Vulnerable, this word is met with fear and trepidation by many including myself (an obvious trait of caregivers (0; ). Some of the most well adjusted people will place it, their vulnerability, in a box and shove it under the bed never to be brought out again. Many of us will choose to dictate and control when and how we allow our vulnerability or fragility out into the world. Other times our hand is forced to gather every last bit of strength, when we are at our weakest, to fight for ourselves and the ones we love. This means exposing those things that we never intended to let out of that pesky box. Brene Brown said, "Daring greatly means the courage to be vulnerable. It means to show up and be seen. To ask for what you need. To talk about how you're feeling. To have hard conversations." Unfortunately for Melissa right now is her time to "dare greatly." It is her time to bring vulnerability out of it's box into the world for all of us to see.
Melissa has not been shy to share with anyone that might ask about her health struggles. You may have even heard her explain that she has Variable Immune Disorder, while she was helping a new nurse master the art of port access. She is passionate about port access because she has been getting IVIG infusions, to keep her healthy, via her port for many years. When Melissa gets sick it is generally a serious matter. She has had septic infections in the past that have gone to her heart. Recently, Melissa had been dealing with a infected port and has been on antibiotic treatments for the last several weeks. Things were looking better, so she had her scheduled IVIG infusion and it went terribly wrong. Her doctors think that there was a crack in her port that triggered her to start down the septic pathway. She was rushed into surgery to get the port out to keep her from getting sicker. That should have been the end of the scare, the vulnerability, the uncertainty, but it wasn’t. After she got home from the hospital she started having unexplained fevers and other neurological and cardiac symptoms leaving her with unexplained bilateral upper extremity weakness. Melissa is now heading down that long and bumpy road to diagnosis filled with uncertainty. She has several tests scheduled in the coming weeks including a MRI and TEE along with specialists to help sort it all out.
The bottom line with all of this is Melissa is unable to work either of her jobs. She had initially asked for a PTO donation from her work family to help her bridge to disability benefits. However, we all know that this process is never that easy or convenient. Our disability benefits, although better than most, do not provide for the overtime needed to make ends meet or enough to cover wages for two jobs. Medications are expensive, co-pays add up, and bills do not go away. She has also been very open with the health problems of her son who has had surgeries numbering in the double digits with the last one only a few weeks ago and the next in the planning stages. The cost, stress, worry, fear, and uncertainty of all of this is real. This is where we come in. The ask is simple. Melissa and her family need funds to keep the train on the tracks during this time that she is unable work. She needs time to figure all of this out so that she can start the healing process and quite possibly adjust to a new normal.
Melissa may be the "dark cloud" of the ED but she is a skilled nurse that has taken care of so many and never steps away from a challenge. I have personally worked shoulder to shoulder with her as her "momma bear" persona came out for people in need. She is the ultimate advocate for her family and her patients. She has more strength then she knows for this battle ahead of her but with an army of people to surround her with love and support she can hopefully tackle this head on. "Anyone can give up, it's the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that's true strength" - unknown. Melissa, you've got this. I know YOU have true strength. We are behind you and you can lean on us if you find that strength wavering if even for only a second. I'm fairly sure you are going to kick "Vulnerable" in the ass!! Hugs sister!