Tie your own shoes

Dawncartoon[1] (1)TO THIS DAY, I still have middle-schoolers walking around with their shoes untied!  Kids!  This is NOT a fashion statement, this is a HEALTH HAZARD!  You trip, then I have to take care of you!

Remember teaching your little ones to tie their shoes?  Some used the bunny ear technique.  In my house, we used the old-fashioned loop/knot design.  It all takes time and practice, but then, of course, my youngest ended up wearing flip-flops to high school in January, so why bother?

The point is that teaching self-sufficiency is a 
Continue reading “Tie your own shoes”

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More than first day jitters

wood 2This week I had my last “first” day of the kiddos returning to school.  As if that isn’t enough to make a school nurse’s hair stand on end, add to it that I work at public middle school, where hormones run rampant and drama is just a part of life.  Everything from “do you have any Super Glue for my broken [plastic, garishly painted, glamor] fingernail” to where-did-I-put-my-multi-page-child-abuse-form,…it tends to land in my office. 

I have a well-worn path to the Counseling Center, (not always just for the students, mind you.)  God bless them…lots. Continue reading “More than first day jitters”

M.O.N. (Mean Old Nurse)

IMG_20150103_172451138Working as a middle school nurse for many (many) years, I’ve come to expect that quite a few—or maybe even more than a few—of the young visitors who come to my office don’t actually want the services I have to offer.  Based on my assessment, they can finish their school day with a cough drop, or a Tylenol.  And, yes, I make loads of phone calls to parents just to inform them that I’ve seen their child and they might want to recheck their child’s temp that evening as, of course, things do progress.  But, for now, I send the student “BTC” (back to class). 

It does not make me popular….

…because it was not the “help” they were hoping for or expecting.  Ah, growing up is hard to do, as I check the child’s throat while fighting back my own migraine, or offering the good old staple of Saltine crackers while hiding my own stash at my desk after taking a couple of Tums that morning myself.  Life is not always as we would want it, kid; let me “help” you start figuring that out now.

Again, not exactly the help they Continue reading “M.O.N. (Mean Old Nurse)”

Dismissal time! Woo-hoo! (…but until then…)

IMG_20150103_172451138As a school nurse, (like everyone else working with kids), there are Mondays, and then there are Mondaze.  But through it all, I can always count on this—the dismissal bell. 

Here is an email response I had from my husband from his office back in 2011:

“The titles of your last two emails are telling: ‘Great Weekend’ followed by ‘Crazy Morning’.   My imagination is racing: blood dripping from the walls, a contagion that turns students into zombies (all marching lock-step toward your office), sewage backing up from the toilet in your office, a Fed Ex truck out front and a driver in the front office announcing loudly, ‘Paperwork for Dawn Jones…Where do you want all these boxes?’”

And that’s on a good Monday.

Makes it just a wee bit easier to see what the Continue reading “Dismissal time! Woo-hoo! (…but until then…)”

A scar isn’t ALL bad

IMG_20150103_172451138If there is one advantage to having a nurse for a mom, it is that you are vaccinated against seemingly innumerable nasties that would love to invade your bloodstream.  (I suppose it might be difficult to understand that advantage, depending which end of the needle you’re on…)  Particularly, being a school nurse, as new recommendations and requirements come down the pipe, I would be getting my kids stuck with those also, except that they are now out of my household and that maternal syringe isn’t quite long enough.

vaccination-296946_1280As I write this (December, 2016), there is an unfortunately significant mumps outbreak in one of our major college towns here in Missouri, most assuredly fueled by parents’ decisions to not vaccinate their children when they were younger against this very preventable disease.  When you have 18 to 22 year-olds crammed into college dorms and classrooms, transference of nasties is bound to happen.

Not that I would intentionally expose Continue reading “A scar isn’t ALL bad”

Where’s my starfish?

wood 2

This past autumn, I was with my parents over Thanksgiving.  Dad is really in that stage of paring things down, giving things away. 

This stage has lasted about 20 years now…

Going through his garage, I noted that he still had 3 or 4 big jars of old black sharks’ teeth from when he and mom walked along the Gulf Coast on various vacations.   But so many sharks’ teeth!  You’d think it would finally be “safe to go back in the water”, (I date myself again.) 

I guess no one has made a claim Continue reading “Where’s my starfish?”

The authority of a true “it”

(Full post at dawnlizjones.wordpress.com)  They taught me a lot of practical things in nursing school, but computers were not on the syllabus.  Probably because they weren’t around back then, at least not like they are today.  Granted, we weren’t hammering our nurses’ notes into stone or anything like that, but neither were we “charting” on a keyboard next to the patient’s bed.  We’ve come a long way, baby!

Even in the almost two decades (sheesh!! THAT long??) of public school nursing, the technology has slowly but steadily seeped into my daily activities in my little office.  Out in the small county schools, I didn’t even have a typewriter in my various offices, much less a computer.  Usually I would arrive so early that I would have to go into the building through the kitchen where the cooks were scurrying about geting ready for the breakfast bunch.  One school had the cows in the field snug up close to the school yard.  Another school had me on what I affectionately called the “third and a half floor”, which was a half flight of stairs up from the second floor that led to only a (very) small room with a spitting steam radiator.  There was no phone in that room, so the secretary would come up half way and holler for me if I got a call.  A third school put me in the closet with some kind of heating unit.  The last one stashed me away in a little place right next to the band room, which was fun when I was trying to accomplish some hearing screenings. 

As much as I loved my small rural county schools, and I did, I must say I probably didn’t carry much authority there.  At least, not in and of myself.  However, when I used my boss’ name, who people knew because of her connections with the county health department, that seemed to underscore things for me.  That, plus the fact that I also was representing the county health department.  And wearing a white lab coat once in a while didn’t hurt much either.  (There’s just something about a white lab coat that engenders respect….) 

White coat or no, I was still near the bottom of the technology pole, which was of little consequence having existed and functioned for 40+ years without it. 

Fast forward almost 20 years.  I’ve now been in the largest district in the county for most of that time, which is still small compared to our city counterparts; however, we are blessed with a very techno-minded administration and faculty, and I have gone from a monochrome 80-88 to the newest upgrade and operating system available in the district.  Of course, that may be outdated by tomorrow at the rate all this is going!  Nonetheless, my computer and I have a love/hate relationship, which proves the necessity of the Internet Technology gurus, affectionately known as the I.T.’s.  The “its” in our school community are the somewhat secretive superpowers that can move the cursor on my screen from somewhere deep within the computer grid, and like a poltergeist residing in my hard drive, can type messages to me while lurking off camera.  I have an occasional “it” sighting in my building, and must quell any urge to pull an “it” into my office if I have a computer problem.  I have learned that that is inappropriate “it” etiquette; one must go through the royal gauntlet to properly address an “it” and get repairs on one’s computer. 

Recently, I was having trouble accessing a state website needed to check immunizations on my students.  This is an important part of my job, and since we have now enjoyed the convenience of our technology, of course the convenience has grown (stealthily) into a necessity.  Thankfully, an “it” came to my rescue (having been requisitioned through the appropriate channels), making a personal visit to my office (!!) Evidently, the somewhat finicky website was questioning my authority to access the program this time.  My wonderful “it” had to add me to the “admin.” roster, and voila!  I was in!

Now, without having that authority to access the program, I would have had much difficulty accomplishing the tasks assigned to me, and the end result would have been that the children could potentially suffer from it.  One other option could be to have the “it” do my job for me, looking up all the immunizations, printing them off, and all that entails.  Not a very efficient solution, (nor probable, I might add…)  Rather, he used his authority to grant me authority.  Then, and only then, could I prevail upon the computer to let me do my job!

Not that I would want to go back to a secretary yelling up the stairs for me to get to a phone, but at least she knew my name.  And, thankfully, heaven is superbly more personal than my computer.  However, the idea of granting authority applies in very practical ways:

  • Realistically, what is my level of authority in the heavenly sphere? Do I have any power?  If I am “blessed with all spiritual blessings in the heavenly places”, how does that translate into “doing my Father’s work” on a daily basis?
  • How do I “administrate” this “ministry” of reconciliation. Both of those words have the little piece “min” embedded within them.  “Min” comes from the Latin word for “servant” and is related to the Latin word for “minor” or “smaller”.  Hmmm…. In other words, to administer really means to serve.  It calls for meekness.

In a nutshell, because of what happened at Easter, we have the authority to be logged onto heaven’s site as “admin”; our job necessitates that we access heaven’s resources to benefit those around us. 

And I don’t even have to fill out a requisition in triplicate…!