When is their surgery?

Lately, I have been on my surgery rotation for medical school.

This is a unique rotation because I am given the opportunity to observe many different procedures. Sometimes I can even “scrub in”, which is medical jargon for assisting the surgeon.

At the start of my day, I go to the locker room and don my scrubs for the day. I grab a giant hairnet and throw it over my beautiful locks. Then I put covers over my shoes to protect them from any blood spills. I walk out of the changing room and head for the surgical waiting area.

The surgical waiting area is unique because this is where the patients are brought minutes before the surgery. They are wheeled in on their gurney and are met with the anesthesiologist and nurses who discuss the procedure for them. They are given an IV which will be for the medication used to put them asleep.

Before the surgeon comes in there is a waiting period where the patient is all alone. 

They sit there knowing, in just a few minutes, they will be having a very invasive procedure.

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Today, these experiences had me thinking.

How easy it is to remain cold in these settings.

When I am in the surgical waiting area, I usually am thinking about how tired I am or how I wish I had breakfast.

When I am in the surgical waiting room, I usually am thinking about what I am going to do after the procedure. How long will it take? Will the surgeon ask me any questions?

I am so quick to forget the facts of those around me.

The fact that the woman beside me barely speaks English and does not understand what is going on around her. 

The fact that the patient waiting for a very painful spine procedure looks filled with terror and is shivering. 

The fact that the patient to my right had an invasive procedure many times before and was overwhelmed with despair. 

These situations, though happening in a surgical waiting room, are very applicable to life itself. Those around us are in the midst of very desperate situations. Instead of putting ourselves in their situations and allow it to drive us to act for their betterment, we are quick to shy away.

We jump to turn inside ourselves instead of allowing ourselves to be an agent of change for our neighbor.

I believe this is all driven by fear. A fear response that pushes us to remain safe, comfortable, and cozy.

This week I challenge you to look for those around you that may be in their own surgical waiting room. Do not allow the fear of saying the wrong thing or putting yourself out there prevent you from being a light in a dark place.

Maybe someone is waiting for a test grade to come back in a class they are struggling with?

Maybe someone is having trouble finding a job after being laid off?

Maybe someone is just having a really bad day? 

Allow the shell society has created around yourself to slowly melt away.

Empathize and act.

You do not have to feel anything.

You do not have to feel like you are going to change the world.

It doesn’t take much to make a difference in someone’s life.

All you really need to do is notice. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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When You Reach the Hill

I can remember the pain.

Running through my legs as I biked through the streets of my hometown.

At the start of the journey there were many hills, but it was all downhill.

I loved the feeling. Pedaling was pointless. I was at full speed.

Yet at the end of it. I always knew there was the hill. The hill that cars have trouble getting up in the winter time. My little legs were never ready for it. But I would go up it. Moving inch by inch. Many times I had to get off my bike and push it up.

 

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We reach a lot of hills in our lives.

As students that may be a big test.

As patients that may be an illness.

As husbands and wives that may be an argument.

 

I am not here to give you the cliche “keep moving forward and you will succeed.”

I am here to talk about the pain.

Just like the pain in my legs when I would press up that hill.

I feel as humans we have a tendency to look toward the end. To say, “do this and you will make it.” Sure, that is great and all. But tell me about your hurt. What did it feel like when you were lying in that hospital bed? What did it feel like when your spouse hurt your heart? What did it feel like when you had not studied enough and the pressure was causing your heart to race?

We all are so drawn to the outcome of those role models around us that we forget their journey.

We cannot learn from their finale, but we can learn from their struggles.

For me, in order to have the courage to get up the hill I needed role models.

I needed to witness bikers going up that hill in pain and making it to the top.

I needed to see my siblings struggling with me.

I needed to know that I was not the only one experiencing this hurt.

 

Friends, today I encourage you to be vulnerable regarding your pain. Allow others to hear your struggle up the hill.

In this way, the struggle can be glorified.

The struggle can lead to another’s triumph.

However, if the pain is bottled and the finale is on display, no one prospers but yourself.

So be open.

Tell the world your story up the hill.

Lets reach the top….together.

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Bird House

“Bird House” by n.J.bellacicco

There once was a carpenter, who wanted to build a bird house for his dying friend. He and his friend would sit by the window and watch the birds eat from the feeder all day long. This friend could not move because he was too weak. The birds would come and go. The friend would always say, “I love the birds. I wish they didn’t go away.” So for the next few months the carpenter stayed in his shop. He drew out his plans over and over again. He wanted it to be the perfect birdhouse for his friend. He loved him and wanted him to feel his love in this sorrowful time.

    He tested out ten different types of wood. He did research on the different birds in the community and the types of living environments they would thrive in. He consulted hundreds of bird house makers across the world. Eventually, after four months of hard work it was finished. It was beautiful. It was his best work. He rushed it over to his friend’s house. He had not seen him months. To the carpenter’s surprise, his friend was no longer in bed. As he was leaving the house, the friend’s mother pulled into the driveway.

“Where is he?” the carpenter asked.

The mother in all black with her face pointed to the ground replied,

“You just missed the funeral.”

The carpenter in shock looked at what he created. He then realized. He had become just like the birds. The mother looked at the bird house the carpenter had made.

Smiling, she said, “He loved nothing more than to watch the birds with you.”

Friends, sometimes we fall in the trap that in order to love people we need to do for them. We need to give to them. This is not the case. In order to make this world turn a bit easier it is important that we remember to be. Be with a loved one. Be with a spouse. Be with a friend. JUST BE. Because in the end the birdhouses we make are cool and all, but not being present is what we will regret. Don’t be like the birds. Stay put and listen. Stay put and talk. Stay put and love.

In 3 Months My Book Hits the Shelves. 

When I was very young I remember asking my Mom what she thought I was going to be when I grew up. She told me an author. I remember giggling because why on earth would I want to be that?

Well, now it is coming true. Mom’s are always right. 

Growing up, just like every other teenage boy I tried my best to be the cool guy. I wanted to be liked by the crowd. Writing and especially writing poetry was not going to put me on the cool guy list. I had a passion for it when I was young, but the older I got the more I forgot about it. It did not make the cut for my time and my energy.

I have always liked modern style poetry. Not the old stuff (sorry!!) Contemporary styles. Slam poetry.  Poems that were short and sweet, yet they hit me like a bag of bricks. When I was in my middle school and in my early high school days my poems were raps. I thought I was great. Had the microphone and everything. After a few hundred views on YouTube I moved on from that dream. In college I started to realize that words have immense power. The power to build people up and the power to break hearts. Within words whether they be in person or on a piece of paper they move us. They allow us to better understand others and to better understand ourselves. They teach us empathy. I have read poems that have changed my life. Magazine articles. Quotes. Books (shoutout to the #Bible). Words matter.

In the past two years, I needed an outlet. A way to allow myself to be open and vulnerable and connect with the world. So, I started writing more. This blog…but also poetry. After taking a poetry class in college I started taking it pretty seriously. My word doc was filling up.

After some prayer and guidance from the Big Man Upstairs I was offered to be published by Tribute Publishing. My book “Pouring Echoes” will be released this November. This is a book about relationships. About empathizing with others. It is about screaming out the world and waiting for a reply. It is about having your heart broken and watching your loved one’s hearts break. It is about joy in uncertainty. It is about hope in fear.

The reason I am posting this is not to try to sell myself. If this book is bought by 1 person and it allows them to know that “someone gets it” that is enough for me. If you having been following this blog for sometime now and are interested in reading words that flew straight from my heart, give my book a chance. I will sure to keep you all updated and post the amazon link in November if you would like to purchase it 🙂

Here is a little piece of a poem.

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You can follow my poetry account on Instagram @njb.poetry

*Thank you again to all of you who have been reading my posts this year. I hope to continue writing more and encouraging y’all to keep loving God and others every single day. If you are ever in need of a friend or someone to talk to about something in your life that you or a friend may be struggling with. Don’t be afraid to reach out. We were born to listen.  

 

 

Narwhals and Unicorns

I have been really lucky.

College has blessed me with great friends that I will have until they put me in the coffin.

Friends that have my back through terrible times.

Friends to laugh with me and at me.

Friends that understand me.

Friends that push me to be courageous.

And most of all…..

Friends that produce KOMA moments.

I have talked about KOMA moments before in my past blogs. However, for new readers I will try to explain.

 

KOMA stands for: (K)nocked (O)n (M)y (A)ss

 

KOMA moments are instances where my entire perspective shifts. These are moments where my mind has taken a seat and I need to reevaluate everything. My world transforms as my butt hits the ground.

 

A few weeks ago I was opening up to my roommate. I was trying to explain all my emotions and fears. I was frustrated. I was upset. I was angry. I was hurt.

NO ONE UNDERSTANDS ME..WHY AM I SO DIFFERENT…was all I could think.

 

My roommate responded,

“You think you are a unicorn. But in reality, you are just a narwhal.”

 

I was really confused after this statement.

Unicorn? Narwhals? Me? WHAT?

 

My friend started to explain to me that I act as though I am unique and special. I talk as though no one understands my problems. I speak as though I am alone in this vast universe. A unicorn—a mythical creature no one can empathize with.

He then told me that I am just a narwhal. There are others that get it, other narwhals in the ocean. My unicorn horn is really the horn of a narwhal. My fears, frustrations, emotions have been experienced by many many others in the world.

All in all.

I am not alone. 

 

I write about this story today to promote vulnerability. It is very difficult to open up with friends and even strangers about the struggles of life. You may feel different. You may feel like your fears and anxieties are special.

However, more people “get it” than you think would. C.S. Lewis says it perfectly.

 

"To love is to be vulnerable."

 

Friends, I encourage you today to remind yourself that you are a narwhal. I wish I could tell you that you are a special unicorn, but that is not the case.

We are all human.

We can empathize with one another.

We can choose everyday to be open about our struggles and victories.