Some days being a nurse is hitting the bottom of the pass with a fully loaded truck, in the wrong gear, with no head of steam. Some days you have lost track of what day you are in on your stretch of 12 hr shifts before you even clock in. You wake up tired and sore, beat up physically, and empty emotionally. You’re a big boy murse though, so you get your ass out of bed, drag it into the shower and steel yourself for the day. Some days you hit the floor and see your assignment and know that all your fears when you pulled your carcass out of bed were true. Then you clock in, try to draw strength from your crisp clean scrubs, gulp down some hot highly caffeinated beverage and get to it. Before you can say, “Bob's your uncle”, you’re working up hill; everything is going too slowly. One pt has soiled his bed, one pt is asking already when the docs come by, and in one room a whole family gathers around a frail whisp of flickering light, that was once a beautiful lover, a strong never flinching mother, and a forgiving graceful grandma. The day goes from there and takes a dive. Soon your neck deep in comforting a family and asking what funeral home they would like to pick up. Discharging a lady who has to be home by 1100 because she has family coming into town today, oh, and that pt has soiled his bed again. You try to keep up with meds, trays, charting, oh, and a transfer in post procedure. Oh, and that pt has soiled his bed again. Report, assess, meds, trays, and that pt has soiled his bed again. Can you take an admit? Ya, sure, why not. Oh, and that pt has soiled his bed again. Snap at a co-worker and instantly hate yourself for it. Oh ya, corporate monkeys have questions about how you handled a situation this past weekend, and you guessed it, that pt has soiled his bed again..... Then out of nowhere you smell perfume and look up to a well put together older lady standing in front of you. She smiles and laughs and hugs you. You see her standing there well, healthy, pretty, and you also see her in your memory sick, broken, and pale. She tells you she stopped by to thank you for helping save her life. She talks about how the whole family still talks about that nurse, Luke, who worked so hard to save her. She laughs again, her eyes sparkle, and the stress, frustration, and defeat of the day vanishes for a second. You take a giant breath, make a little small talk, hug again, and she vanishes away. Oh, that pt has soiled his bed again, but now your head of steam is back up and you see the crest of the hill and you know you’re gonna make it.
Luke, ICU RN