A couple of years ago, I shopped for a new car. I knew EXACTLY what I wanted – A white Volkswagon Jetta, 4-door. with NO SUN ROOF! “I HATE sun roofs!” I told the car salesman. But the only one available to purchase the day I set out intending to come home with a new car, had a sun roof, and a few other “extras.” I couldn’t resist. For weeks I told everyone how much I was enjoying my new car, but how I would NEVER use my sun roof…………. Until one particular 12-hour shift, that is.
Twelve hours is a long time. It’s a long time to be on your feet. It’s a long time to be gone from your family. We watch the sun come up on our way into work, and watch it set as we drive home to our families. And OFTEN, A 12-hour nursing shift is a long time to go without eating, or without a chance to sit down, or without drinking a glass of water. But it always seems the longest when you are watching someone suffer.
Today, as I was leaving my 12-hour shift, I ran into a good friend in the parking garage, where we spent the next 45 minutes finally getting a visit in – without alarms dinging and people pulling us in every direction. I had to laugh when Jean told me she “liked my sun roof,” and of course, I had to share the story with her about how much I hated that sunroof, until that one particular 12-hour shift.
I had spent three days caring for an older gentleman, who wanted desperately to stop fighting and go home with hospice care. Convincing his family of this decision was tough, however, so for those three days I spent with him, he honored their wishes and continued to fight – an exhausting fight. I wanted desperately for his family to honor HIS wishes and allow him to go home and stop suffering. I had the privilege of being with him, holding his hand while he once more expressed HIS wishes, and told each person in his family how much he loved them. It was an intimate and sweet moment, and I was so glad to witness once again – that in our last moments, it is the PEOPLE in our lives who are the most important. (Not our houses, cars, credentials, or cash balances).
That gentleman’s family finally agreed to allow him to have his wish. I watched as a tremendous weight lifted from him. Not only was he able to go home with hospice care, but I watched as he reconciled with two of his daughters who had not spoken to him for 10 years.
Wow! I felt sooo good leaving work that day!
As I was driving home, (and yes, watching the sun set after my 12-hour shift), I BLASTED one of my favorite songs. It was a good shift, a good 12 hours, and I just wanted to SING!
So I did! And not only did I sing…….. I opened that sunroof, and raised my arm up while singing praises! And I didn’t STOP singing when I pulled up to each red light I caught all the way home! Did I get strange looks? You bet I did! Did I care? Ummm…… Nope!
So the next time you pull up to a red light, and you see someone in scrubs singing loudly, maybe even throwing in some “dance moves”…… Relax. It’s probably JUST A NURSE! – After a very long, but rewarding 12-hour shift!
By the way……….. I don’t hate my sunroof anymore 😉