Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Putting Your Face On

"Putting your face on" is how one of my nursing instructors describes the preparation before going into a patient's room - creating a nonplussed expression that doesn't give way to the grossness, sadness, ugliness or awesomeness that we see every day. We have to remain professional ... at least until we get home.

When M got home tonight, I broke down and couldn't keep my "face" on any longer. Today my 85 y/o dementia patient got to me. More so, his well-to-do wife got to me. The way she looked at him. The way he smiled back with a senile expression. Her protectiveness, her gratefulness when I helped. I couldn't help but think about M and me ... and what it would feel like to have to go through all of that. It hurt, and I cried.

Then I called my grandma in PA - she fell recently and I wanted to call and check up on her. She probably won't remember I called, and she only stays on the phone for a bit, but I felt better when I got off. Like a bit of a weight was lifted.

Sigh. Nobody said nursing was going to be easy. (In fact, MANY MANY MANY people have told me otherwise.) But, I think it will be worth it.


Nikki said...

I have got a TON of "keeping face" stories, esp. of the super emotional kind like you just posted, but since yours was kind of depressing, I thought I'd share a fun one:

I was drawing blood on a younger-ish patient who we'll name "A." She's a 27yo female, but she is mentally retarded thus acts much younger, and she's a very hard stick. On top of that, I had a new tech shadowing me and I was teaching her how to draw blood. In the midst of teaching/drawing, A's nurse Katie walked in to see things were going. Just then A let out this absurd fart and I of course am trying with all my might to keep it together but then Katie just burst out laughing so naturally I cant keep it in and starting laughing as well. The next day Katie and I were still laughing about it. ohh, good times at work. :)

love you!

Britt said...

My best friend is a nurse and she has seen so much. It's amazing. I'm glad you have someone like M to go home to and feel supported!