My Inside Does Not Match My Outside

Life is good, fun to be had, but one problem prevails... if I get up to dance, will my knees cooperate or fold? Nurses Announcements Archive Article

My eight hour shift at the nursing home has ended, so off I walk to my pickup truck for the monotonous ride home. Driving into my yard it takes every bit of energy to carry myself into the house. Hobbling along I manage to clear the doorstep and flop into my recliner with a big sigh of relief. As I remove my white lace- up orthopedic nursing shoes and take off my socks, much to my dismay I find "cankles" prevail. (Cankles are when your ankles/calves are joined as one.)

My socks lay on a pile next to my shoes, but looking at my legs they appear to still be on because of the telltale ridges and indentations that are still present. Too tired to be dismayed by this all too common sight, I hobble up to the bedroom for my nightly ritual of freshening up, donning p.j.'s and collapsing into bed.

Upon awakening the following morning my "cankles, and sock legs" have diminished but my toes remain square, chunky and sore to touch causing me to walk down the stairs for my morning coffee with a gait resembling a penguin. After a hot cup of steaming "cowboy strong coffee," my mind clears with thoughts of "This is not fair!" "My mind is sharp," I review the events of the past shift covering a 911 where an emergency was well handled with my knowledge and expertise that comes with 30 years of "humpin the halls." Granted, no longer do I run.... but my pace is still brisk! Upon arriving, my advice is still sound. No longer do the young EMT's give the old white haired nurse a hard time about why this is an emergency situation and why they were called. My presence leaves no doubt that I am the "head nurse" for the shift.

Finally the weekend arrives with time off to play, be with friends for a night, movies, maybe out with the girls for stress relievers and dancing.

Life is good, fun to be had, but one problem prevails... if I get up to dance, will my knees cooperate or fold?

Young at heart, but older in body everything hurts more than it ought to. Looking good with white blonde hair flowing and very few wrinkles hides he fact that no one has any idea my true age or being. A nice shirt, with a touch of "lady like sexy" adds to the feeling. Laughing, relaxing, and having fun, all of my nurse issues are put out of my mind, almost feeling like I am 30 again. As time passes I am light in mood, my energy rises and I feel wonderful, even if it is for a few hours.

So my comment is to young nurses full of energy and vigor... beware! One day you will be the old white haired nurse you see. Your aches and pains will come in time, but hopefully you will fee the same way I do today. This is the best profession ever and I would not trade this experience for anything!

So looking through my eyes this morning, yet again, I see that my outside does not match my inside...but is just fine with me!

Specializes in Med Sur, LTC.

Thanks for all the great comments about this article.

Preemie love 80, I have to agree maybe the young nurses are intimidated by your vast experience. Often I have been told that I am "scarey/mean looking" because of my white hair, positive demeanor, and the way I carry myself. This is anything but the case, it is called confidence from being a supervisor for years. Makes me smile when a new staff member shares with me "Wow, you are nice, fair, and we like working with you" once they get to know me. Ask them if they need help, maybe instead of waiting for them to come to you. All my old mentors were seasoned nurses who showed me the right way and always had pearls of wisdom. Just a thought?

Jumauil, RN-Your comment saddened me a little. You have so much to offer in the way of vast experience, why not try teaching, write text books for nursing schools, start your own consulting business, or maybe MDS Coordinator. A good mind, vast knowledge in your field should not be wasted. Good luck!

Specializes in NICU.

Actually once people get to know me, they find that I'm one of the most laid back, soft spoken, and chilled out staffers they've had. I will start going up to them, rather than waiting for them to ask me. I never berate someone for not being able to perform a task, because I remember that "One day, it was MY first day in the NICU, too." I love your comment about the white hair. I went grey at 24, and am not ready to let my true colors shine through!

I was thinking about tasks such as trying to start an IV on a preemie; we are limited to 3 sticks/RN. They will call a friend of similar experiences to try the IV. I've gone up to a bed and offered to get the IV in, and have been told, "No, we're fine". So I will give a few suggestions like.."Why don't you try swaddling the baby so he's not as stressed; use a heel warmer to vasodilate the veins, or use some Sweetease if the baby is eligible?" It's about all I can do.

A far as teaching; because my arthritis is worsening, I am limited to 24 hours/week by my doctors. That's why I work a Weekend Option plan, on Fridays and Sundays. It gives me a day to recover and be able to take the prescription-strength pain meds. and muscle relaxers I have at home, but can't take if I am within 24 hours of going to work.

Specializes in CHN, MH & Addictions, Acute Med, Neuro..

In response to Jumawil: I am sorry to hear that. Considering nursing values, this is something that has surprisingly not been addressed. Nursing is a physically tough career and I know many who have suffered from professional injuries. Thank you for sharing.

To the young nurses... start exercising before you develop cankles. Thats just terrible. Dx: HF coming soon. Rx: hit the gym. Our profession is physically tough we need to live health lifestyles and manage our weight and health better than our patients! I am in my mid 50's BTW.

I am a 3rd semester RN student who is 62.I noticed that even my teachers treat me like an age not a reality.Hang in there,they too will go throuh this at some time in their life