Feeling Fat, Fuzzy, or Frazzled

Invitation to Nurses

Notes for Nurses, The Caregiving Experts

Can you imagine the power of 2.5 million nurses joining with doctors and complementary practitioners to change the face of modem medicine as it is practiced today? That is the sea change we hope to create with this book.

As a nurse for thirty years, I am convinced that we nurses have the power to transform lives and to change our medical system-more than many of us may realize. Often, when we take time with our patients, we are the first to hear about their symptoms, their
pain, their dreams. In our haste, however, we can discount complaints of discomfort, perpetuating a sick care system (instead of a health care system) that largely ignores people with subtle "disease." While a limited nursing response is perfectly justifiable given the immense pressures of our work, it is also tragic. The reality is that without heart-centered nursing care, everyone suffers.

What if, instead, we paid close attention to "quality of life" complaints, through attentive listening and respectful involvement? I believe we would be honoring our commitment to health promotion, preventing the eventual degradation that later shows up as deeper disease. Though admittedly such attention takes more time, it can ultimately prevent a horrible toll on our patients and on ourselves. I believe that when we rush through our workdays, neglecting to share that nurturing touch that defines our art, our contributions are devalued, leaving dissatisfaction where healing seeks to grow.

A simple change of heart and focus could make an immeasurable difference, providing you with greater job satisfaction, and your patients with greater health. You are the bridge between health consumers and their doctors. As a more active advocate, you
can help to ensure effective earlier intervention, the establishment of trust, and a stronger connection that can save and improve lives, all the while enriching your work life.

Learning about and employing the easily implemented tests and natural interventions outlined in this book could make a world of difference for those metabolically imbalanced patients entrusted to your care. It can help you to better understand common pitfalls of standard medical testing, which often allow people to be misdiagnosed or treated inappropriately. We nurses are in a perfect position, by virtue of our licensure, to provide details that can help people avoid illness and improve their lives.

We can gently educate doctors who may have learned endocrinology many years ago, or those who have less interest in chronic health challenges than in life-or-death situations. Inspire them to grow and enhance their skills and knowledge, their bedside manner, and their results. This is the kind of win-win-win we seek.

Nurses can be much, much more than gatekeepers or handmaidens in a "managed care" system that seems unmanaged and uncaring. By necessity, we are guardian angels for our patients. When we nurses claim our full power for greater societal health, we can offer critical guidance and advocacy as valued members of the consumer's health team. We can choose to trade in our souls, or to expand our hearts and our roles, our voices and our knowledge, to inspire healthy change.

To start, we can simply be an ally, showing the woman complaining about depression, dry skin, hair, nails, low libido, and unbearable irritability that we do care and that her concerns are valid. Even though none of these symptoms are on the order of life or
death, they are incredibly real to her, and the combination of ailments leading her to feel "less like herself' may be frightening. By truly caring for her, you affirm both your and her worth simultaneously. Restored, and hopefully with the proper interventions, she can go home to care for herself, to participate in the activities that bring her joy, and ultimately to nourish loved ones, thanks to your caring touch.

Having a chronic life-sapping condition that is ignored by doctors can feel like being carried on a wave. To a normal, healthy person, being carried on a wave can seem fun, enjoyable, and exhilarating. But for a person with extreme exhaustion or nervous irritability, the wave can be terrifying. That person feels as if she is going faster than is comfortable, she can't catch her breath-and she can't stop. The pace feels wrong to her, causing her to become unduly anxious, overwrought, and fearful that she may crash at any moment, unable to find the brakes.

That is what it feels like for people with delicate endocrine conditions trying to live a normal life and to keep up with others. Since those people don't always look different, others may not understand that they are depleted, and so expect them to perform
normally. To add insult to injury, when those compromised people do find the time, money, and energy to seek out medical care, they are frequently told their concerns are all in their head, and may be given Prozac, Zoloft, or stronger medications.

Our program shares basic, integrative health information that has been neglected in the quest for greater technology. It is a call to arms, for nurses and soulful caregivers, to join with each other in behalf of our patients.

Together we can inspire a powerful shift back to the roots that sustain and nurture us all. Then, with simple modifications, we can proudly live up to the promise of nursing-as powerful caregivers who provide knowledge and support, helping people to reclaim
their wellness and balance while learning to protect their most precious asset, their health.

Won't you join me in awakening health consumers to the joys of creating powerful health teams, working together to restore harmony to a world in need? May this book touch your spirit and awaken your healing power, for you and those entrusted to your
care, that our lives and our world will be blessed.

Karilee Shames, RN, PhD


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