Wednesday, July 27, 2011


The nursing world does an exemplary job
at making you realize how much we all take good health for granted.
 Being healthy and alive is truly the best thing
to ever hope for yourself and anyone you love.
When you're having a bad day,
take a step back and think to yourself...

You could have cancer metastasizing its evil way throughout your body,
wracking every nook and cranny with its inevitable doom.
You and your family could be living on an estimated timeline...
days, weeks, months...
each minute a physical and emotional struggle,
forcing you to question when enough's enough.

You could be 20 years old, but look like you're 5,
wrapped into a contracted little ball,
unable to communicate or do anything meaningful in life,
with alarming seizures that terrify your parents...
making them wonder each time..."is this the end ?"...
Their guilt expresses itself as a vacant stare, devoid of all emotion,
all because they, two people in love,
had an extremely rare, unknown genetic mutation that causes you to be this way.
Yet, they never leave your side because you are, and always will be, their life.

You could be 28, just about to graduate with your Masters degree,
living with an unknown ticking time bomb of blood vessels
in your head, ready to pop and bleed out, when you least expect it,
leaving your wonderful family and fiance to make unthinkable decisions 
regarding your wishes at the end of your young life.

Your son could have Down syndrome,
requiring the utmost patience & caretaking on your part over the years.
He could live to be 53 before his health takes some nasty turns,
just about the time you, an elderly single woman, are too fragile
to be at his side through the long, lonely hospital nights,
leaving you with feelings of inexplicable guilt and helplessness,
as you place faith in the nurses' hands to comfort him when he's scared.

At an annual Memorial Day family gathering,
your fun and adorable teenage brother could dive into a pool,
only to surface, paralyzed from the neck down,
requiring ventilator support and long-term nursing home care
for the remainder of his life, however long that might be.

You and your husband could try years to have another baby,
and when you finally do and your world finally feels complete,
you experience a rare bleeding condition during labor,
have a catastrophic stroke and are declared "brain dead,"
forcing your doting husband and young children to come say goodbye
as they unwillingly withdraw you from all the life-sustaining tubes coming out of every orifice.

I have witnessed every single one of these stories,
and many more.
While I also have uplifting stories to tell
(because those are the ones that keep us going and doing what we do),
it's the sad ones that seem to stick with you.
Their names, their families' faces, and the sounds of their wailing despair,
will probably haunt me for the rest of my life.
Yet, I feel blessed
to be allowed in and trusted to take of these patients and their families
at the most vulnerable times in their life.

Bottom line:
Even though 2011 has been fairly shitastic thus far,
I am so thankful for my health,
and that I have the best family and friends,
who are all here to love and support me and each other
on this short, but wonderful journey.
One day, if Alex & I are lucky enough to be blessed with children,
I hope not for a boy or a girl,
or that they have this color hair or that number of freckles.
I only hope and pray that they are HEALTHY.

We must enjoy our time together and cherish the good memories,
because none of us are guaranteed tomorrow, nor a pretty one at that.

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