As I sit here nursing a leftover hangover headache from last night's St. Paddy's celebration, I find my self thinking...
I have just closed my one year anniversary date at my job. During the year I have cried, screamed and thrown internal fits. I have learned, grown, and matured as a first year nurse. I have made mistakes, and I have improved. Though I have loved every minute of being on my secured unit, I am getting ready to face a new challenge as a Restorative Nurse within the same building.
I have over ten years combined in the healthcare field. Most of it in EMS. There is one thing that I have never take for granted. It is that I am invited into the very private worlds of the people around me. I am privy to information and thoughts that others are not, not even those people that think they are the closest to that person. It is very humbling to be this "secret keeper."
In this sense, I have heard everything from the everyday mundane to the most bizarre. I listen, I encourage, I validate. Not much will faze me, not what I have seen, not what I have heard. Some stories will be hashed out as war stories, some I forget about, and some I learn from.
One recent story just made me sad. Maybe it made me sad because the theme touched on just the very thing I have been pondering on all week. Youth and regrets.
I was sitting after a very busy shift trying the finish my paperwork and charting so that I could go home and start my weekend. I was vainly trying to get out in a timely manner, and it just wasn't happening. One of my little old confused people wandered into the Social Workers office where I was and sat down. This gentleman is fairly new to our unit and although we had a rocky start, he is settling down nicely with fewer behaviors everyday.
He is just confused enough to forget where he is and what is happening, but with it enough to talk. He likes to talk. He will talk about anything, history, politics, his ranching, the war. He reminds me of a Great Uncle that I had, mumbling and swearing every other word. Today, we talked a little about his wife. Oftentimes, after she has just left, he will be agitated and say she left him in this jail. I won't speculate on the relationship they had before his mind started to slip, but they appear to have a very tolerant relationship. He stops talking for a second as I close the chart I was working on, pausing in his discourse. Then he says it. The thing that made me sad.
"There are times when I wish I didn't marry her. I was told I wasn't the marrying kind."
For a second I could just look at him. It was probably clearest thought he has had all day. I didn't know what to say. Fortunately, by the time I could I even form a return thought, and due to the nature of dementia, he had already moved on.
It just made me...well, it made me think that as humans we are all fallible. We all have regrets and we have all made mistakes. It is what we do with them, that helps mold the person that we are. And maybe that is the root of my sadness. That no matter what you do and how you live your life, there will always be that one regret.
Mar 17, '13
I try to live with the ideology that, what is done is done. The past is over, no redoing or reliving, I can't go back and change anything so why bother with the what ifs. Thinking about it can make me really upset. Even happy thoughts, then i think about how they are over with or that level of happiness may never be reached again . I do think about how things could have been different, often better, how one step , one choice could have changed my life , but it only makes me feel worse. i dont like to dwell on it.
Mar 18, '13
I like to think that I don't have too many regrets in life. I am happy with where I am. The path that I took was convoluted, but it has shaped me into the person and the Nurse that I am today. I have spent quite a bit of time this week wishing I wasn't getting older, and that I was back in my twenties. I have no idea why, though, as those are new thoughts for me.
I think most of it falls on the new position I am transitioning into. I am nervous and excited to be doing something new, and it will further help shape who I am, even if I fail. I will miss the daily interaction with my residents, especially those that I know are deemed "difficult" by my coworkers and I know that my families that are involved in the unit have voiced not anger and not even displeasure at my leaving, but anxiety.
It surprises me and even pleases me a bit to learn that I made that much of a difference. My previous employer was never much on praise and encouragement, only discipline and threats if you didn't do something right. I know that in that job I had numerous accolades from patients and the clients that we served, however I only know that because I was once told it was the reason that I couldn't be fired.
It has just been a week of reflection of where I have been and where I want to go.
Mar 18, '13
Missing the patients was what has always taken me back to the bedside where I would always have that per diem position at the bedside I so love. Those random moments when you realize that you have touched someone....really touched their life and made a difference.
That is what I love about nursing.
Mar 18, '13
LTC has a way of making me as a nurse realize how very sort life is and that every decision we make affects everything we do. I used to be a stubborn and prideful person until I started in LTC and started working with dementia and Alzheimer's patients. They have made me appreciate everything that happens in life. The journey is so short. When we are young and looking down the road to the future it seems we will live forever, that we are invincible. When you watch a wife leave her husband of 60+yrs in your care because he keeps getting out of the house and she can't take care of him anymore because he is starting to be violent it opens your eyes to how short life really is. The heartache on her face is unreal. I am going to enjoy every single second of every single day. I am going to get angry sometimes and just as quickly forgive and forget what I was angry about. I am never going to wish my children were grown and self sufficient. I can't wish my life away. No time for regrets, just today, now.
Mar 18, '13
I recently reconnected with an old friend that had been through a lot of turmiol he did not initially wish to discuss. I did not push, but he found himself telling me more and more and noted that he was amazed how easy I was to talk to and how safe he felt talking to me. I told him that after so many years of securing confidential information, if just becomes second nature to just take the sensitive stuff and lock it away.
Mar 19, '13
Same LOCP asked me "If you could do it all over again, what would you change?" I love him. I told him I would go to college properly. Then I told him if I had done that, I wouldn't be here to take care of him today. All he did was look at me and say "Yep."
It is moments like this, and many, many more that ground me. And there are definitely days when I really need it.
To echo what you said Flare, it amazes me when people find me so approachable. It's not limited to residents, but families, coworkers, strangers.