*** Revision in May 2022 – This section has been renamed Nurse, a memoir. Some of the stories from the blog (and many more not posted here) have since been self-published as a book, called “Nurse, a memoir.”
*** Original post – Welcome to a different theme of writings that will be posted weekly on the blog. The stories will mostly be about my experiences within healthcare. They will be categorized as “Seeing, Being & Caring” so they may be easier to find in one place.
The stories are all based on actual experiences but have been adapted to protect the privacy of the people who kindly shared their lives and their stories with me. Consider them to be fictionalized reality. Anything that resembles “real life” probably happened but not in exactly the same way it is written here or with exactly the same details. Some of these stories are combinations of multiple experiences all so similar I have combined them into one story, hopefully capturing the bits of truth most clearly.
Thank you for sharing space with me here. I hope you will find inspiration, joy, and cause to reflect or pause as you read these works. They are near and dear to my heart.
If you prefer the original format of the blog please don’t worry. I will still be posting in the original style, stories or reflections on life with a lesson for myself mixed in. There is still much work to be done to become my own best friend.
As always, sending you love and light. Thank you for being here.
About unexpected openings.
I am going to be around 6 more months he said. That was how he opened the visit.
Oh. You’re moving? I said.
No, I’m dying. Maybe 12 months tops.
Oh. Deep breath and pause. What do you say next to that? How’s your day does not seem to fit. Inadequate. Trite. I already said Oh. Erm and Umm and Hmmm are all about the same. I nodded. I see. That was the best I could come up with. I see.
But I didn’t see. Why 6 months? Why 12 months? Who told you this? I have questions. Luckily he filled the space I left there after “I see.”
I just saw Cardiology. They cannot do much more. They said maybe 6 to 12 months. If I’m lucky. It’s okay. He smiled at me then. I knew this was coming. They told me 6 to 12 months over 10 years ago. But this time I know they are right. I’m tired. It has been a good run… He trails off.
I nodded again. I see. But…
And I did see. I had been seeing for the past two years. The slow decline. The hospitalizations. The titration of medications. The knowledge that there were not any other medications that could be tried or titrated. But every month I would see him, when he was not in the hospital. Every month for over 2 years, nearly 3 years now.
And we would check his blood. And talk of airplanes and baked bread and the crossword. We would lament the Friday crossword and how many words we left empty, both being lovers of the puzzles. We would do the work he came to do. But we would also visit about the traffic and the never-ending construction and the local football team. He would tell me about his wife and her flowers. We would chat about mundane things like when to plant tomatoes and who had the best fish in town and where to buy cherries.
He is a kind man. I look forward to my monthly visits with him. And knowing I may only have 6 more months of this. Six more visits. Well, that feels both unacceptable but inevitable. Knowing what I know about cardiac physiology, how hearts work or don’t, and seeing what I see each month I think we will be lucky indeed if we get 6 more visits. So today I will count myself very lucky, because we got at least one more.
And now I will start to wrestle with that combination of grief and gratitude that are so hard to reconcile when they exist together in the same room and the same moment in time. Someone should make a word for that combination and put it in the Friday crossword.