Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

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“Why are you not married?”

He was having a hernia repair.

The question caught me off guard. I’d said nothing about my personal statistics; asked him how he slept last night being that he had to arrive at our center at 7:00 am, reminded him he’d have lifting restrictions after surgery until cleared by his surgeon.

IV port wiped with an alcohol pad and Zofran given, I stepped back.

One of those rare moments I don’t have a response for a patient. Choices…

“I don’t know.”

I won’t settle.”

Life is too short to chase people.”

I’m busy living large.”

It’s not in my hands.”

They’re all good answers.

But it’s not about me.

When your on the clock it’s not about you.

But still, he deserved a reply. To not answer would be rude.

“Brad’s in the middle of making a movie. It’s delaying the courtship.”

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The Alchemist

Not long ago, I visited my daughter and she asked if I’d read Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist.

It was so long ago that I could only reference the basic  story line about Santiago’s journey to reach his personal legend and comment that I remember the story having a big message to all of us about the journey we each take.

I gladly took her copy that she offered to me for reading.

I’m just more than halfway through and so happy to have the opportunity to read it again.  Below is the last passage I read yesterday evening before putting it down for the night:

The Englishman, after the boy returned the loaned books, asked the lad, ” Did you learn anything?”

” I learned the world has a soul and whoever understands that soul can also understand the language of things.”

The depth of this story is amazing. I’m not even done and I know I’ll read it again next year. It’s infused with messages about the treasures we have right in front of us, the treasures we have within, and the value of the journey, not just reaching the destination.

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Dear Daughter

writing letter

Dear Daughter,

At least thirty-eight random people (patients I’ve readied for surgery) know where you live. 

I can’t help it.

See, when I meet them, they change, and they’re lying there after I’ve put them on the monitors, started IV’s, etc., I make casual conversation. I want them to be a little distracted. I don’t quiz them on the discharge planning I’ve initiated. I mean, they’re going to go under general anesthesia in under an hour. I don’t need to add test anxiety to the list of their issues.

So, sometimes the “You born here?” “You a native?” “I hear an accent” results in me hearing them say,” I’m from New York” “Was born in Brooklyn” “From Long Island” and that’s when it happens…

I miss you.

And, as if to feel a little closer to you, I spit out your address.

“My daughter lives there.” (I like to tell them Manhattan. It’s cosmopolitan, which I think you are. ) “She’s at 31___   East _______ “

May can’t get here fast enough!

 

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The Mask

She came in for a port.

It’s a small round device, hard polyethelene rubber center, with a catheter centered at the bottom base. It’s placed under the skin close to a large vein, typically on the outer edge of the left or right chest.

The most common reason for getting a port is to begin chemotherapy.

She had wide set eyes, thick wavy  brunette hair that grazed her shoulders, and, what I thought unusual – pale blue eyes. Not your combination of traits. Blonds and redheads always get the blue eyes. Us brown haired girls, hazel, green, or brown eyes – freckles in them if your lucky.  The man next to her stood a foot taller than her. He wore his Polo un-tucked and on his feet the most broken in deck shoes I’d ever seen.

When I met the two, they had just  walked through the doors to our department. Together they stood hand in hand outside the curtained area while I confirmed her demographic sheet and spelling of her name.

Attentive to the explanation of my role and the limited space in the pre op rooms, the husband stepped over to the waiting area in our department for the short time it took me to get her ready.

She  hadn’t slept well and admitted to being anxious. Making sure all consents were signed, I got an order to give her some Versed to help relax her. I called her husband back over to sit with her then went and pulled the medicine from the Accudose system.

Within minutes after the medicine hit her vein, her eyelids began to flutter, her jaw slackened and she drifted in and out of sleep.

His face changed too.

The smile became a grim set expression and his forehead creased with worry. I don’t think he blinked while she slept. With his chair wedged close to her stretcher and his elbows on the rail, he watched her sleep. I watched him watch her sleep and wondered how he kept all his emotions from bursting from his body.

Their love was apparent. When he stroked her face, I turned the wall mounted computer so it wasn’t facing them and I could keep working. Their moment of intimacy needed to be respected.

The arrival of the surgeon and the OR team lifted some of the heaviness in the air.

And I’d swear that when she went off to surgery, he’d aged a year.

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A Love Story

“I went off on my first mission and when I returned, she was different. I flat out asked her what was up and she said she had found God.”

Backstory:

It was my turn to be on call for Saturday. We pre-op patients in Recovery (PACU) on the weekend. There is no sense in opening two departments for what we expect to be a three or four patient day.

He had a Veterans cap on. I nodded, tapped my finger to my forehead to acknowledge his service, and thanked him. He carried the conversation from there, sharing a summary of his two year spent living and fighting in Da Nang, South Vietnam.

When there was a lull in conversation, I asked him how long they’d been married.

His wife, moving little due to her hip fracture, lay with her hands folded together, a content smile on her face as if his presence removed the pain she was enduring.

My question prompted his response above. Below is more of what he shard:

“There was something different about her. I couldn’t put my finger on it; I just knew I had to have whatever it was she had. So, she explained it to me and the next Sunday morning, I put on my suit, held her hand real tight, and walked into her church. It was as scary as landing at Red Beach – I knew what I was facing there.”

I waited to hear more, but he, like most veteran I’ve met, got to the point fast.

“I worked hard and got God in my heart so I knew she and I would be together forever.”

____________________

Another one of those days I can’t believe I get paid to do this job.

 

7 Comments »

What -is -it?

art

I don’t always see it between my patients and their family. It bothers me, so I’ve thought about it and come up with this.

I think Love is art.

Sometimes I see a piece of work I don’t understand.

You can look at a piece, whether it be an oil painting, mixed media, a sculpture, and not see what anyone finds so appealing, but, if it pleases the eye of someone, makes that person smile, or inspires them, it is art. It is expression, and an expression that makes someone feel, can, in my opinion, be called nothing else but art.

Love is the same way.

Someone told me once that the opposite of love is apathy.

The love might need to be sculptured, have the rough edges smoothed out, but its still love.

I’ll take it any day over apathy.

And I’ve never seen apathy in my workplace.

Thank you Lord.

 

 

4 Comments »

Linda’s Prompts

socs-badge-2015

http://lindaghill.com/2015/08/28/the-friday-reminder-and-prompt-for-socs-august-2915/

                                                       Four Letter Word

Love

Open

Pain

Aged

Gain

Away

Wait

Okay

Love

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