Earlier today I was thinking about the people I work with. I don’t mean my coworkers. I mean my patients. I have a good amount of younger patients whose situations are more than upsetting. I have a 30-year-old patient who is blind, cannot move on her own, is non-verbal, has to have tube feedings for nutrition, a Foley catheter to urinate, a tracheostomy to breathe, and is completely incontinent. I have a 31-year-old patient who has gastroparesis and has lost over 200 pounds in the last 6 years because of it. She now has a feeding tube and an emptying tube in her stomach so that she can receive the nutrients she needs and then empty the leftover contents of her stomach into a drainage bag. I have several patients with cancer. Several have been in terrible car accidents. I look at all these people and give thanks that I am able to do what I do everyday. Some days I feel worst than others; more pain, more fatigued, more unhappy. None of those days have been as bad as the ones people I’ve helped and am helping have been going through and have yet to face. I pray daily that I’ll never end up the way my patients have, but that’s never a certainty. Some days it’s harder than others, my moods fluctuate, my body decides not to cooperate, I hate myself one day and love myself the next. I try to be grateful for everything I have because I’m aware that in a moment it could all disappear. Too many of us believe that we can wait to say sorry, to talk to that person you’ve had a fight with later, to see that family member at the next event. Unfortunately, it’s not necessarily plausible to think that way. What if you wake up one day and find that the person you’ve been having a petty fight with is gone and you never got to spend a last happy moment with them? What if that person is fighting a physical or mental illness that nobody knows about? How would you feel? What would you do? Regret is one of the worst feelings in the world. Is a ridiculous fight worth it? Worth the pain, the rage, the time and effort? I don’t believe so. Say I love you. Say thank you. Say I forgive you. Say I’m sorry. Love each other. Be thankful. Be grateful. Be humble.
When will what I do be enough? This past week has been nothing but horror because of early mornings, running around, working, and catering to people. But apparently, because I wasn’t happy about doing all these things all week and was extremely exhausted…I’m a bad person. Apparently, not only do I have to cater to everyone’s wishes and whims, now I have to be pleasant and joyous while doing it. Just let me disregard my own self – my own exhaustion – and be a happy maid. That’s all I feel like I am to people here. I go to work a full 8 hour day in which I drive around most of the time and deal with sick people, I come home and have to cook, clean, do laundry, put clothes away, etc. How is that fair? I’m one that knows that life isn’t fair, however with two other grown adults in the house I expect people to be able to keep it clean without me having to say or do anything. I feel like I live with children. And then when someone else comes to visit (another family member), I get the shit end of the stick because I am not prancing around merrily doing things for everyone! So done.
I wonder when I will finally allow myself to say “enough”. Seriously. I can’t say that I am without sin. I will fully admit that I do act like an idiot and a bitch sometimes. But to lay hands on me? Again? I must be a complete lunatic to stay with someone who hurts me physically when he is angry. To be quite honest, I don’t feel safe with him anymore…and I haven’t in a long time. I’m never sure what will make him snap. I don’t know whether when I turn my back I’ll be hit because of something I say. I hate feeling this way. I always wanted a great relationship, a man who worships me and couldn’t even imagine hurting me. I got a knight in tinfoil. I got the man who thinks because I ask him to do things for me – I’m a bitch. I got the man who throws temper tantrums. I got the man who cancelled our wedding. I don’t know what to do.
I guess part of me just feels like if I leave him, I’ll never find anyone else.
I don’t think I’ve ever felt as useful as a registered nurse as I have lately. I finally feel like I have the time to give to each of my patients because I am not bombarded by tons of visits a day. My preceptor is amazing, she is really an inspiration. She cares so much about her patients and their families. In the past couple of weeks I’ve been able to perform things they don’t have us do in the hospital and things that I didn’t have to do at my last agency. Highlights have been: changing out a suprapubic catheter, changing a Foley catheter, setting up tube feedings, working on tracheotomy patient’s, etc. True, some things I listed are done in the hospital by nurses, but I haven’t had the opportunity to do them in the home and it is exciting! I am going to be taking blood in the home for lab tests, putting in IVs, giving IV medications, taking down chemotherapy, performing all types of wound care, taking PT/INR with the CoAguChek machine, etc. I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited or happy. Most of my co-workers are fantastic and my preceptor is becoming a friend to me and that makes me relieved and happy because in NYC you don’t get a lot of friendship – especially in the home care field. The orientation period is long but it is extremely worthwhile. I absolutely love that we shadow and work with a seasoned nurse for 3 months. It helps immensely. You can only learn so much in a classroom. The best part is that my preceptor told me today that I am her favorite orientee because we are so similar and I learn so quickly (although that might be because I’ve done home care before). Either way, I feel enthusiastic with this new job. I feel like I can flourish. I feel like they actually care – especially about family matters and work-life balance. In my previous job, I would work at home until 10, 11, 12 o’clock at night and no one cared – it was expected. Here, they want you to be finished with everything by 5PM. If you work after 5PM you have to give a good reason and you’ll get a talking to from your supervisor, because it is not supposed to happen! They want you to be able to have a family and social life. That is such a far cry from most places! Needless to say, I am happy I chose this company to work for…and the funniest part is, I didn’t want to be in home care again! Interesting.
Do you ever feel as though the life you’re living isn’t the one you are meant for? I feel that often. Growing up, I had great dreams of the future and how my life would turn out – as we all do. I thought I’d be content and happy with the person I was with, it would be a fairytale romance. I thought I’d have a job that made me love what I do, one that I’d jump out of bed and be excited for on the daily. I thought by now I’d have gone on vacations and trips with friends that I’d known for years. I thought I’d be pregnant by now, or had a child. None of it has come to volition.
I was told early on in my life that I would never be happy. Unfortunately, that so far has been the truth. Mostly I believe my unhappiness stems from unrecognized high hopes and discontent. I look at my husband a lot of the time and feel nothing. No happiness, no fun, no love. Our past has definitely shaped our present and his attitude has changed to the point of me not even wanting to be with him. I wonder a lot whether I should leave, whether my initial feelings for him were just fleeting and whether I rushed into marriage because I’m afraid of being alone. Then another part tells me that it’s not true – that I do love him and would be lost without him. That he’s my true other half. But there is only so much a person can take. I want to have fun, talk about anything and everything again, do things that don’t cost anything and enjoy ourselves. It seems like a far-fetched dream.
By now I figured I’d own my own home. A cute cottage home or a Victorian (my dream). Yet I am currently renting an apartment with my husband, sister-in-law, and her children. The house never stays clean and I’m the only one who ever cleans it anyway. I feel as though my hard work is often for naught because no one helps me maintain anything. I never wanted to rent – especially not for this long because I feel it’s a waste of money. There are rules and regulations: you can’t paint the walls, you can only have two pets, you can’t plant any sort of flowers, don’t make too much noise, etc. I can’t wait to save up enough for a real house. Although even that nowadays feels foolish. For a house, you should have kids, no? Sometimes I want to save all my money and just go on vacation all the time. That would be fantastic! Again, just a dream.
I look on the bright side as much as possible though. I have food in my belly, money in my bank account, a roof over my head, and people who love me. That’s all I can do – look on the bright side and find the silver lining.
That is all.
I had a fantastic time growing up. Why? All thanks to my parents. They always have been my fiercest advocates. I’ve grown up knowing what life should be. Their expectations of me were never more than I could accomplish, and I think that’s the biggest reason that I am now a successful and well-rounded young adult. While other kids were playing in the park, we had our own pool. While other kids were going to Florida to spend time with their grandparents, uncles, aunts, etc., I was sent to Switzerland and Hungary to spend my time with family. I was always extremely lucky to have the experiences I did growing up. I feel that it gave me a cosmopolitan view of the world. I had the opportunity to become who I am today because of my parents. I cannot thank them enough.
So what’s with the above photo? Well, since I have “left the nest” and gotten married, I feel more weighed down than anything. I look back on old photos and cannot believe how much time has passed me by. So many times, I am not even sure where all the time went. I’m not able to recall what I’ve done in those days/minutes/hours/weeks/months/years that have passed. Pictures are my friend and my enemy. They are bittersweet reminders of the past. I know you’re supposed to look back on old times and feel happy…although I think the best explanation of that bittersweet feeling is from Inside Out. Most memories are tinged with sadness because they are moments in life that you will never get back or experience again. I definitely feel that way about a lot of my past.
Time does not travel faster than a day at a time, but those days seem to flow away like the ocean retreating from the sand. I try to live my life to fullest, however, I don’t feel as if I am nowadays. What I imagined for my life is a far cry from what I received. Man plans, God laughs. Each day that passes seems to me like wasted time. When I am at work, I feel like I am wasting my life away for money that I don’t get to use for fun things, but instead for bills. When I am home, I sit in front of the television watching shows about people I don’t know, doing things that are much more interesting than my day-to-day. When I go out, I don’t want that time to end because it feels like the most I’ll be able to do all week due to employment and other responsibilities. I realize that maybe I am not normal, that maybe my brain chemistry is off kilter and I might need to go see a psychiatrist…but I don’t want to be medicated into a stupor – not knowing what I am doing and when for the rest of my life. Talk about wasting time. If it were up to me, I’d always be traveling. There is nothing more enjoyable to me than travel. Seeing new places, eating new foods, meeting new people. That would be my living life to the fullest experience. Time travels on and we can’t be stagnant, we need to move and change and enjoy our lives. We all need to live our lives to the fullest because we all only get one.