Over just this past week………
The wife of my patient brought in a stack of family photos she wanted to share with me. She and her husband were married for 65 years. She wanted to share her memories with me – cried through some of the more difficult ones to recall, laughed through many others. What a privilege for me it was to just sit and listen.
An elderly man who was very confused needed constant reassurance, and often the re-locating of his stuffed animal that the nursing manager gave him – a bunny rabbit he named “Hopper.”
A 76-year-old man, estranged from his son for the past decade, came to me and wanted to know if it was okay to be alone with my patient – his son. He needed to say he was sorry for some things. (It’s never too late).
Several co-workers rallied around one of our colleagues battling some very stressful legal issues this week. We all love her, and she knows it.
My roommate, a pediatric intensive care nurse, came home after doing chest compressions on a 15-month-old baby, who died at the end of her shift. We sat for a long while at the kitchen table and talked. She cried, and then left to run some errands. Life has to go on.
Some of us sat through family meetings where a grim diagnosis was given and all hope taken away from loved ones of a suffering patient.
Most of us changed more beds in a 12-hour shift than we do in a month in our own homes.
One man told us the story of how he met his wife, courted her for three years, married her and had three children. One of their sons was recently killed in a hunting accident. Now he sits bedside 54 years after their wedding day, holding her hand while she dies.
Yep, that’s a typical week for a nurse. So if you dare love one of us, please be warned – We have sick senses of humor that don’t seem sick to us until we see the look on your faces. Only then do we know to “scale it down a wee bit.” We dart from the front door to the shower without embracing you. Don’t ask why. Just trust us. And sometimes, the 30-minute drive home in silence without chatting on the phone is necessary (for us).
We may “only” work three days a week, but…… we pour our hearts and souls (and often our backs) into every thing we do….
“A nurse is one who opens the eyes of a newborn & gently closes the eyes of a dying man. It is indeed a high blessing to be first and last to witness the beginning & end of life.”
Ah …… To be a nurse. I wouldn’t be anything else at all.