Taking What They're Giving 'Cos I'm Working For A Living...
Yes indeed, I'm working for a living. Unfortunately, it is not on a cruise ship. Oh, I would love to try that line of work but I get motion sickness just bending over to tie my shoes. I have actually been on two cruises as a passenger and each time I lost at least one full day to sleeping in a meclizine-induced coma on what the family called the "Pooped Deck". A ship full of food and I get nausea. Go figure. Then again, I never did see any white-uniformed nurses running around on deck with their medicine trays. Does anyone still use medicine trays anymore? Anyone remember pouring their meds for the entire shift in the morning, stacking them in tiny paper medicine cups with the medicine cards lined up in the order they were to be given? God, I hope someone remembers that, otherwise that makes me a nurse of a "certain age". Someday I'll put my teeth in, turn up my hearing aid and tell you young whipper-snappers about them old days 'afore there was unit dosing.
I love the fact that ER nursing is unpredictable. I hate the fact that ER nursing is unpredictable. I work a "dead-end' shift (3pm - 3am), which means that I am not relieved by another nurse. If the unit is busy it is very difficult to disengage and leave. That's what happened last weekend and I wound up doing a double shift. Good lord, you would have thought I had been through a tackle exercise with the Oakland Raiders. Then I went in to help for four hours the next night and one of the night nurses got sick! I stayed the whole shift. It was like getting up off the mat at the count of eight and getting punched in the face again. By Mohammed Ali. In his prime.
When did I become such a wimp? I used to be able to do double shifts and then double back for another double (for the uninitiated, that is working 32 out of 40 hours) and have energy for two kids under six when I was done! I was WOMAN, did you hear me roar? Now I look in the mirror after twelve hours and the hair is flat, the make-up is gone, the lumbar-sacral area is screaming and the feeling will return to the right hand as soon as the cramp from writing on 50 charts has subsided.
But I love my job. This is what I was put here to do. They say nursing is a calling. It began whispering almost 40 years ago and I still hear it clearly today. There's nothing better. Every now and then I have to take a step back and remember that.