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.