The days are frantic and busy. There are times when it almost feels like your feet are stuck in quicksand – running as fast as I can but, it feels like nothing is getting done. In the midst of it all, the phone never stops. The bings, the ringing, the emails – it seems to never stop.
As I stop to catch my breath for a second just before going into a facility, I scan my long line of emails. A new referral has come across. Like most referrals, the information is limited. A name, an age, a diagnosis – that’s typically it. My mind starts to wander as I gather up all of my gear to head in to see my current patient. Who is this new referral? What’s their story? What kind of person are they? But, as I head in, it hits me – does it even matter?
Long ago, when I was a baby nurse working on a med surg floor, the night shift called for taking care of an incarcerated patient. Posted at his door was a State Trooper, who seemed so unflinching and called me maam every time I walked in the room. The patient was shackled to the bed. With the help of the trooper, we would release him periodically and then promptly click the metal handcuffs back up. Sadly, this man spent the night screaming at the top of his lungs, terrifying all of the little ladies on the unit. I have to admit that my patience grew thin, but, I still was able to continue to care for him.
Something changes, at least for me, when one becomes my patient.
I don’t care about your past.
I don’t care if you have caused pain.
I don’t care if you are religious.
I don’t care if you are a sinner.
I don’t care if you were homeless.
I don’t care if you lived in a palace.
I don’t care if you woke up everyday with a smile.
I don’t care if you pouted your way through life.
I don’t care if your children were furry and wagged their tails.
I don’t care if you were a criminal
I don’t care if you were a loner or the life of the party
When you become my patient, nothing else matters… the past fades away.
What matters is right now, this moment, how I care for you, how you feel.
Fear not that you will ever be judged.
My job is not to judge
My job is to comfort