Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

Biting My Tongue

My only thought was to get in and out of work as fast as possible.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning. Not a great day to be on call.

When I saw the age of the patient (17) and the reason for the D&C (dilation and curettage), my focus changed.  What a tough thing to go through, and she was so young. I miscarried my first pregnancy, but I was twenty-four and married. What I mean is that I was in a different place in life— that being basically, years out of high school and with a ring on my left hand which magically transformed social critique into initial rounds of congratulations followed by heartfelt sympathies.

I met the mother in the ER when I went to pick up the patient and I tell you, I don’t think the frown on her face was because she was disappointed at the lost chance to be called Grandma. She declined my offer to stay with her daughter in the pre-op area, mentioning she’d be either in the waiting room or going downstairs for coffee. I watched her wobble away on three inch heels and tugging at the cotton t- shirt that kept riding up her waist.

When Anesthesia came to talk, the mom could not be found. Thankfully she’d signed the consent in the ER. Otherwise, I was uncertain how long things would be delayed

Due to OB cases, the Gyn couldn’t come immediately.

My little girl, all 112 pounds of her lay bundled under three layers of blankets and made idle chit- chat with me until her phone rang. I could tell by her affections that she was talking to her boyfriend. I tried to focus on my charting, but what I was hearing was stressing me out.

“We can leave next week hon, stay at my friend’s in Georgia. The legal age for us is sixteen. With both of us working, we’ll be fine.”

Now I’m a sucker for good love story, but my head was about to bust open. And it went on.

“People’ll give us stuff, cus you know, us being together…anyway, yeah, uh huh…I hate her. We don’t need her or much of anyone else for that matter. The stuff they gave me, yeah, it helped the cramps. That girl, she’s not still calling you is she? Uh huh, o.k. I love you.”   


Stifling the mom instinct is hard, real hard.


Chen Song Ping

Cancer, Mental Health, Women, Nurse


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