Thursday, November 02, 2006

tossed into the deep end

Thursday, November 02, 2006
totally. that's what they do. in a defined sort of way. well, its how it feels to a rookie nurse. surrounded. by all the hostilities of disease. apathy. despair. urgency. i remember feel utter paralysis at bringing myself to do even the smallest, most inconsequential task. like changing a post op day 3 hip surgery dressing. i felt so anxious. so ... inadequate. not about my skill. just ... about my worthiness of assuming such a role. could i really pull this off? i secretly asked myself.

i remember feeling so scared. like treading in a dark and haunting unknown cave. and i could feel the loss. the despair. the rage. the sorrow. the apathy. the impatience. in my patients. in my colleagues. in visitors. in myself. though, i could not focus enough strength to reach out and touch these raw emotions in myself. or in my colleagues. i succeeded with my patients. and their families. at great cost, i think. it seemed so attractive and easy to develop and intimate psychic connection with patients. particularly the very ill. it drained me ... it infused me. i awed at the hand of death and its wake. looking back, i believe those times i saw the hand of g-d. felt his breath. that's what i think. still ... i felt so frighteningly humbled.

i eventually got paired up with a great veteran nurse. no-nonsense. a gifted teacher. a kick ass nurse. and a nice person. we clicked. she seemed to get me. gave me enough space to explore and assimilate my new role. but not so much i felt paralyzed by anxiety. my learning curve rose. it felt exhilarating. i felt so connected to the human collective. in a most primordial way. as i gained more and more independence the reality of workload, and its impact on nurses, cast its shadow upon my face. slowly. oh so slowly. i did not see it at first, focussing so much attention on the minutia and paraphenalia involved in executing the role of 'unit nurse.'

but just a week before christmas, we worked our way thru 3 code blues.
my patient died. a first for me. but ... not a last, for sure.