Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Frustration and Gratitude

Some days I come off of a nursing shift feeling like a total moron. I guess that is what happens when you try a new specialty. Hopefully my coworkers and managers will not judge me to be an idiot and will understand that I am teachable. I just need to learn how to do things that I have not done before and as a result, sometimes look stupid to others. So, some shifts are a challenge. However, I must say that the patients make everything worthwhile. The names fade, but the characters drift in and out of my memory:
The risque joke making, 60 something year old gentleman who joked that he wanted me to bring him a rum and coke with his percocet. He was in for terrible COPD and was a major smart ass with an obvious glimmer of intelligence, who turned out to be a former police chief of a nearby major city…
The occasionally confused woman with a broken hip who told me about her childhood during World War II. She had been visiting her relatives in Germany when the war broke out and and was stuck in Germany for the duration. She painted an incredibly colorful picture of the bombings and destruction that she witnessed. When she finally got home to the US, she had not seen her Dad in several years. She described their reunion with tears in her eyes…
The 75 year old woman with congestive heart failure who talked about her 40 years as an ER nurse. She said she wore a huge white cap and was required to stand when a physician entered the room. I was secretly thrilled when I overheard her tell a friend that she had a “brilliant nurse”.  She told me she raised 4 children, 3 of whom turned out to be nurses as well.
The elderly gentleman in for dehydration related to nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy. He talked about being a prisoner of war in Italy in World War II. Then he came home to Florida and started a successful dairy farm in what is now an urban area. I asked him how he felt about selling his land, and with a twinkle in his eye, he told me that it was worth it when he was able to buy his wife her first diamond ring after 35 years of marriage…
I may have to look stupid and ask some dumb questions sometimes, but really...it is quite a job.

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