Thursday, April 11, 2013

Nursing vs Nursing

Are you already confused by the title?  Well, then buckle up because this may be a bumpy ride.  I'll apologize in advance for any grammatical errors (my computer should help me out in the spelling arena) or exceptionally long run on sentences like those ones that just go on and on and you're waiting for the punchline but there isn't one and you forget what the subject was even before you've made it to the final punctuation mark - oh, see? - that's what I'm talking about.   I've been up now for 19 hours - and it is only 9:00 am.  Yes, I work a night shift and if you've read my posts before you may know that I am a nurse in a Pediatric ICU.  It's a busy unit and last night was definitely the crazy kind of "is it a full moon?" busy.  Put out one flash fire only to turn around and see fresh smoke at another bedside.  (That's all figurative by the way; no real fires in our hospital - at least last night).

Remember Stretch Armstrong when you were a kid?  Or the crazy Stretch Octopus?  That's what I end up feeling like when I'm in charge of a unit full of nurses taking care of a host of sick kids.  Tentacles pulled to the max in all different directions, trying to help as many people as possible.  Generally, barring any extreme cases, I leave feeling exhausted, but like I helped make a difference.  You can bet though, that I will still grumble and complain the next time I have to get ready for another shift.

Did you ever think how great it would be to live the life of a stay-at-home parent?  Yeah, I briefly thought that... and then I had a child and changed my mind.  That shit is hard!  No thank you!  When my husband went back to work I felt totally competent to handle my one lovely, easy baby.  By his third day at work I was begging for ten minutes alone so I could just shower and change my breastmilk-soiled shirt.  And when my two boys got older and started fighting, I gloated to my husband, "Oh, sorry I can't help you.  I have to go to work now!" as I sashayed out the door.  I could enjoy a quiet ride in the car, by myself, without listening to the Wiggles CD on repeat.  I got to go to a place where other people spoke "grown up" and had new stories that had to do with subjects other than Elmo.  Most people didn't even talk in that annoyingly high falsetto voice you use with toddlers - although I might have accidentally said "I'm going on my break-y now, alright sweetums?" if I was really sleep-deprived.  And when temper tantrums reigned at my house, I used to pray that I could be assigned a patient that was in a medically-induced coma.  You know what that means?  They are chemically paralyzed (no hitting mommy the nurse in the face), sedated (sleeping soundly) and ventilated (a breathing tube goes past their vocal cords making whining and screaming impossible).  Oh, glorious day!  I'd take a busy patient assignment like that over a full-blown tantrum any day.

I am lucky enough to have a job that pays me well for meaningful work, and I'm thankful that I only have to be there a few nights a week so I can enjoy my own crazy household of boys on my days off. (Run-on sentence right there in case you missed that, but I'm too tired to figure out how to fix it).  It is ironic though, that I leave my own kids to deal with another child's diarrhea, screaming and crying, bleeding, and projectile vomiting.  Bring on the sedatives!

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