There is a lot of unseen work going on in the brain. I believe it can be divided, this work. There is the work of satisfying your primal needs like water, food and safety. The high end work involves things like your taxes, driving or making a delicious Ruben sandwich. But, the workers can often be in conflict. Union issues I suppose. The old adage about management versus the little guy. It doesn't help that they don't talk to each other most of the time. Most of the time, they aren't speaking the same language.
This is what dreams are for.
A perfect example was my dream last night about Mr. Michael Moore. This was weird. I don't know him and haven't viewed much of his work. He is more of an idea to me. I see him as a man of righteousness, fighting a good fight. I do question his logic and zealousness from time to time. But, in general, I find him to be a good egg. I root for him.
In my dream, I was reading about Mr. Moore and his nifty new device that was attached to his back. It was a machine to aid with his health problems. It was a big black square deal, hanging from his body. Think Atari, but bigger and flatter, about the size of a pizza box.
Later in the dream, I was meeting with Mr. Moore in my capacity as a health care provider. Now, in real life, I have recently transitioned from registered nurse (working in the general medical field) to psychiatric nurse practitioner (working in the very specific mental health field). So, it felt odd seeing him. He was there to have a recheck on his machine and it's functioning. A general medical concern. I don't do this anymore. Yet there he was.
Lo and behold, the machine really was an Atari console. He used the controller to augment pain control and function in his leg. The pain was caused by a prior back injury and exacerbated by his morbid obesity. In real life, in my (former) general nursing practice, this sort of story is common. As common as the common cold.
But this machine, it was working wonders! He gained more control over his pain and his life. He was teary eyed and thankful. I was infused with happy and hope for him. He leaned in to hug me.
Now, in real life, patients will sometimes approach for a hug, out of gratitude. I have hugged back a few times. Mostly though, I do not hug. I have solid boundaries for a reason. But, it's a judgment call really.
But I really hugged Mr. Moore. Leaned my head on his shoulder and even cried a little. I was happy he had made some sort of progress with his health issues.
And this is conflict in the head of a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.
The fact of the matter is, is that his device is not helping his real pain. He is still morbidly obese, still in huge amounts of denial, still unready to even begin to look at how he got here and what will help him. Still unwilling to tolerate with his own emotions.
Thus, if he puts that much faith in a machine, he is losing the battle of becoming healthy. I cried because it was bittersweet, this visit with Mr. Moore. He is better, but not really. Funny that I now prescribe machines for people, well, not machines, medications. Funny. Funny indeed.
This dream was about helping him, but not the way I wanted to. Again, this is not my role anymore, to do general medical nursing. Which is a huge relief for me. I really had no passion left for that work. Beyond serving others I mean. That I still have passion for. And in mental health, I finally get a chance to call attention to what is really happening with them. To call a spade a spade.
And I can help them chip away at their problems. To defeat the unseen forces, to aid in true recovery. But, maybe I was just burnt out as a general medical nurse. Or maybe I just dealt with a population, that never had a chance at achieving recovery. I only saw the sickest of the sickest, the court ordered treatment types. This is not the population I work with now. Well, I do get a few here and there, there is variance now.
So, that being said, why this dream, why now?
Well, it appears that the conflict still is there. The primal brain still insisting that I help and change what cannot be affected. This would make me feel safer. But the higher ups realize that even with the change in my practice, I still can only do so much. Even with the fancy machines, I mean, medications, I can only do so much.
Damn management-don't they ever listen to the little guy?
And me, the waking me, realizing I am still fighting a conflict. Still fighting how to best help people, to effect change.
My patients still put so much faith in medication. And I do my best to educate them that it is one part of the solution. That medications can only do so much of the heavy lifting. Yet there it is.
AND there's the conflict, right there! I hope it will lessen over time.
Geez, it's all such a web up there. :)