It really bothers me when I get this way. I feel like I was made to be a nurse and comfort the sick, like that it is really my God given purpose in life. I feel like if I'm not doing it well- if I don't feel like working hard and I don't feel sincere when I'm being nice to people, that when I'm just pissy that I'm a total failure at the one thing in life that I genuinely care about and think I'm good at. I've felt pretty lost over the last couple of days. Last night was my last of 4 and I pretty much begged to be in fast track to I could just hide and get a break.
So I'm trucking along back there when I go in to start an IV on this lady. First thing she tells me is that she is HIV positive. With full blown AIDs, in fact. I respect this a lot, since lots of people I see don't tell anyone and I find out later when looking through old medical records on the computer. She's hurting, but still bubbly and talkative. She' sweet anyway, but I get on her good side even more by starting her IV on the first stick despite her bad veins and needle anxiety.
Her labs are not pretty. Her body is aching, and she says she's had fevers coming and going. It's obvious her illness is progressing pretty rapidly, but you wouldn't know it by how cheerfully she interacts with her son, who's sitting next to her reading quietly. She's admitted to the hospital for severe anemia, and I find out a little more about her as I take care of her. The events of her life so far have been horrendous to say the least.
After her son goes home, she reveals to me that doctors have given her less than a year to live. Even as she tells me this, she's smiling. "I have so much to be thankful for", she says. "My son is such a good boy. I have a really good man now. I used to be scared but God has granted me peace. It's like I'm his little baby and he's holding me. I know it's gonna be okay." She tells me how kind I've been and how thankful she is for my care. How much she admires everyone that has helped her today. As I talked to her, I started to cry. Not for any reason in particular- it's just that talking to her has instilled somewhat of a calm in me. I felt as if someone had reached into my chest and pulled the weight of all that angst out of me.
It was hard for me to adequately express it to her, but she really saved me. I feel a renewed sense of purpose in what I do.
Just in time for me, too, since after that it was all drunk people in with fireworks accidents. Thanks to my sweet patient, they all had warm blankets and someone to listen attentively to their tales of woe.