Tribute

A little bit late for Mother Nurses Week but oh well!

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Mother’s Day often coincides with Nurse’s Week. At least, not for me. For many mothers, exhibiting the caring aspects of nursing comes naturally. What makes a good nurse, however, is grit, organization and a desire to always be bettering yourself. The signs were all there for me, even in childhood. So many memories to choose- playing with the empty syringes you would bring home for me; listening to my heart with your stethoscope; dissecting the organs of the chicken that was roasting in the oven for our dinner.

So many times I thought you were pushing me to be something else. I accused you of putting too much pressure on me to perform- projection, all of it. In retrospect, I know you saw so many possibilities for me that you never had and you only hoped I would find something I felt as passionately about as you did nursing. I get it now. How hard it must have been to watch me blunder along, not wanting to force me to follow in your footsteps. Despite all your best efforts to guide me along other paths I might take, I doggedly wove my steps in and out of your own, eventually ending at the same destination.

What I appreciate the most is how my love for you is now inextricably linked with my love of nursing. You brought me to this place and I feel so much of your presence with me every day. Each time I make a good catch that prevents patient harm, every time I question or explain or make a mistake. You walked this walk, you fought this fight, and you (perhaps unknowingly, perhaps not) guided me to one of the most meaningful life choices I’ve made thus far. I only hope I become half as tenacious and brilliant as you are.

 

Happy Nurse Mother Week, Mom. I love you.

Happy Nurse’s Week

I’ve always felt a little weird about nurses getting an entire week of recognition. In many ways, nurses are overworked, and often unappreciated, but so are a lot of professionals in this country. I mean, I feel the same way about the hospital housekeeping staff and they don’t get a week of appreciation.

But there is a lot of pride in the nursing profession, and also a lot of humor. I love every minute of my job for a lot of emotional reasons, and some logical. I have found that nursing is best expressed in the multitude of hilarious memes that pepper the interwebs. So, in honor of nurses week, I’m foregoing all the feels and opting for the giggles. Here’s to all my nursing peeps, and those who know and love nursing peeps.

Sometimes our family is so happy to see us when we get home…

All we can think about is the variety of patient’s bodily fluids with which we are covered….

isolation

And pooped all over their central line...at change of shift...
And pooped all over their central line…at change of shift…

Autoclave

Healthcare brings out some interesting personalities- from parents and family members to surgeons and residents, you can count on having some choice encounters.

Perverted ptWTFFamily DramaExpert

Of course the patients themselves can make or break your shift

Call bell
image

Documentation, coming to work during a blizzard, malfunctioning machines- it’s what we signed up for…

snow dayExtra shiftPump beepingDocumenting

And without a doubt, our family and friends can have a tough time shocking or impressing us…

image (2)

Gross story
Everyone has their thing…mine is broken bones and fingernails.

Happy Mother's Day!

In the end, we all know that the little things make this job worth it…

penNurse coworkersNext-Shift-Coming-InNurses Week

Happy Nurses Week!!!

Check out the following for some more belly laughs:

http://scrubsmag.com/the-nurse-life/

http://www.nurseeyeroll.com/2013/12/19/a-day-in-the-life-of-nurse-eye-roll/

 

 

S*** just got real

Parental Advisory

 

 

Consider yourself warned.

 

Cancer has a way of putting life in perspective. Up until this point I have felt content to write about my experiences with as much honesty and humor as I can muster. Please don’t misunderstand- there is a lot to be said for a hearty dose of laughter in the face of something as devastating as cancer. But last week I reached a new level of hatred and loathing for the disease that has claimed the lives of so many- young and old. More importantly, I am so pissed and sad that we haven’t found a cure for not only cancer but many other diseases.

 

People who don’t work in the Oncology field often comment how hard of a job it must be, usually followed by how “I could never do something like that.” In nursing, it truly takes all types and that is why I love it. There are nurses who wouldn’t dare touch pediatric oncology. On the other hand, you couldn’t pay me enough money to work in an ER, ICU or psychiatric floor. I have plenty of friends from nursing school who work in those fields to make up for my absence and believe me, the world is better off because of it. 

 

Working in the field of pediatric oncology you see a lot of optimism. That is just the nature of the field. Kids are easily distracted and focused on living. Life in the hospital becomes their new “normal.” Admittedly, it’s sad, but it is also what makes them so resilient. As a nurse you want to make the whole process not so scary and unfamiliar. That is easier to do with a 5 year old than a 25 year old, which is why the real challenge lies with the parents. To watch their child endure the endless treatments that destroy their kidneys, liver, gut and even their skin- it’s heartbreaking. I’ve watched this process for almost 4 years now, so what brought on my new rage against cancer?

 

Cancer has dealt a blow close to home. Even when you work beside these families to help them recover, you don’t really understand until it involves your own family. What I’ve been dwelling on these past few days is the fact that I really have it easy. I go to work, do my best to keep my patients safe, pain free, nausea free and hopeful. Then-and here is the most important part- I go home. I drink a glass of wine, take a shower, watch Scrubs and try to process my day. I get a break, a chance to step outside of the scenario and see it with fresh eyes the following day. My patients and families don’t have that luxury. What I experience 36-40 hours a week they are living 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, no lunch breaks.

 

I was spared a lot of heartache and worry when my mother underwent her own battle with cancer. I was only 11 at the time, so naturally she wanted to protect me from the brutal honesty of it. What my aunt endures with a seemingly effortless amount of optimism and grace is something that her daughters are now old enough to fully witness. There is no curtain, no veil to protect them from the reality that cancer is a bitch. It sucks on so many levels. The fact that the very treatments you receive to rid your body of cancer can actually give you more cancer. The fact that once you get cancer once, the fear of relapse or recurrence never really leaves you. These are things that I never had to witness as an adult. These are the things that, until now, I tried to forget on my days off.  I fucking hate cancer and it can go to hell.

 

Fuck Cancer

 

I wish I could say that this thought makes me more sympathetic and a better nurse. I truly hope that, on some level, it does. The reality is that I still get irritated with the demanding or rude parents. They lose sight of the fact that their child is not my only patient. I lose sight of the fact that they have only one to worry about- and no reprieve from that worry. When you are in the trenches, there is a tunnel vision that doesn’t bring out your best self. You get pulled in so many directions, interrupted by the minute and the stress of making sure you chart EVERYTHING you do is enough to drive me up the wall. Parents, in a similar but different scenario, just want any and all information you can give them, and they don’t want to see their children suffer for even a few seconds. Both sides have their own perspective, but I wish I could say that my perspective is easier to change.

 

But this post is not supposed to be about me. This post is about the gritty reality of cancer and our country’s focus on “awareness” that so rarely leads to the life saving research we need. My mother shared the following article that beautifully illustrates how we have become so focused on awareness we lose sight of what cancer really looks like- in all its disgusting and brutal glory. There is triumph, strength and beauty in these real stories. There is also heartache, despair and loss. While we don’t want to expose patients and families unnecessarily to the public, I feel like we are hesitant to show this side of cancer because we don’t want to scare people. Well guess what? Cancer is scary. It’s fucking terrifying. People who have never had cancer, myself included, cannot possibly understand what it is like. Until we are faced with the possibility that we have cancer or the likelihood that we will get cancer, we won’t understand. I know that I’m not going to change the entire funding of cancer research with a blog post, but we do have the power to do our homework. Find the organizations that work hard to raise money for research. There is plenty of awareness in the world-what we need is funding for cures. This extends far beyond cancer. There are multitudes of diseases that need better treatments and better outcomes- HIV and Cystic Fibrosis, for example. Most of all- remember those who are living this daily. Listen to their stories, walk a mile in their shoes. You will have more awareness than you could possibly imagine.