The reality is
I had a patient once. His last name was Gatto, so I called him Mr. Cat. He was a direct admission because he had a low blood count and needed a simple blood transfusion. We laughed, we joked, he got a CT scan and they found a tumor the size of a fist in his stomach. I spent hours with him and his wife for the remaining week he was a patient. His wife bought me potted roses when he was discharged.
Three weeks later he was readmitted for pain control and to have Hospice set up. He told me all his unsettled thoughts and memories. He cried into my hands. I listened to him and watched his face grow more tired with every passing minute.
I held his hand the whole time the stretcher pushed him down the hall to the ambulance to take him home. He died three days later. His wife called me the day after he died just to have me tell her she’ll be OK – that she’d move on. I sent her pink potted roses, as she did for me, so she knows that someone is always there, and always cares.
I think about her often.
The reality is with life, nothing is a guarantee. One minute you’re feeling flu-like, the next minute you have cancer. One minute you are at your prime, with an amazing job, the next you’re unemployed and wondering where you’re going to live. You turn your back for one second and your child grabs a mug of hot coffee and spills it all over herself leaving the potential for scarring.
When I decided to let my job at the hospital go, I feared that I wouldn’t be able to be a part of an important time in someone’s life – the time when they needed an unbias opinion. When they needed someone to talk honestly to, without judgement. To be there at their greatest time of need. I thought my life would become insignificant because being a nurse, even if it was only part time – defined me.
Honestly, I was heartbroken.
The reality is, I’m still capable of doing things. Amazing things. I don’t have to be in scrubs to do it.
Last night, after I let the dog out, I stood in the front room looking at the boxes and stacks of items that we’ve collected for those three needy families. Families who, chances are, wouldn’t have had a very merry Christmas. I can do these things. With the help of everyone I know, I can do this.
The spinathon takes place on the 10th of November. We even added an hour on to it. I’ve set the goal at 2000 dollars so that I can make sure each family gets a microwave and comforters for their beds, as well as gift cards to buy food for the holidays.
I couldn’t save Mr. Cat. But I did my best to be there for him, every step of the way, until he was finally free from pain.
And I know I can’t save the world. I’ve known that since I was a little girl.
But I can still try.