I am too tired to write this blog, but, I’m also too fired up emotionally not to. So, here goes.
Benadryl is what it is going to take to get me to fall asleep. Every Tom, Dick, and Harry is outside lighting off fireworks because it’s the 4th of July. I can’t help but wonder – Do they really understand what they are celebrating? Or was this just another day off or one more three-day weekend?
Don’t get me wrong. I love having days off, I love three-day weekends, and I love spending time with those I love.
So, why am I fired up???
I went to work today at 6 a.m., and I cared for approximately 18 patients during my 12-hour shift, each with his own television. I have over and over all day long heard about terrorist attacks abroad, hate crimes in the United States, accusations by politicians, gay bashing, Christian bashing, these lives matter, those lives matter, and a few too many episodes of Jerry Springer in between.
On the way home, I stopped at the local market to pick up some chicken, and had two people snicker next to me about the nationality of someone in line. As I pulled out of the parking lot, I watched at the corner a young man in a convertible who almost hit a young teenager on his bike (who had the right-of-way!) give his middle finger to him and yell “camel jockey!” at the poor kid!
ARE WE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE CELEBRATING OUR COUNTRY’S INDEPENDENCE DAY TODAY? Must we be so full of hatred today? Seriously?
What the heck?!!!!
I am so sick to death of the hate in this country, the purposeful division that the news loves to promote, and so, so, so sick and tired of people fighting about whose lives matter the most! I am sick of the Facebook posts, sick of watching it on the news, tired of listening to all of it. Recently I shut cable television off. I don’t miss it – AT ALL!
Some of the best years of my life were spent living in barracks in the Army. Not even once did I get to choose my roommates. I had black roommates, white roommates, Hispanic roommates, Korean roommates, straight roommates, gay roommates, fat roommates, skinny roommates, atheist roommates, Catholic roommates, and Protestant roommates. Not once when I went to work, went to the physical training, went to field exercises, or was awakened in the middle of the night for an alert, did the color of anyone’s skin, their religious preference, their gender, or social lifestyle make a difference in how we carried out our duties. We trained side by side and trusted each other.
It’s a good thing that our active duty military keeping us safe and fighting for our freedom are not dividing themselves up by their beliefs, by their race, by the color of their skin, or by whose lives they believe matter the most. If they did, we would NOT be the great nation that we still are today, and are supposed to be celebrating this INDEPENDENCE DAY! So good GRIEF, Praise God that our soldiers don’t act like what I keep seeing on the television! They make sacrifices for ALL of our lives, not just some of them! (And we have a multicultural military)! I am thankful for ALL of them!
No wonder so many who return to civilian life don’t wait long to return back to active duty service. It makes that “gut feeling,” that longing to be back in, make perfect sense – the feeling I get every time I’m on a military installation.
Decades later, I now work as a registered nurse. When I get report, I get name, diagnosis, age, code status, and a brief synopsis of why my patient is coming to me, medications I can administer, and orders from a physician that I am to carry out. Any mention of the religious preference of my patient is not done for any reason other than to make sure my patient’s religious wishes are respected. Until my patient arrives, I don’t know what color he is, who is paying for their hospital stay, what their credentials are, how much money they make, what their zip code is, whether they are straight, gay, bisexual, Catholic, Protestant, or Muslim.
Why? Because as a registered nurse, EVERY life matters. Not one more than another. EVERY life.
I am so proud to work alongside medical professionals who, at the end of the day shake their heads at the news on the televisions. If you are a patient on MY unit, in MY hospital, cared for by MY colleagues or by me, YOUR LIFE MATTERS. Period. We will turn you, bathe you, shave you, comfort you, hold your hand, medicate you, pray with you, cry with you, laugh with you, mourn with you, make phone calls for you, listen to you, acknowledge you, respect you, be honest with you, and hold your hand while you take your very last breath. We don’t care if you are black, white, yellow, red, gay, straight, bisexual, if you have AIDS, if you have hepatitis C, if you have cancer, if you can hear me or not, see me or not, whether or not we have the same belief system, or whether or not you like me. We don’t have to AGREE theologically or politically in order for your life to matter to a nurse! And, when we get poked with a dirty needle by an AIDS patient or a hepatitis C positive patient, we will return to work the next day to do it all over again, and your life will STILL matter to us!
Do you want to know whose lives matter?
Ask a SOLDIER, or ask a NURSE!
EVERYONE’S LIFE MATTERS!
In the wise words I heard most recently from my COMPLETELY BLIND patient, “Honey, I can’t see you, but I know you were made in the image of Almighty God. So, YOUR LIFE MATTERS TO ME!”
Isn’t that ironic? She was blind, yet she sees better than most people these days.
Happy INDEPENDENCE Day!