Thursday, October 16, 2014
Sunday, August 31, 2014
I sit here writing this post, surrounded by closets that are half cleaned out, with garbage bags strewn throughout most of the house, half filled as I sift through the fabric of my life. Old bills, photos, and half finished projects that were abandoned because I have trouble concentrating. File cabinets full of outdated school documents, greeting cards received over the past 30 years or more. A small stack of letters and cards from a favorite aunt now gone, cards from Christmases and birthdays past with small notes that are about all I have left of my dad. Cards that made me laugh, from my college graduations, posters from Stevie Wonder's 60th birthday, framed photos of the grandkids that I was waiting to hang until I painted...several years ago. On and on the list goes. I am overwhelmed, with the size of the task I have taken on, and also with the emotions I feel as I sift through things from my past. I reorganize, gritting my teeth and throwing out things I know I kept for a reason, but can't remember why I did as I look at this "stuff".
I'm making some progress, knowing I have tomorrow off to bring some semblance of order to my closets, and thinking about where I am in life right now. I recently decided to go back to acute care nursing, as a ceritified wound care nurse. I signed up for a semester class online, my first ever. It horrified me that the first night of class, when I spent the last hour before orientation started desperately trying to figure out how to sign on (I am NOT a novice with computers or software), that maybe I had bitten off too much, and maybe I should have reconsidered before sinking such a large amount of money into such a big step, maybe I was getting too old to try something new. I was getting deeper and deeper into a worry state, when I found an article I had saved.
Called "The Quality of Mercy" it details one working day in the life of a couple of nurses and a doctor, including what it feels like to be the patient in the bed. Told simply, it is a deeply moving article written by Joyce and Richard Wolkomir, with photographs that give a very real feel to the world of nurses and the people in their care. It was published in the April 1998 issue of Smithsonian Magazine.
I held the article in my hands, not sure if I should throw it away or not. I had so much stuff to get rid of, and really needed to make a big dent in the cleaning out. I decided to read it one more time before I tossed it. I settled on the couch and began to read. As I read I found myself nodding my head. With almost 20 years of experience as a nurse, I was no novice, and could relate to one nurse in particular, who had become a nurse "to be of use". That was when I realized something else was happening.
My fear and worry about the step I had taken back to learning had disappeared. I became a nurse to help people, to try to make some small difference in their lives. I realized that I still believed that, and still felt as passionate about nursing as the first day of the first shift I worked as a nurse. I also realized there was no age limit to working, or to learning. I could only be held back by my own fears.
I finished the article and put it in my "to be saved" items. I will read it again someday I am sure. It reminds me why I became a nurse, helps to bring back my focus.
I got up and moved back to sorting through the stuff of my life.