I have never really stopped to think about the number of patients that have passed through my care over the years. Guessing would do it no justice because even my most hard thought estimate probably wouldn’t even come close. The different types of nursing that I have chosen to explore have allowed me to see so many different facets of humanity that my eyes might never have been privy to. The abundance of differences between us all are what colors the rainbow of experiences for nurses.
My mind often takes off on a journey of thoughts and sometimes the questions that arise have no concrete answers. Always seeking the answers, a friend suggested perhaps a medium might help. Skeptical at first, but willing to just try, off I went.
She was nice enough, the woman with dark hair that had silver woven so delicately through. The reading was about an hour but really it transcended my whole lifetime. Towards the end, she mentioned more than once that surrounding me were so many different life forces. To be fair, I had not mentioned that I was a nurse. Just really wanted to see how this all would play out. “They are not family”, she looked puzzled, “but there are so many of them that I don’t know how to describe them!” At this point, I knew what it was she was talking about. “They are grateful and it feels like they protect you,” she lit up, “Are you a nurse?” I smiled softly and felt my eyes well up with knowing tears.
I told her that I had been a Med-Surg nurse, then Stepdown, ICU and PACU. “But now, I am a hospice nurse,” I said with my voice almost cracking. “Of course, not all of your patients are there, but, these seem like they have strong bonds to you. These are the ones that changed you and helped you grow. They are the patients that you could not stop thinking about.”
Those words caused me to think about those patients… the ones that I left a part of me with.
The older man in the icu who cried because he was hospitalized over Valentine’s Day. He had purchased his wife white roses every year since those were the flowers she carried down the aisle. Cupid found a way to get him those roses for her. She cried, I cried, he cried. The next morning, he unexpectedly passed. He knew he passed on having given his wife one last gift.
The young woman on m/s who had pneumonia and declined quickly. When the code team was working on her, she asked me to not let go of her hand. I held it as she passed on.
The soul with ALS who had a smile that would melt a glacier. When she was confined to bed, I made sure to decorate (sometimes obnoxiously) her “babe cave” for whatever the next holiday was. I hope she knew that it meant more to me than it could have ever been to her.
My first real code… doing chest compressions on the floor of a hospital bathroom. She came back long enough to yell at me and tell me her chest hurt before she left this life.
So many faces, so many stories, so many lives. They are with me, not just around me, but, they have become sewn into the tapestry of me.
Out of sight, but, forever in my heart.