Sunday, September 6, 2009

One More Chance.

The sign at the end of the hall, this was my home away from home for 6 years.
Looking back towards the nursing station down the long hall, my last look as I was leaving.
My empty cubby, my name was about to get torn off by me.....
My farewell note to my friends on Rehab.. I will truly miss most.
Part of night shift on Friday night, Matt, me, Gwen and Linda S.
Me on the phone at the nursing station.
Part of the party food that evening shift send me out with, I only worked with them 4 hours an evening, from 6pm until 10pm, but they were very good friends and I always appreciated them including me as an evening shift person. The love and respect shown towards me was wonderful.
Night shift on Thursday night, Mandy, my girl, me, Pat, Velda and Ree, all nurses.
Me and Mandy, I love this girl, she is like one of my kids!!
Miss Ree, One of the finest nurses you will ever find, solid, honest, sweet and caring, but don't be fooled this girl can light a fire under your tail if need be.
Pat, our only guy nurse setting up food for overnights on Thursday night.
From Jeanette, I will miss her dearly, what an outstanding person and aide.

I spent almost 6 years on the in-patient rehabilitation floor at St. John's Hospital. I have seen a lot of crazy things, lots of spinal cord injuries from car wrecks, head injuries, strokes, burn patients, amputees, dialysis patients just to name a few. People who have done maybe crazy or silly things, maybe on purpose, maybe accidental, the outcome is the same, their lives have changed..... Relearning to eat, talk, pee, poop, laugh, smile, walk, write, drink, LIVE AGAIN. Folks have fell out of tree stands, many, bike wrecks with broken necks, motorcycles with missing limbs, falls from roofs, ladders, steps, top of vehicles, buildings and balconies. Strokes of all kind, massive to mild, burns from accident to mishap to drug production, Debility from cardiac, renal failure, cancer, diabetes, dialysis and old age. So many car wrecks with teenagers, I can't even hope to count, if they are with us, it probably was pretty darn bad, non-restrained with alcohol on board, they were invincible. A journey to a new and different life, usually different from the one they left the other morning as they were on their way to work, play, a brush with death, church, family reunion, school or jail. Never thinking for a moment they would in up in the hospital and then a rehab unit, to make changes and rebuild the rest of a shattered and altered life. I am proud to say I have helped many, many people rebuild a life, I have set-up tube feedings for those who can't eat, IV fluids for those who can't drink, in/out caths for those who can't pee, bowel program for those who can't poop, a cheerleader always, a shoulder to cry on, an advocate for those scared and alone, a tiny flame of security on a long dark night, a voice of comfort, reason, hope, love, sternness, faith, compassion, education and strength. I have always worked night shift, we get little glory, little recognition, never treated as equals, but I would always work overnights in the hospital, this is when we are needed the most, the confused and the tired, the scared and the alone, we reach the folks, we take care of your mom, your dad, your granny or poppy, your daughter or son, your best buddy or your wife, we cover them with extra quilts, we hold a wash cloth and a puke bucket when they are sick, we give pain medicine or help get comfort from repositioning, we get them a bowl of chili at 2 am cause they want it, we wheel confused granny to the nursing station to sit with us so she won't be afraid. Yes, I am a nurse an RN and proud, but some of the most satisfying care I give is the hands on, aide type of work. Do we get reward, praise, thank you's from family or patients, no, very rarely, but that is not why we are here, it's not the money or the thanks, it's a way of life we couldn't or wouldn't change. I am moving into the Hospice field, usually end of life, yes, I have seen death, I have felt it on my face, in my hair, I have also seen life, the first breath of a newborn, I think it is only fitting that my next step is to help people complete this cycle of life and be a friend and helper onto their next journey. I am excited for a change, while I am looking forward to this new area of my nursing career, I will sorely miss my co-workers and friends on 2C, Barb, my first preceptor, so much like my aunt and so wonderful to work with, Ree, Gwen, Mandy, Dene, who remembers the 70's with me, Pat, Jeanette, Linda S., Linda L., Matt, Eric, Lois, Velda, Krysta, Steph, Michelle, Wendy P., Wendy my special girl, Toni Joyce, Marilyn, Brenda, Shawna, oh the list could go on and on.......... I have learned so much these last 6 years, maybe my biggest thing I have learned is not to take life for granted, enjoy life while you can, we never know what the next minute, hour, day or week will bring, also, please never gripe in line at Wal-Mart at Christmas, I know alot of people who would gladly change places with you for one more chance to stand in line and deal with the crazy Christmas crowds, one more chance to walk on two healthy strong movable legs, one more chance to feel the fresh cool air on your face, one more chance to taste a fresh orange, one more chance to drive a car, one more chance to see their child, grandchild or mom. I will update all on my new job and how it is going. I love you all!!

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