Day in and day out, at some time or another, I talk to someone about the end of their life. I explain the choices, try very hard not to interject what I think and answer questions. My husband tells me time and time again that I have a "warped' view of life because of it. I am beginning to think he is right.
Death is such a part of my life, that I wonder how I will do when it comes to me. I hope I will be calm, level headed and able to handle things...but hell, I'm not that now so why would I think I was going to change?
Like I have said many times before, I get a ring side seat to the worst and the best of life. I get a gift almost every day to watch families explode apart and come together again and make things work. Actually, most of the time, I am in awe of the folks I care for the strength they have.
It's a wonderful job but it takes a toll on a nurse. My compadre...my buddy, the one that helps me care for this side of town decided she was going to get another job. She was ready to have time to do the things she loved and not work or be thinking about her work 24/7. When she called me to tell me, I started to cry and so did she. I am sad to lose her to another place because her patients loved her dearly and when I covered for her, the visit was all about how awesome of a nurse and a person she is. I have to admit that I got jealous at times and told them to tell her they liked me better!
But, I totally understand. Being a nurse, and even moreso, being a hospice nurse, you have to be all in. You have to put your heart and soul into the folks you care for because if it were you...you would want nothing less.
That's what my friend, my co-worker, my toe nail cuttin' buddy and my happy hour girl did. She put her heart, her soul and then some into her patients...until there was nothing left.
Sometimes, after a particularly difficult situation, there is not enough "comfort" to make it through. I believe that and I know that even I need to work harder and finding comfort in other places than what I do now. I also need to know when to say I need a break so I don't have to leave. That, though, is easier said than done.
It's funny, as I read this, I could be talking about any nurse that I work with. We work hard and want only the best for our patients and sometimes it consumes us. It's easy to spot who is ready to crack and who is doing well.
But again, it is a choice. I don't have to do this kind of nursing if it is eating me up inside. I can make a choice to find something else that will feed my soul. That's what my buddy is doing. She is not bitter and not negative...she is real and she is making good decisions for her life and her family. I admire her so much for that. The problem is, I am going to miss her...her heart, her smile and her awesome way of going above and beyond to care.
So, my friend, I will miss you a lot...I will be ready to do happy hour after toe nails, and will tell every nurse that I meet what an awesome nurse I worked with in the last year. May you paint and cook and raise chickens and love your son and husband and be present in every moment with what you love. God knows you've made my life better by knowing you!
Take care of yourself, friend and let's get together soon.
We'll tawk tomorrow,
I love you all,