Wrapped in a blanket at the kitchen table, I told my husband I’d gotten some revelation. I mean, we learned these basics already: Take care of your patients’ basic needs. But now I really got it. He reminded me of his sister, may she rest peacefully, who died in hospice care. Her nurses would brush her teeth for her, he said.
I cried. Hot eyes again.
I learned from the common-cold experience that I’d better get ready to see things much more awful than a mild fever and two days of chills. I know, intellectually, that people suffer far worse symptoms — some of them chronically, as in for years. If I’m going to be a nurse — a good nurse — I’d better buck up and get ready to help.
I’m not ridiculous enough to compare my common cold to people’s serious and painful disease processes and I won’t insult my patients that way, but I’m glad to have touched the edge of feeling miserable — a teeny taste, I guess you’d say, of my patients’ worlds.
I’m better now, and that gets me to my last lesson, and it’s a cheesy one but true: One should not take her health for granted. Waking up not feeling like my head is formed of cement products was such a relief I nearly cried again, which might have given my more hot eyes, so I held back.
When I’m healthy, I’m going to try to stay that way and to relish in each moment being able to breathe, to move and to think without crying.
When I’m sick? I guess I’ll learn.
Goshen News columnist Stephanie Price is a wife, mother, teacher, childbirth educator, doula, midwife’s assistant and student nurse pursuing a minor in complementary health. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org, 269-641-7249 or on Facebook at the page “Whole Family Column by Steph Price.”