Holy caboose! It has been almost a month since my last post. I fail at blogging.
In all fairness it's been a busy and wonderful month. I went to Belize (heaven) and my annual family Nagshead week (heaven part two). And I fully intend on posting about both of those (as soon as I finish my months belated Malawi posts, curses blog procrastination!). But just to get the old blog juices flowing, I thought I'd do a quick catch up of at least the last week, which just so happened to be the first week of the fall semester (eegads).
The good news is that this first week was nowhere near the overwhelming experience the first week of last spring was. Mostly this is because this semester is the second half of junior year (so weird that I am a college junior again), and most of our classes are a continuation from last semester. In a very geeky way I'm excited about this semester. I think my mental health class will be fascinating. I think my mental health practicum will be one of the most challenging things I do in school. We had our first one this past week and I was in the behavioral health intensive care unit, and it was really, really hard. I didn't know what to say. I didn't know what to do. Mostly my heart broke. Seeing people with severe schizophrenia or bipolar is hard on a different level from seeing stroke patients or people with cancer. Because they're so unreachable, trapped in this horrible place, and there's so little you can do to help them. It's like trying to care for someone on the opposite side of a wall from you. But as hard as this semester will be, I also know how important it is. Mental illness is illness, absolutely. It's some of worst illness in this world, and I hope this semester gives me more understanding and compassion toward people who suffer from those diseases.
On a cheerier note I had a wonderful first day of my acute care practicum. My patient was the sweetest man in the world, and I was a lot less rusty than I thought I would be. Three and a half months is a long time to be off school. And by God I enjoyed those three and a half months. But I also forgot how good it can feel to be in a hospital. The biggest surprise of nursing school has been how much I can love it. I thought I would like it. I knew it would be a great, secure job. But I honestly love a lot of it. I love taking care of people, doing little things like changing sheets or helping with a bath or even just getting coffee. The stuff that used to terrify me is now the stuff that I leave the day most proud of. It's not glamorous or particularly noteworthy, but I love the feeling of taking care of someone, even in the tiniest, most inconsequential ways.
On a different note, I saw two plays this weekend, and enjoyed both of them immensely. First up was Rocky Horror, which was as expected, a big, campy blast. But the bigger surprise of the weekend was how much I liked In the Next Room (review coming soon on Richmond.com). It's subtitle is "the vibrator play", and I thought it would be all about shock value over substance. But Sarah Ruhl's writing was beautiful and often powerful. Definitely worth a trip down Broad Street.
And on another note, I ran 12 miles today! And it was great up until about mile 9, and then it got hard, very, very hard. I hadn't done a long run in two weeks, and I also jumped from 10.5 miles to 12, because I'm impatient and I just want to get to 20 already. I managed to do 12, but it was a struggle at the end. Physically I wasn't ready, and I felt that lack of readiness. There may have been moments where I considered sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk and crying because my legs hurt so bad. But I kept going. I looked like a half-drunk zombie, stumbling and stopping every couple of blocks to walk the last 2 miles or so, but I kept going and I finished. And right now, honestly, 26.2 looks very far away. But, I know from previous experience, that bodies are amazingly adaptable. I remember when physically 6 miles was almost impossible. Hell I remember when a mile, singular, was a struggle. Which is why I know next time I run 12 miles, it won't hurt as bad. I'll be stronger. It will get easier. And I'll be able to move on to the next distance.
That in a nutshell is why I run, why I'm making the cray cray choice to run a marathon at all. I do it because it's a beautiful and empowering thing to witness your body and your mentality change, to feel yourself grow stronger and adapt every single run, to go from one previously inconceivable distance to the next. It's not easy. In fact it is at times, almost impossible to put one foot in front of the other. I've learned that being strong during a run doesn't mean speed or ease. It's when you want to fall down, when every muscle fiber is screaming at you to stop, and you keep going.
So that was this past week. Promise to update about Belize asap and be better in general about posting. Watching Property Brothers (my new favorite show, damn those are some good looking Canadian boys) and then taking my tired, old fart body to bed.