Monday, March 13, 2006

Bartender, Make Mine A Double

I wish I had Photoshop.

The line for this ad should be, "Are YOU A Registered Nurse?"

This is me after two twelve-hour shifts in a row and five within 6 days.

Actually, this was me after Grand Rounds...

Except I'm in sweats and, hopefully, not drooling.

I am, however, according to some family members, snoring.

The last movie I "dragged" myself through was "Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy." Managed to "drag" myself to that one three times. In one day.

My family has given up a lot more than one evening a week.

Because I live a Nurse Day Life.


"Hey Bartender, I'll take a double."

"Pretty strong stuff you're askin' for, little lady."

"Sure is. Been handling it for twenty eight years. Sometimes on the rocks, sometimes straight up, but I wake up to it every day."


You see, the nursing life doesn't come without sacrifices.

I've been the first on the scene of a code and saved a life with the push of a button.
  • I've missed the chance for memories of many holiday dinners with family members who are no longer here, because I had to work.
I've had a patient tell me that I'm the first person who has actually listened to them.
  • I returned to my job five weeks after my son was born by C-section, because I had used up all my "sick time" leading up to his birth because I was sick for two months prior to his arrival.
I've been thanked by the homeless for a warm blanket and a meal.
  • I slept through my daughter's Confirmation because I had been up for 36 hours, working twelve-hour nights and unable to sleep the day before.
I've hugged the parents of a young woman who died unexpectedly after spending 8 hours working to save her.
  • My daughter told me years later that the smell of one particular cologne made her sad to this day because it used to mean I was going to work.
I've helped first time parents gain confidence in working through their child's first illness.
  • My husband and I have worked opposite hours for 26 years so that someone would be home with and available for the kids.
I've had the opportunity to listen to the stories of the elderly who weren't oriented to place but could describe their participation in World War II in vivid, fascinating detail.
  • I've missed family vacations because I could not get the time off.
I've held the hand of an intubated, post-arrest patient and had them squeeze when I asked if they could hear me.
  • I've missed seeing my daughter's basketball games and cross-country runs because they were scheduled on my weekend to work.
I was meant to be a nurse.
  • I give so much energy to it that twice I've suffered from depressive burn-out without my patients ever knowing.

There have been times when I have been exhilarated with nursing and times when I would give anything to be doing something else.

But somehow, when God handed out the gifts, mine was the ability to care for the sick.

Not the ability to play guitar in a rock band or sing like Ann Wilson, or play the violin in a world-class orchestra.

Didn't even get a voice good enough to be slammed by Simon Cowell.

I think He was trying to tell me something.

Given the sacrifices, frustrations and impact that nursing has made on my life, would I choose to do it all again?



At 3/13/2006 03:16:00 PM, Blogger Rita Schwab - MSSPNexus said...

Bless you Nurse Kim. We need more like you.

But don't forget that you count too, so take care of yourself.

At 3/13/2006 04:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

In addition to your gift for nursing, you are a gifted writer. Great job with Grand Rounds.

At 3/13/2006 04:41:00 PM, Blogger Dr. Deborah Serani said...

You are such an inspiration

At 3/13/2006 06:19:00 PM, Anonymous dribear said...

You just helped me re-realize why I became a doctor. Thank you.

At 3/13/2006 06:45:00 PM, Blogger pammiecakes said...

Kim, just wanted to say thanks for this. Reading it touched my heart.

At 3/13/2006 07:54:00 PM, Anonymous Moof said...

Kim, that was absolutely beautiful. Thank you for sharing it.

At 3/13/2006 08:12:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Exactly. What she said. Thanks Kim.

At 3/14/2006 06:22:00 AM, Blogger Third Degree Nurse said...

Somehow, I have a feeling that your family doesn't resent the sacrifices they've made or you've made. We are all connected; may the gifts you give to others come back to bless you and your family 10-fold.

At 3/14/2006 01:28:00 PM, Blogger Abel PharmBoy said...

Fabulous inspiration, Kim. I'm positive that when you daughter thinks of where she learned compassion and how to love, she'll always think of you!

At 3/15/2006 05:29:00 AM, Anonymous pixelrn said...

Kim, you rock. Esp. the part about your daughter and the cologne. That one sentence says so much. Am going to bookmark this and read it next time I am feeling positively burned-out.

At 3/17/2006 01:48:00 PM, Blogger Miranda said...

Smiles...this is my first visit to your blog, its very nice, thanks for sharing.

At 3/19/2006 10:17:00 PM, Blogger unsinkablemb said...

Kim - Fantastic post! You really are GIFTED. So what if you're not a rock star or Isac Perlman (sp?)! You're a wonderful nurse AND a terrific writer.

About your daughter... As the daughter of a busy healthcare professional (my mom's a doc), I never felt that she loved me any less even though much of her time was spent working. I'm sure your daughter feels the same way about you. It's the love that counts. :)

At 5/18/2008 02:45:00 AM, Anonymous homebase diy online said...

Nurses are the backbone of medicine it does not matter if they are famous are rich they give a service second to none, it should be the nurses that get honours not pop stars and footballers.

At 5/22/2008 04:54:00 AM, Anonymous m&s insurance said...

It is very important to support our nurses, they are overworked and underpayed, hospitals could not function without them and although doctors get the glory it is the care from the nurses that help so many get better.

At 6/24/2008 03:43:00 AM, Blogger ettesa said...

It does not matter if you are famous or your face is on the front of a magazine or on argos lcd tv in the news, you bring so much to so many, you make life tolerable for those who think that it holds no more joy, this is a gift you share with the world BRAVO.

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