House of Hypochondriacs; How I became a Nurse.

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    As we become older we tend to complain more about "aches and pains", though we may be in fact suffering from such ailments there also might be a little part of us that is seeking some extra attention. For example, I may complain a little more enthusiastically about my back hurting if my loving husband is around so that I can get a back rub! At my house the health complaints may be a little too frequent however. This can be unsettling for unfamiliar company and it proved to be so for my husband at the start of our relationship. What I thought was just a harmless habit suddenly took a serious turn. I was forced to re-evaluate what was "normal", what I learned in the process was life changing. I guess you can say, this is the story of how my first love (my husband), lead to my true love; Nursing!

    House of Hypochondriacs; How I became a Nurse.

    'Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.
    -Henry David Thoreau

    I come from a big family, we all lead busy lives but we make sure to celebrate holidays together. I mean who wants to miss out on delicious food, loud laughs, and of course countless health complaints. Each sign and symptom ups the ante "I'll see your back ache and raise you a migraine"! This may seem morbid but its mellifluously normal at our dinner table a fact my husband had difficulty understanding initially.

    After his first Thanksgiving with us he exclaimed "YOU live in a house of hypochondriacs, how can you STAND it?!" I didn't see what the big deal was (probably because I had no idea what a hypochondriac was at the time). Did my family "persistently believe in a nonexistent illness" as per Webster's definition of Hypochondria, or was this just a harmless holiday habit?

    I asked my mother for advice and was shocked to learn that my maternal grandfather was in fact a hypochondriac. He passed away when I was a baby rarely coming up in conversation. My mother suddenly opened up about her childhood recounting how my grandfather was frequently convinced of having a heart attack, he constantly complained of malaise, and even passed out falling face first at her 13th birthday party. During holidays she said, he monopolized conversations chronicling his ailments. The family sympathetically participated in the health talk which continued even after his passing.

    At the next holiday celebration I couldn't help but to assess my family. I wanted to confirm that we weren't facilitating a serious disorder. Listening close I realized that my relatives were simply trying to relate to one another about their actual diagnoses. I also realized that my husband was being HYPER-CRITICAL. When I confronted him with my findings he replied...

    "Geez, calm down Nurse Ratched, I was partly joking, SORRY!"

    "What did you say?!" I asked

    "Sorry?" he winced...

    "No. You called me Nurse..." I answered drifting into thought.

    As Oprah would say, I had an "Aha Moment"! After so much investigation I not only saw my family in a new profound light but also myself. I wanted to make a positive difference in the world, working in healthcare seemed like the next step for me. Just to be sure I decided to volunteer at my local hospital to get an inside look at how patient care is delivered.

    I personally didn't do much but help distribute trays and participate in small talk with patients but that was enough for me to see just how vital and versatile Nurses are. Now don't get me wrong, Dr.'s can be great, but their main interest is pathology, the Nurses is the person. After my volunteering experience I knew for sure that Nursing was my destiny. I got into Nursing school and worked my tuchus off to graduate and pass the NCLEX exam. Today I happily stand before you as a RN.

    Now during holidays my family refers to me for health advice. At first I was super technical, condemning their poor diets and total disregard for Dr.'s orders. My husband politely suggested I tone down my inner drill sergeant (which wasn't easy). This Thanksgiving I made sure to be less critical and more supportive. The truth is sometimes all a person needs, more than prescription drugs, is a strong dose of compassionate care and this nurse is happy to administer that!
    Last edit by Joe V on Dec 4, '13
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  3. by   BSBSN
    This was a great article, entertaining and helpful. You're a very good writer!
  4. by   Clinical_Queen
    Thank you!