Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Clinicals with a Side of Philosophy

I walked into the room to find a large woman sitting up in a reclining chair. I introduced myself and she immediately told me how she hadn't slept very well that night. It had been difficult for her to become comfortable. She was in the hospital because she had fallen a few days before, and lay on the floor for over seventeen hours before she was found. She was "sore all over". She wanted to go home.

They were keeping her there for observation: making sure she was eating and drinking, watching over her so she wouldn't fall again as her muscles recovered from the strain... you know the drill. (Hospitals like observing people.) That day she was scheduled for a stress test, and she bemoaned the fact that she wasn't allowed to eat anything until it was over. She was more than eager to discuss her many pains.

I did my basic health assessments. It's like a game of twenty questions. Twenty times twenty! During musculoskeletal evaluations I saw she had some limitation to her range of motion. (I think this is just because she was in pain from the fall, mostly. I know I would be if I was stuck for so long.)

After I found her a pillow for her legs, transport arrive to take her to the stress test. The nuclear medicine nurse proceeded to scare the daylights out of my patient by describing the potential side effects of an adenosine injection. I asked my patient what she was thinking about while we waited, and she revealed to me her deep-seated fear of "drugs". She didn't trust medicine... especially the kind she didn't understand. I re-explained the procedure, and she didn't seem nearly as worried. That made me happy.

I mentioned she was a large woman. It wasn't exactly easy to get her onto the scanning table. She moaned when she had to lay flat on her back (remember, the fall), and had a great deal of trouble getting her arms up. You're supposed to lie with them behind your head... but she could hardly bring them past eye-level. With nothing to rest her hands on, she was distraught. So I stood behind her, and held her arms up for her.

I didn't have much success supporting her. The angle was all wrong, and anyone who knows me personally knows my arms are like two noodles. I apologized to her. "Sorry I can't do anything more to support your arms."

And she said "That's okay. You're giving me courage."

When I started nursing school, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I'm someone who was born with too many interests and too many talents: I can't focus on anything! I stumbled into Nursing because it was some kind of mind-body-spirit breakfast blend... something to make me enough money to chase my dreams. Something to fill the time until I figure out what I'm supposed to do with myself.

But I'm thinking that maybe... maybe this IS what I'm supposed to do. All the time I am finding more reasons to believe that this path is the Good Path. My Path.

I've always known that a career doesn't really define who I am. Everyone has things they want to do better and worse, potentials they've not yet achieved, dreams they've not yet realized. But...when I'm standing there in the hospital with my coat and clipboard... I feel like who I am is both amplified and simplified.

I feel like nothing is being wasted.

12 Comments:

I want to feel like that. I'm thinking about teaching small children.

By Blogger the cat of many things, at Monday, October 3, 2005 at 9:25:00 PM PDT  

Heartwarming, if nothing else...

By Blogger Blue, at Tuesday, October 4, 2005 at 10:48:00 AM PDT  

Heather,
I am so VERY proud of you. I believe great things are ahead for you in the field of nursing and nursing will be blessed to have you in their field.

By Anonymous Deborah Carey, RN, FNP-S, at Thursday, October 6, 2005 at 9:50:00 PM PDT  

GO YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

By Blogger Andrea, at Tuesday, October 18, 2005 at 7:03:00 PM PDT  

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

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By Anonymous Anonymous, at Saturday, October 29, 2005 at 2:14:00 PM PDT  

What the heck is up with all the webcrawly comments in your blog?

Maybe you should disable the anonymous posts?

Also... when will you be in town around the Christmas time of year? I have a lot of time off between semesters and will probably visit my family for a week or something...

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