Movember 2…Today I’m thankful for my job. After a bit of a crazy day I went out with a nurse who I don’t usually go out with but who gives HANDS DOWN the BEST pep talks on our whole unit (seriously…if you feel down about life…sit and talk to Theresa and you’ll get exactly the pep talk you didn’t know you needed) and we sat and ate and drank and talked about our crazy jobs and the more we talked the more we realized that no matter how far removed we are from all of the hubub of what goes down on the unit and now NORMAL the critical illnesses and codes and badness becomes…we have the BEST job in the world.
We see the best and the worst in humanity every day. We see people fight to live and go home to die. We see families who never show up and the ones who are there every day, in and out, no matter what. We see people on the worst day of their lives and to us……..it’s normal. It’s a Tuesday. It’s just another day of the week.
My friend Bonnie, who in her own right is an EXTREMELY accomplished woman, who’s written songs that bring me to tears and who takes complex and complicated emotions and puts them into these amazing songs…when we get to see each other and really talk and she asks me about my job we talk about the people that I’ve been with as they are dying. And what kills me is that she gets that THAT is amazing. My team at JPS and myself are the last stop in a line of medical interventions, medications and consults and we are the ones who are there when the end comes. And I rarely ever think of how truly wondrous that is. Usually, to an ICU nurse, that represents a loss. A defeat. I wasn’t able to do enough interventions or change enough lab values or give enough meds to make a difference. But what it really is…it’s human. It’s the most human thing there is. It’s amazing and it’s wondrous. And it’s the best job in the world.
It’s not all codes and crash carts and stat trips to the OR. Don’t get me wrong…I LIVE for that. Very little makes my blood pump like a code. Like being the last stop between someone and death. If I can run a code…my day is made. Really, my week. But what is also fulfilling…titrating that last drip off. Getting that patient to follow commands. Helping with placement planning. OOB to chair. Up for meals. EATING meals. The first time the patient puts their deodorant on by themselves. Transferring to rehab. Home with hospice. Helping someone get what they NEED.
Sure I’m a bitch sometimes. Maybe a lot of times. But I like to think I’m a bitch on behalf of my patient. In an effort to help someone get what they need to get through or get better. Or get home.
This is the best job in the world. It has, on occasion, been the worst job in the world. I remember a month where pretty much everyone I touched died and one day I ended up asking for an easy assignment because I needed a win. There have been days when I’ve begged for a sick patient because I need to make a difference in the balance.
And I ALWAYS get what I need. Whether it’s what I thought I needed or not…I get what I need. Every day. Which is what makes it the greatest job in the world.