Confessions of a human nurse
I will stumble/I will fall down/But I will not be moved/I will make mistakes/I will face heartache/But I will not be moved ("I Will Not Be Moved," Natalie Grant)
"I could never do what you do." Or so I've been told more times then I can count when people find out I'm a nurse. Especially if they ask for specifics of what I do. The details tend to make people a little…squeamish. What gets lost in the grossness is my weakness. I can coax an intestine back into an abdominal cavity, deal with a hemorrhaging head wound or uncontrolled vomiting, seizures, psychotic breakdowns, screaming patients, angry family members and even equipment failures. If that's the "never do" I can do it.
But nursing is not just the blood and guts, trauma and heroic rescues. It's death and destruction, abuse and failure. It's watching a self-created human train wreck and being helpless to stop it. It's losing your mind in a back room before smiling through a shift because you can't explain to patient B that patient A just broke your heart by her choices. It's crying yourself to sleep at night and praying to what seems like silence after a day of death. It's hating death with every ounce of your being so that you can get back up the next day and go to work when your eyes are swollen from crying. It's turning grief and fear into fire and determination and an iron will. It's spending hours training, researching and learning to become better, stronger, faster. It's learning to flip a switch in your brain between work and the rest of life so that, ironically, you don't lose your sanity.
It's learning to fight. Every day. Over and over again until one day you win. Even if just for that day.
Yoda told young Anakin, "Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to the dark side." Nurses can follow the same path, only our dark side is bitterness, cynicism and burn out. Or we can convert that anger into an iron will that lets us do what others could "never do."
We're not special, but by God's grace we can be as stubborn as the gates of Hell we stare down every day.