Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Stay with me, as I attempt to get serious

For my professional life, I spend my days as an Oncology nurse at a university hospital. To say that I am an oncology nurse is a bit misleading, though. Since I've been pregnant or trying to be for the entire year I've had this job, I've never actually administered the chemotherapy agents. I'm chemo certified, but stay clear of the stuff for the time being. So, I don't give the chemo, but I work on the floor, and care for the cancer patients who aren't actually getting chemo that admission, as well as, the average,(and sometimes not so average) med/surg patients. Being on this particular floor, with this population of patients is especially hard. There is a lot of sadness, bad news, new diagnosis, painful chemo/cancer, and death.
Most recently we lost a patient who was a very young new wife, and mother. She had a very rare cancer that didn't arise due to lifestyle choices. She didn't deserve this. No one deserves cancer, but this young woman had just started her life. Her baby is at that critical stage where she wants no one but her mommy. Yet, now, just 7.5 months after her diagnosis, she is gone. In a far better place no doubt, and without pain, but gone.
We, as nurses, are left to keep going. Keep picking up our heads and stay positive for the next patient that needs our support. I have been unable to get this particular patient off my mind for a few mo now. I had never even laid eyes on her...I didn't have to. I knew when I looked into her face and the face of her husband, that I'd see me. She is me. Why is she in this awful place, and I'm not. Luck? Chance? There are always going to be more questions than answers. I have a strong belief that God is in charge of our lives, and I don't need all the answers. I just need to have faith that these things are part of this physical life, and eternity will be spent with my maker.
I was asked by the hospital's chaplin how I cope with such loss. I was not expecting that question, so my answer shocked even me. I told her the most honest thing I could think of to make sense of these tragedies. Here's what I said in a nutshell: 'I know that my worrying and stressing over this happening to me or my family is not going to change the outcome. If someone is meant to leave this life early or tragically, then they will. Period. God is in charge, not me. What I can do is pray for these people and their families, and choose to let it postively affect my life. Since I had that talk, I've been doing some soul searching about just how I will let it affect me. I have the choice to live each day as it were my last. I have the choice to worry about the important things and not the superficial or meaningless things. I will kiss my husband longer, I will hugs my kids tighter, and I will tell those who I love just how much they mean to me. I will chose to be closer to God, and walk in a way that would make Him proud of me.
There is a bright side to death. We have the option to see it, or ignore it. I chose to use this tragedy as a tribute to my own life and to that of my patient's life. I will make the absolute most of mine. I will get off the couch and on the floor with my son even when I don't feel like it. I will turn off the tv at night to visit with my husband. I will take more pictures and write more love letters to my children. I hope I can be a positive example of living life to the fullest, and sucking the marrow out of life everyday.


Blogger Whitney Lane said...

Thanks so much for this post. I'm in my last semester of nursing school and currently doing my clinicals in a neuro trauma unit. It's been a struggle seeing so many people with brain injuries that will either leave them dead, living in a nursing home, or somehow with a compromised quality of life. And all because of a car accident (usually). It doesn't seem fair. Anyway, this was a beautiful post about how you choose to cope - with faith! Thank you for it!

January 20, 2012 at 8:59 AM  

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