Tonight, I watched one of the first medical/documentary type shows since Sam was born. I used to love them, even the over the top shows like Grey’s Anatomy or House. I was a trauma junkie, soaking up every detail, running my internal medical fact checker so I could say yay or nay to what was going on. I watched so closely, spying the techniques, the plausibility of it all, right down the the gauge of IVs. One thing that I will absolutely not forgive Grey’s Anatomy for is the fact they never ONCE used their stethoscopes properly. I’m not talking about a nurse vs. doctor (that debate was ridiculous) but the fact that they always put the earpieces in their ears backwards. There’s no way they could hear anything with it facing backwards. Drives me NUTS!
That aside, I could identify with the feelings of anticipation, exhilaration, the need to fix, to help. And I was always so proud that I was part of the amazing community that could save lives. I actually knew this magic! I had the insight to keeping people alive and safe. That feeling was so fierce in me. Even though some nights I dreaded going to work, I would get to the hallway where only staff could access and I would just beam inside. I’m sure I had a bit of swagger, but I was just so thrilled to be part of the elite club that was truly meant to be there, to put in another 8 or 12 hours of compassion and benevolence. I loved it. Every back breaking, patience testing, chaotic minute. I’m proud to say those feelings stayed with me from the moment I started as an nursing attendant, all through nursing school until the day I left work.
What is more overwhelming now is the closeness of it all. The recollection of the trauma bays where I could only stand by, the codes I couldn’t help with . The ones that involved my most treasured heart, my baby boy.
I was told in November that despite my unit manager advocating for me that my permanent line at the hospital was now terminated. I scrambled as my biggest concern was health benefits, especially since Sam was born into the policy and now I wouldn’t be able to have him approved anywhere else due to pre-existing conditions. I fought with the idea of going back casually, taking a shift or two on the weekends or nights. The reality was that I couldn’t commit to anything. My life can change in an instant and I need to be there for my children no matter what, and not feeling guilty for leaving my co-workers high and dry. I couldn’t be an employee while I work so hard to keep my kids healthy and happy. Don’t get me wrong, I wanted to so badly. To do both work and parenting, like a typical mom but most moms don’t have 3-4 appointments during the week, can use normal daycare or babysitters. They don’t have children that get life-threateningly ill in only a few hours.
So I give in. I let my job go and focus on my family. This is the chapter in my life where I stay home, learn to cook finally, and keep those kids smiling. So much easier said than done.
Will I go back to nursing? I don’t know. I can’t even imagine laying a stethoscope on a child’s chest without having an anxiety attack. The thoughts that race through my mind on a daily basis are too fierce and terrifying that I can’t focus on one particular task. I would never have the patient at the forefront of my mind. I would always be second guessing. I can’t be “present” or “mindful” of what I need to do.
I guess the bottom line is I wouldn’t want anyone else depending on my care.
Except my kids.
geez. that’s messed up.