Everyone has a story.
Every person you meet, whether in the grocery store, the mall, in the hallway at work, at the bank, the beauty shop, your customers, clients, or patients, all have stories.
I’ll be honest, Nurses, well, medical professionals as a whole, are notorious for forgetting about those stories.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not on purpose, or because we don’t care.
Sometimes, we’re busy. Like, really, really don’t eat, don’t sit down, pray you haven’t forgotten anything, don’t pee for a whole 12 hours busy.
There are times I think we get so focused on the problem(s) at hand and take care of that problem and nothing else. Kinda like, we get tunnel vision.
Other times, I think it’s a defense mechanism. If we stick with treating the problem at hand, there will be no emotional attachments formed.
Trust me when I say, there is no disrespect intended when a Patient is referred to as the Gallbladder in 820 or the Hip in 827.
I’ve done it hundreds of times myself over the last 21 years of Nursing.
However, I was recently reminded, every person has a story.
Every. Person. Has. A. Story.
It was beautiful outside.
I showed up for my 12-hour shift.
I was feeling all good about myself.
My uniform was on point, complete with my Danskos and cute matching socks.
I remember mumbling something like, “God, you know who I'm supposed to have today,” as I was clocking in.
I arrived on the Unit and was given my Patient assignment. Didn’t sound too bad other than one “hard” Patient.
I’ve got this, I thought, as the ponytail I had spent so much time on that morning swung back and forth.
I went and met my “easy” Patients first.
Just as I suspected, they would, most likely, be a breeze.
I then headed to meet my “hard” Patient.
I knew from the report he was in his 80s, had recently been diagnosed with cancer, had a Trach, was sometimes difficult to understand and had Feeding Tube, which I won’t lie, I all dreaded.
***I probably should insert a disclaimer here and tell you that I am totally honest with my thoughts and feelings. That is the purpose of my Blog. You may not agree with them, or like them, but that is ok, because, again, this is my Blog. If you want to express your own thoughts and feelings, do it on your personal Blog.***
***Oh, 2nd disclaimer, all you Medical Professionals reading this, don’t get all self-righteous on me and try to act like you have never dreaded dealing with something. Really, that could apply to any profession. If you say you haven’t, my response to that would be, lie again…..***
Now, where were we?
Oh yeah, the dreaded part.
I knocked on the door and waited for permission to enter.
My “hard” patient, who had recently been diagnosed with cancer, was sitting up on the side of the bed smiling, anxiously awaiting my arrival.
He knew 7am meant shift change, and he would be getting a new Nurse.
While I was busy, doing all of my dreading, this precious man with cancer, and a Trach, and a feeding tube had gotten up, and bathed and dressed in anticipation of meeting me, his Nurse for the day.
Talk about guilt and INSTANTLY being convicted by the Holy Spirit.
That was me.
I felt about 2, maybe 1 1/2 inches tall.
This gentle, sweet soul didn’t care that my uniform was pressed, that my ponytail was perfect, that I had on cute socks, or that I actually wore makeup.
I introduced myself, and he invited me in and asked me about me.
He wanted to know about my family, my kids, if I went to church, my hobbies.
I answered him briefly, but laughed, and told him I was there to find out about him.
He then said the words, “Everyone has a story, I want to hear yours.”
So, I sat down in the chair beside his bed and started from the beginning…..
I told him where I was born, where I grew up, how I asked Jesus into my heart at 7 years old during Vacation Bible School, that I loved to sing and sang in a Southern Gospel Group for several years, and now with the Praise Team at my church, where I went to school, all about my Husband, how long we’ve been married, about my 2.5 children, why I became a Nurse, about my Daddy having AML and being in remission and about my Mother being the Godly example she is and some of the struggles she has and is facing. I shared my Faith in God, and how I believed nothing happens by chance or accident and that I didn’t believe in luck. I also told him I knew it was God’s plan for me to meet him and have him as my Patient.
He grinned, almost like that, I know something you don’t know, grin.
He told me he had been praying for me way before that day.
He said he knew his diagnosis and his prognosis, and felt, instead of focusing on what is wrong in his life, he should turn his attention to the people God places in his path because everyone has a story.
I asked him his story, and he told me.
It was nothing like the one I had pictured and had already made up in my mind.
There was nothing hard about taking care of him that day.
It was an honor to be his Nurse and provide care that he couldn’t do for himself.
Before his tube feeding, which was his only source of nutrition, he asked that we give thanks to God for his meal.
He also gave thanks for every pain pill, and every drop of water administered.
At 7pm, when my shift was over, I went to tell him not bye, but see you later.
He hugged me and cried as he thanked God for me and said he would never stop praying for me.
I cried, too, but it was way more of an ugly cry, and thanked God for him, and told him I would never stop praying for him.
I was his Nurse for 12 hours, but, way beyond those 12 hours, he helped me so much more than anything I could have done to help him.
See, everyone has a story.
We just have to be willing to take the time and listen.
Love you all!
Love you all!