Angel Voices Everywhere*
by Jan M. Skadberg, RN, BSPA, CLNC
Remember how your mom bombarded you with cliches while you were growing up? “A stitch in time…You reap what you sow…Don’t forget to put on clean underwear because you never know if you’ll end up in the emergency room.” I hate to say it, but as I become older and wiser, I find myself repeating these same cliches to others.
My mom had another saying she was fond of: “Trust those little messages from God. Angels won’t steer you wrong.” Once again, she was right, but I never thought I’d live to see it.
A funny thing happened on the way to my CLNC® career. I rediscovered myself. My goals, values, priorities. My life.
Time for a Change
The angels may need some help to let you know when it’s time for a change. Three years ago I had a house built and moved my ailing father to be closer to me. My little girl lost a leg due to osteosarcoma and had every postop complication in the book. Talk about feeling overwhelmed.
Meanwhile, my work was the pits – hospital nursing just didn’t fit into the life I needed to live. We all have horror stories about shift rotations, working holidays and weekends, last-minute schedule changes. And don’t forget the head nurse from hell, who must spend hours every night developing policies and procedures that have you screaming in despair at the Lady Clairol counter or running to the nearest pharmacist for a refill on your Prozac prescription.
That’s when I started hearing from my human angels. One of my coworkers handed me an ad for a legal nurse consulting course and said, “You’ve always been fascinated by the law. This might be an avenue you’d like to pursue.”
I got the message. That day I called Vickie Milazzo Institute for their brochure, then ordered and promptly received, the CLNC® Certification Program. It was time to get cracking on a new vision. After several months I finished the course work, took the exam and became certified to “fake it till I make it as a Certified Legal Nurse Consultant.”
Calling All Angels
Next came my finances. I needed money – badly. As a nurse, have you ever felt that you give and give and give, wondering if you’ll ever be thought of or thanked for all you do? This was the perfect time for another of Mom’s cliches: “You reap what you sow.”
Prospectus in hand, I went to my local bank, ruing the fact that my 24-hour deodorant had given out in less than 30 minutes. But after the social chitchat was over, the gentleman said, “The loan is yours.”
My mouth dropped. I hadn’t even given him my cost projections. With a twinkle in his eye, he said, “You took care of my granddaughter nine years ago. Your work ethic is good enough for me.” Thus I reaped what I’d sown and received my loan.
Angels now started coming out with a vengeance. My nephew and sister created my brochure and Web page (professionally, I might add), thus saving me oodles of resources and time. Another angel, in the guise of my godchildren’s grandfather (who just happened to be in town for the holidays), rewired my house to handle my phones and computer, all to the lovely tune of $15.
Somehow, the parents of many of my NICU babies found out about my new venture. One new mother set me up with a fashion consultant. Four hours later I walked out of Nordstrom’s feeling like a million bucks – and I received her hefty employee discount to boot. The lawyer-parents of several of my babies gave me the names of reputable attorneys. Other friends have shared computer knowledge or their time in their individual areas of expertise.
Every single one of my needs has been met. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve worked my buns off. But everything has flowed smoothly and fallen into place almost effortlessly.
Mom Was Right
A funny thing happened on the way to my CLNC career. I rediscovered myself. My goals, values, priorities. My life. Thank you, Vickie, not only for your obvious dedication to the quality of your program, but also for opening the door to a greater understanding of my belief system. And for helping me to finally realize that I am how and what I think.
So where am I now? I’ve taken my first case and my goal is to be out of the hospital setting within the next six months. My father is thriving and has been a great asset in helping me start my business, and my little girl, who was given one to four months to live, is now active and well nine months later.
Sometimes RNs have the illusion that we have all the answers and never need help. My most humbling experience was to gratefully accept assistance from friends, acquaintances and strangers.
The greatest lesson I’ve learned from this journey, though, has been gratitude. It’s easy to be grateful when things are going well. The greater challenge is being grateful for the difficult times and the process of working through those difficulties. And it’s all up to me.
Yes, Mom, you were right. I have reaped what I’ve sown. It did pay to listen to those small, quiet angel messages. How grateful I am to have felt this outpouring of love and support. I am definitely blessed – and prepared.
Thanks, Mom. And thank you, Vickie Milazzo.
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