was all that allowed my creativity to surface and see me through another day, another month, and another year until I graduated. But determination and persistence were character traits that I had learned early in life and in school they served me well.

My earlier years of childhood taught me that we get out of our life exactly what we are willing to put into our life. My life began with disease and I lived with disease for half of my life, but I have always been determined not to let any disease or limitations interfere with or control my life. Now I am healthier than I Have ever been and I live each day through the absolute joy that I find in my journey of life. I have no destinations or hills to climb. I live my life one day at a time, staying focused in the present and creaeting form that simple, indefinable moment in time.

It was a miracle that I was accepted into a nursing program that required perfect health, but early in my life I learned to control my body with my mind and my years in nursing school simply challenged my ability to use my healing power for my personal survival. Each day of my life has reinforced my understanding of the internal healing power of my mind, and in understanding my mind power overy my body I also understand that every human being has the same power.

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