Sunday, May 09, 2010

Shout out to my Nightingale...

Last Friday was Nurse's Day.

"Nurse's week" started sometime either last Wednesday or last Monday.
If you google this holiday, you will see some discrepancies and inconsistencies about the dates... I digress...

For most of my life as a nurse, i really viewed this as a hallmark holiday:
Thanks for the shout-out, Hallmark, no matter how much money you make on cards this year, you can't possibly know about being a nurse and therefore, not really honor it.
When I was a teen? pre-tween? I'm not sure when this show was on... I was addicted to China Beach. Looking back, I had a serious crush on Lt. Colleen McMurphy:
Yum: Mee:

There I go digressing again... Anyway... Sometimes I credited this show to making me want to be a nurse, I didn't want to go to war, but i could really relate to this character- Irish, catholic, who wanted to DO something that mattered, but then in the middle of it was like, "What the hell am I doing?!?"

I think i was surprised when I worked in the ICU (years later) how much it could feel like you were living through a war even though you were in a civilian hospital during "peace" time. The woman and men that I nursed with in the ICU were amazing: smart, sassy, with the quickest wit and the crass-est, sickest senses of humor you can imagine. You've got to have a strong stomach and a lot of patience for shit (of the literal and bull variety.) And they did. And they laughed and cried and picked people and pools of blood up off the floor. And we ordered Chinese take out in the middle of cardiac codes, and helped families accept the death of their loved ones, and talked and taught and fought the doctors to get them to HEAR what the patients were saying.

I wear that experience like a badge of honor on my soul. But even so, it never made me view nurses day outside of the scope of cynicism. (see made up sassy bark to Hallmark corp above...)

Then this year... when I'm so far removed from clinical care of patients that I've started to call myself a "fake" nurse, Katy wins a Nightingale Award. This is a statewide recognition of nursing excellence. And sitting next to her at the ceremony, something changes a little in me. A little of the cynicism melts away. It is more than being proud of her and thrilled that she was recognized for all the amazing work she does and has done. (Though I am and I was). It had a lot to do with what happened last October and Last January, and Last September...

A nurse was there kind of saving and protecting us when ML gushed into the world.
A nurse was there in my most terrified moments, when I wouldn't even let myself think my worst fear about his illness and fevers and seizures three weeks later.
A nurse was up all night with us when his fever wouldn't come down.
A nurse was there to help get him help when he was having seizures.
Nurses were there, talking to and teaching and sometimes fighting the doctors on our behalf.
A nurse was there during all the LPs, during the MRI, during the EEG.
... During the nights, the early mornings, and the long afternoons.
A nurse was there to help us get some rest and to help us ask the right questions.
To help us calm down a little at certain points and and to get us riled up a little at others.
Then a few months later for JB's surgery... more nurses.
Many of them nameless to me now.
Keeping us sane...

It's different when it's your kid, I guess- those cliches about angels seem somehow less "cliche-y"
There's not a greeting card out there that can convey what those nurses did for us, but now there IS a part of me that has the inclination to buy a few and TRY to convey it...

But then, here we are on Mother's day. And as I write this, my pretty Nightingale Award winner is sleeping upstairs in our bed. She's an amazing mother. Tonight, she got JB to turn off a "Terrible 2" tantrum by suggesting that he could take his "bad attitude" and decide (IF HE WANTED TO) to put that bad attitude in his hand and throw it away and choose to be in a better mood. (I swear this is true.) And what do you think that little fucker sonofa'gun did??? He decided to throw his bad mood away. He pantomimed putting something into his palm and chucking it in the garbage and then (WAIT FOR IT) he was suddenly in a pleasant mood.


Thank God I'm on this journey with such an insanely talented and smart woman. I just love her and hope she knows how much! Cause I didn't get to sign the card I bought for her today...

Happy nurses week and mother's day, baby.

As part of my gift to you, I am going to (be extremely quiet as I come) crawl into bed next to you to sleep this day off!
All my love, Me


1 comment:

amber said...

well said, my friend. well said. we totally have ordered out during codes. most people would find that disgusting. we were just hungry!

congrats on the Nightengale, and happy nurses day mommies!