Thursday, October 9, 2008

Love, Bluegrass, and Tears.

Ah yes, 5th week of "schedule A's" quarter, and I'm deep in Med-Surg nursing. Still on the transplant floor. Still doin' my thing.

Last weekend I rode on a float in the LOVEfest parade down Market St in SF. If I could find a photo of me on the Spundae/Skills float, I would, but alas, I was in my EMT pants and a T-shirt, although I had my hidden orange fur and sparkley pants in my bag. I was supposed to volunteer from 11am until 4:30, and ended up staying until 6pm. We had so many calls- lots of overly intoxicated people on various substances, and I was running around with oxygen on my back trying to help them. Doing the quick assessments was actually kind of fun, because it brought back my EMT skills and I was surprised at how comfortable I felt in that environment. A lot of people thanked us. Afterwards, I found some friends and danced until about 7, went home, and drank a margarita. Sweet.
Sunday I went to Hardly Strictly Bluegrass since it was only a mile or so from the house, and had a fantastic time just chillin' with close friends. Listening to Iron and Wine play was magical, as was dancing with the girls to Greg Brown. Awesome day.

Today was a tough one at the hospital. Last week, I took care of a patient who was hoping for a good diagnosis. He didn't get one. He has an inoperable state, and at this point, he has been referred to Hospice care. He'll be here for a few more days, and I'm going to try to be with him tomorrow. His wife is phenomenal, and I cried with her for about 20 minutes this afternoon. There's not much time to give, but what I have, I will.
I can't go more in depth, but that still makes me tear up. Knowing that your parter is going to pass, knowing that you are going to pass- given "time" to do what you need to do... Is it a blessing? He has the opportunity to say what he needs/wants to the people he loves, yet it's limited.
His wife looked at me and asked, "Why is it that we only find out who truly loves us when we're sick or dying? Life is so short- time goes by so fast and we keep promising each other that we'll get together, and it takes something like *this* to make it happen. Why?" She paused, looked at me, and said, "Enjoy every moment you can. If you learn nothing else as a student, enjoy every moment you can."
That's when I started crying.
I hugged her.
In the middle of the hug, my stupid cell phone started vibrating, and we both laughed and laughed. Perfectly ludicrous.
They've been married for 40 years. I've been with my boyfriend for 2.
My heart aches for them.

And then there is that question: how *do* you go back into the hall and help your patients after that? How? My heart was heavy, but I got elbow-deep into poop (literally- and discovered a pressure ulcer and worked to prevent skin breakdown) and tended to the needs of someone else who is, very literally, dying.

Bad word on our floor, but seemed to be the word of the day.

All we can do is love openly, celebrate the time we have, and be here for each other.
Those words from my NP friend echo through my head: "There's not a day that goes by where I don't hug a patient or am there for a patient. I give good news and bad news. When I've lost my ability to emote, then it's time to move on from this."

I'm just getting into it, and it's heartbreaking and beautiful all at the same time.

This weekend I'm at a wedding. A beginning. I think I need it.

1 comment:

Al_Pal said...

Love Hardly Strictly.

Love the reminder to live and love and cherish the people around us.
I've been seeing a lot of that this year.