Some days I definitely question why I choose nursing as a profession. Some days I spend hours getting my ass gnawed on for things that are far beyond my control. Some days I get treated like people’s slaves rather than their nurse. But, today was different. Today made me cry.
Today started off like any other day. Wake everybody up, dressed and out the door. The work day started like most other days. Patient #1 was done and sent off to the cafeteria for a snack. Then I saw patient #2. His paperwork says he is 93 but I have seen patient’s that are 73 that look much worse than this man. He was in a wheelchair but was talking to and laughing with another patient in the waiting room.
Just before we are ready to start, I was wheeling him into the exam room. He hangs his head and says that he needs to use the bathroom. “I’m sorry to be such a bother, honey. I know you’re busy.” I assure him that I am not too busy to take him into the bathroom. I wheeled him in and waited for him to come out. After I wheeled him into the exam room and was getting him hooked up to the monitors, we began talking. “Talking helps calm my nerves, you see. I’m nervous that y’all are gonna find something bad on this test.” So we talked. We talked about his wife & kids. And grandkids. And great-grandkids. We talked about my kids and he got a little teary when I showed him their pictures. He told me that he used to be a mechanic. He laughed when I told him I don’t know how to check the oil in my car.
Then we started to talk about what he did in the service. He was born at the tail-end of WWI (in 1917) and we talked about his dad and his dad’s friends telling him stories about that war. Then we started to talk about WWII. He was stationed in Europe (of course) and he arrived on Omaha Beach 20 days after D-day. He said that he served under General Patton. He said that for 4 straight months while he was in France, he didn’t have any dry clothes & that many nights his bed was a self-dug trench. He said that in December of 2009 he was able to go on the Honor Flight and it was one of the proudest moments of his life.
I was proud to have been able to shake his hand.
This is exactly the reason that I became a nurse. It is amazing to me that I am able to help those that have done such a wonderful service to our country. I will never be able to thank those men and women enough for the sacrifices they have made, but I can try. I can do my absolute best at my job. Whether that job is starting an IV, making an extra phone call so an out-of-town patient has lodging for the night, or holding the hand of a 93-year-old man who has seen things that I cannot even begin to imagine and comforting him when he is scared about the outcome of his test.
Days like today make all of the bad days worth it.