J and I just got back from vacation this week, and I was honestly dreading my return to work. I think my actual words to him while we were somewhere in the Caribbean were, "I am in heaven right now, and I am not looking forward to returning to hell." He just looked at me and said, "It is your home. Get over it." So, as soon as our plane landed in the tropical paradise that is our great state, I was on the net looking for a new job....travel nursing, travel agent, jewelry maker, welder, dog groomer....I didn't care as long as I got to do something great in someplace fabulous.
Well, news for me, I was in for a big surprise at work on Monday morning. In an early morning meeting, I learned that I no longer have any patients of my own; instead, I am now responsible for all daytime admissions and discharges and I am officially the new nurse preceptor. I was livid! Since I accepted this job almost a year and a half ago, my only stipulation was that I always wanted a caseload of my own. In fact, I passed up a management position in order to keep a caseload and stay out of the office. My reason? I like building relationships with patients and their families. It is why I do what I do. However, over the last two days, I have realized that change may not be such a bad thing. In fact, these have been two of the lowest stress days I have experienced in a long time (besides vacation of course), and I am thankful for that! The only drawback is that I am spending much of my time in the office....doing paperwork...lots and lots of paperwork.
Anyway, I was thankful for my job today when I got to spend part of my afternoon admitting a certain young man to our service. He is 80+ years old and lives with his wife of 60+ years. He takes care of her (she has severe dementia) even though his health is rapidly declining, and his love for her was very evident through his patience with her. Every person I meet has a story, and my favorite part of work is trying to look past the disease to see the person for who he or she really is. So often, we are trained as clinicians to maintain boundaries. Of course, I am not advocating that we cross those boundaries, but these are real people going through REALLY tough times, and we have to form some sort of bond with them to get them through these times.
Ok so the whole purpose of this post is to write about my experience with this darling little couple. First off, I arrived at their house, and it was probably a good 30 minutes of him ( I will call him Mr. A) telling me about all of the golf he has been playing. I am now familiar with every golf course in the tri-state area as well as all of the . Throughout the extent of this conversation, I had no idea that we weren't the only ones in the house, until Mrs. A finally decided that she needed to venture out of the bedroom to see the stranger sitting in her kitchen. Our conversation went a little something like this.
Mrs. A- (in a really excited voice) Hi! Im Mrs. A. I am SOOOO glad you are here.
Me- Hi. I am Mizzle, and it is nice to meet you.
Mrs. A turns around to face the back porch, glances at the cat who is sitting outside, and turns back around to face me.
Mrs. A- Hi! I'm Mrs. A. Welcome to our house. I am glad you are here.
Me- Hi. I'm Mizzle, and it's nice to meet you. Thank you.
Since she is dressed up, and by dressed up I mean that she has her purse on her arm and is wearing a Victorian style blouse with pearl buttons, a pink tea-length skirt, red high heels, and athletic socks, one of which reaches mid-calf and the other is an anklet, I say, "You look like you are about to go somewhere."
Mrs. A- Oh no. I always carry this with me. (She is referring to her purse.)
Mr. A- She does. She even gets it in bed with her...under the covers.
Mrs. A- Well, I never know when I'll need my stuff.
She opens the purse to show me exactly what she is referring to. I am expecting some makeup, maybe some money, an old driver's license...the things I carry in my purse.
Inside her purse were 4 perfectly folded papers towels, each lined up exactly the same way and sitting next to one pair of underwear. It was also perfectly folded, so as to not disrupt the symmetrical presentation of her goodies.
I guess I can't blame her for being prepared!!! Yes, I did get a little chuckle out of this, but I thought it was so cute, and these people definitely made my day....it was a little brighter because I got to spend a couple of hours with them!