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A Lesson on Thankfulness

Jun 25

Posted by: ACHA
6/25/2012 10:12 AM  RssIcon

By Jennifer Gooden

Sometimes it seems like all I am is one big diagnosis. Just one big ‘ol walking pharmacy in my purse—a cruel game that went wrong on one of God’s board game Friday nights. And then, God gives me a little bit of perspective. I am humbled and thankful. But for you to fully understand what I am talking about we will have to rewind and go back about two weeks.

Two weeks ago I had the pleasure of interviewing at a mecca of children’s hospitals in a unit very close to my heart—no pun intended—because it is the same unit I spent time on growing up. Sure, the unit has moved and gotten a facelift since my day but still, it is my unit. My unit that is making me wait another two weeks to find out if I got the job, but my unit nonetheless!

I got to spend two hours on the unit shadowing a preceptor nurse and then in a nerve-wracking informative interview with a panel. Those two hours on the unit with the fabulous CICU nurse were not only educational but also inspirational. Due to HIPAA I cannot go into great detail, but I will give you a glimpse of what I saw.

The one patient that my preceptor had was 14 hours post-op and had been diagnosed with a congenital defect I had never heard before. The patient was a beautiful, puffy-faced 7-year-old girl. She had an arterial line, a PICC, external jugular IV, a Foley cath and enough lines and wires to play double dutch. Even though she had all that going on she still managed to smile and say “thank you nurse” every time we left the room. When I asked her how she felt about having surgery and being in the hospital she told me that it didn’t matter. She said “I am more than all of this,” gesturing at the machines and equipment.

Given such a terrible situation, that child remained cheerful and bright. She was resilient and taught me an amazing lesson about being thankful. She taught me I am so more than my congenital heart disease. I am more than a bunch of diagnoses thrown together. I am more than a patient. I am a young lady. I am a daughter, a sister, a wife, and a nurse. All of these things cultivate, combine, overlap and mush together to help create me. And sometimes I forget that.

Sometimes combining different characteristics—like ingredients—make for a more interesting dish, just like this tasty one I had the morning of my interview.

Interview Oats



1 packet quick-cooking oats
Almond milk
Your favorite granola
Frozen peaches (1/2 cup or so)
Chia tea
Pancake syrup (about 2 tsp)


  1. Place oats in bowl.
  2. Combine with 1/2 cup almond milk.
  3. Brew 1/2 cup chia tea.
  4. Mix tea in with almond milk and oats and stir well.
  5. Microwave for two minutes.
  6. Toss in peaches, granola and drizzle a small bit of syrup.
  7. Enjoy!

Jennifer Gooden is an emergency department nurse who was born with transposition of the great arteries, as well as other congenital heart defects. She and her husband Ziggy are working on transitioning to a more healthy lifestyle. Read more about their adventures in and out of the kitchen at their blog.

Location: Blogs Parent Separator ACHA Blog

1 comment(s) so far...


Re: A Lesson on Thankfulness

I too am a nurse with. Could never work with kids with chd. Need I separate the personal and professional. I work with adults with cad and chf.

By Joanne on   6/25/2012 1:15 PM

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