Everyone has a story.
Anyone that is living and breathing - beyond a shadow of a doubt - has a rhyme + reason as to why they are who they are.
Some people wear their stories softly on their sleeves.
While others... securely tuck them away beneath layers and layers of protective coating.
In a hospital, people are usually at their most vulnerable.
Down to their innermost layer - they are exposed, hurting, sick, at their worst.
I am blessed enough to be able to serve them in their times of need.
It is an honor and a privilege to be able to sit with a patient who needs an ear to listen to them, a shoulder to lean on, a heart to care for them...
It's not exactly what we do that helps people - it's more how we do it.
What we put into it.
How much of ourselves we offer to someone who is going through a particularly difficult time can leave a lasting impression on that person.
It's easy to remember all of this when the patient load is light.
For the last week, I've had a total of 2 patients a day.
I've had the time to physically offer my presence along with everything else I'm providing.
Soon, the patient load will be going up.
And in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of getting assessments done, charting in the computer, keeping medications on time, staying on some kind of schedule - the time we spend one-on-one with the patient rapidly diminishes.
I think it's so important to really listen to what is going on - not just listen with my stethoscope as their chest bilaterally rises and falls, as their heart beats a steady S1 and S2, as their bowel sounds rumble in all 4 quadrants...
But to listen to their story - make sense of who they are outside of this hospital bed, hooked up to monitors, totally NOT in their own environment.
Maybe, just maybe, it will help a little in the healing process as they can feel more like themselves for just a moment.
For someone to understand.
I think it's so important to really look at them and take in their responses to certain therapies - not just look over their skin, searching for evidence of redness, irritation, unpadded bony prominence's; inspecting mucous membranes for evidence of dehydration, look for jugular vein distention as they lay back in the bed...
Of course that is all so important, but watching someone get better - watching them physically improving, is such an amazing sight.
Maybe, just maybe, it encourages them as much as it encourages me.
Just like all the other nursing skills I'm learning and have learned, listening to them and responding in an appropriate way will also take practice; watching them and using my nursing judgment will also improve.
So far, I've had several great experiences - each one totally different from the next.
Each patient with their own story, support systems (or lack thereof), set of needs, tolerances...
I've been able to be a shoulder to cry on.
I've been able to actively listen to them pour out their stories in a most vulnerable way.
I've been able to touch them with a comforting hand, soothe them in their time of pain.
13 hours is a long day, but sometimes, that time flies.
May I always remember that each patient is a person
With a story of their very own
Who is not in their own element, and may be hurting, scared, unsure, and most importantly, NOT in control.
I'm going to tell you right now that SO FAR, I'm loving what I do.
Who woulda thought...
It's all a learning process.
I'm just trying to figure it out.
Lord, thank you for giving me the chance to be involved with people at a point in their stories where there is chaos and vulnerability. Please help me to keep this in the forefront of my mind as I nurse them back to an optimal point of health and provide them with a chance to feel some sort of normalcy.