Monday, March 12, 2012

I don't know how you do it...

Today felt like spring...the sky was blue, the sun was bright and it was warm. I went from patient to patient...drawing blood, changing dressings, and doing assessments feeling like one of the luckiest people in the world. 

There is something about a warm breeze and a bright day when you've been in what seems like the darkest days of life.  It helps me know that there will be another day...

Yesterday in the grocery store, I ran into a friend that I have known for years.  She walked up to me with this sad face...looked at me for a long time.  Then  she said, "I have been thinking about you...how are you...what's wrong?"  I stood there stunned at how pitiful she looked and how she came across.  "I'm fine, really..." but she continued to ask with that look, " But you said you were so sad on facebook and I was so worried about you."

I told her about my last few weeks and how I had been with my sister and now was home and okay...still sad and wishing things were different but okay.  "I don't know how you do your job...I could never do that" she replied.  We said our goodbyes and I got back to shopping.

I've been thinking about that statement a lot today.  The "I could never do that" statement.  To be honest, I am as guilty as the next person.  I will see a mom struggling with a child and think..."I could never do that."

Why do we think that, I wonder?  Are we limiting our gifts, or are we just not willing to move out of our comfort zone?  It's an interesting thing to ponder.  The other thing about that statement, "I could never do that" is...usually folks that are doing "that" which we think we couldn't ever do...thought the same thing.  Then, because there was no choice, they did it.

Certainly, being a nurse and doing hospice work takes a certain kind of person.  I haven't quite figured out what kind of person that is  but when our group of nurses get together...you can tell we are all a "certain" kind. 

But I have to say, doing what I do is not all sad.  "How could it not be?" friends will ask.  I always think that when a person has fought and hurt and watched their family watch them suffer...there is a relief in meeting the person that helps them stop the treatment, stop the suffering and help them deal with symptoms so they can be home loving their family.  There is comfort and peace in that and I get to help them choose the path.

Usually,  when I walk into a house, the relief is palpable and sometimes you can hear the family taking deep breaths and sighing loudly.  It's the beginning of letting go and changing the goals from cure to comfort.  How could a person not do that when it's time?

As I sat in the sun over the weekend watching my boys play baseball, I could only think of how lucky I am.  I have plenty of things...enough to get me through many years.  But the luckiest thing is, I have family...a "through thick and thin", "I could never do that" family that will drop everything to be there when the curve balls of life come at you at 95 miles an hour. And to top it off,   I have a job that makes me aware of my blessings day in and day out and I get to care for people that I can make a difference in their lives. 

 I've been through the dark valley and know that I will be again.  I can only hope not anytime soon... But now I'm back and I'm whole and doing the "I don't know how you do it" work and loving it. 

Good night all,
We'll tawk soon,
I love you all,


Unknown said...

I get the "I could never do what you do" from people all the time. Especially other nurses! I love working with the mentally ill, and I can't imagine working with any other population. That's what is so great about nursing. We all have our own niche, our own love. God bless you in what you do, Terry! I could never do what you do......

Elizabeth said...

So funny -- I've been writing a sort of series over on my blog the past year or so, called "How We Do It." It's a phrase that I hear all the time as the mother of a disabled child.

I know why and how you do it, and I'm grateful for you.

Terry Joy said...

Thought about you the whole time I was writing last night. I think by your writing about Sophie, there is a whole group of people who are being educated on having a disabled child and the "system". Always makes me think twice now before I open my fat mouth and make some stupid remark about something I know little about. Thanks for you!!!