A letter to K. - page 3
Recently I took care of a new mom postpartum after her second baby who took methadone for heroin addiction. She and her family taught me so much. I wrote her this letter; I'll never send it to her,... Read More
Jan 5, '08Thank You for softening my hardness. I've been duped and conned by so many druggies (including a sister) that I've become calloused and hard to druggies and drug seekers. I will go to work today with a renewed compassion for them.
Jan 7, '08Hi! Arwen, I’ve got the Point.
I my self have been working on the last 13 years with low social- status’ pts. I’m also working at the NICU of the main Maternal Hospital of my city (Buenos Aires), actually. On the last 2 weeks, caring for an HIV premature with an HIV mom.
Where others see prejudices I can only see a human being in a tremendous state of pain.
As you deed… I’m quite sure that there was no need to give her that letter.
There is a non-verbal understanding, an emotional understanding that appears to be smarter than any word. My mom was aggressive with other nurses except me.
She went to a surgery last week and asked me -“take care of my babe”.
We sheared 24 hours together on last weekend. I saw a happy and thankful mom.
… I deed so little… but it was enough.
Jan 8, '08Arwen,
this is a beautiful letter, and I'm sure K would have appreciated you learning from her to look at the true human beyond all the stereotypical concepts. I'm in my last year of nursing school and still trying to get over not stereotyping others by their looks or history, your letter shows me that it'll be a lifelong process to truly get over this challenge!
Thanks for sharing this story, it'll help me in my challenges ahead!
Feb 26, '08There but for the grace of God go any of us. That is the important thing to remember and the barrier to break. You did that...Beautiful. She was lucky to have you for her nurse. Thank you for this beautiful letter. That compassion is what can make or break a nurse. You can be a great nurse without the huge booksmarts or following all the rules to a T. Sometimes you have to really confront yourself before you can care for others. Great job!
Feb 26, '08Arwen, your letter is beautiful...ahhh...how we are all the products of our circumstances.
Mar 14, '08Wow! That was a beautiful letter. Let me tell you about my own experience. I have been an LPN for over 28 years and have seen so much of the bad side of people. Not only that, I have been a foster mom to many and even now have guardianship of 2 former foster daughters. There are days that I am so frustrated with these girls' mom for not pulling her head out of her **** because of the damage she is doing to her girls. And I become callused and hardened.
I am very conservative by the world's standards and I won't apologize for that. But..... part of being Christ-like, which I have always tried to be, is seeing the "human side" of everyone. And I will admit, that hasn't always been easy.
But I had my own "awakening" just a few weeks ago. I am a student again getting my RN. (I graduate the day I turn 50.) I went to the hospital to choose patients and get info for my client data sheet. I chose this woman who had a new colostomy because she had a 3rd degree tear from delivering her last baby 8 months ago. Her doctor repaired her rectum a week prior and did a horrible job. The site was full of pus and necrotic. So a different doctor took over her care and ended up putting in the colostomy.
While reading her history I felt the usual, "oh great, another welfare case with 4 kids, and a druggy." Her history included a herion addiction 10 years ago and an addiction to another drug when she found out she was pregnant. I was prepared to do the physical side of nursing, but not the nurturing side of nursing. I figured I would do what I had to and stay out of the room.
I have seen enough of these parents that are so incredibly selfish and think of nothing but their own need to satisfy themselves all too often at the expense of their kids. I felt that way............until I met her.
When I looked more into her history as I took care of her and got to visit with her, my heart softened and I began to ache inside for her. I even ended up doing my comprehensive care plan on her. This poor gal was alone. She stayed at home to care for her children and her wheelchair bound mother. Her oldest, a 15 year old boy, was in jail almost killing a kid when he beat him up for calling him a "******."
Her poor excuse for a doctor has since left town and it's a good thing. I hope she sues her for all she's worth. She screwed up and let her deliver this huge baby, and then she let her do her repair work. She totally messed this up so bad, that 2 other doctors told her they were taking over the care of the lady. She has been through hell and back!
As I visited with her and she explained her life story, so to speak, one of the questions I had to ask her as part of the care plan was "Tell me what your self-perception is." She looked away and barely whispered "Not good." I started to cry. This gal was entitled to feel valued just by virtue of being human, to feel good about herself. She had made some very poor choices in her life and because of these choices, she had come to believe she had no value. I wanted so much to tell her more than I felt I could at the time. I did tell her that she was important to her mother and her children. ( I also took a huge risk and told her I hope she filed a lawsuit and struck it rich for what the jerk doctor did to her.)
I took care of her for 2 days and ended up giving her a book by Eckardt Tolle I hoped would help her understand how valuable she was. I gave her a big hug when I left that last shift and thanked her for helping this old, crusty conservative woman to not just say she valued every human life, but to actually live that way. She taught me a life lesson I will NEVER forget. I am so much a better person and nurse for having spent those two days caring for her.
Mar 16, '08That was beautiful. If you feel inclined consider sending it to her. I know that as a patient that would be something I would cherish for a VERY long time.