Home / 2012 / A Lesson on Thankfulness

A Lesson on Thankfulness

Monday, June 25, 2012

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!


Add yours below.


The opinions expressed by ACHA bloggers and those providing comments on the ACHA Blog are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Adult Congenital Heart Association or any employee thereof. ACHA is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the ACHA bloggers.

The contents of this blog are presented for informational purposes only, and should not be substituted for professional advice. Always consult your physicians with your questions and concerns.

Connect with ACHA

Join us in our mission to empower the congenital heart disease community by advancing access to resources and specialized care that improve patient-centered outcomes.

Enter your name, email and state to get started. If you choose to, you can provide more information to us in the next step for more tailored communications! We'll never, for any reason, share your personal information. Already get ACHA emails? We’ve got you! You do NOT need to fill out this form.

*By sharing your information, you consent to receiving emails from ACHA.

  • {{ m }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.FirstName') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.LastName') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.Email') }}
{{ validation.firstError('basic.State') }}