seem to be the catchwords these days. There are, at any given time, several bugs going around that are contagious, HOWEVER, due to the unusually warm weather this winter season, the bugs (and not just the flu ones) are winning the war. It’s funny how, when someone is sick, all the lessons they learned as a child (such as covering their mouth when they cough) just fly out the window. I have been coughed on, spit on, puked on and, as of today, hit on (though that is, unfortunately, not contagious hahaha).
I never really intended on being a nurse, but for some odd reason, I seem to have a knack for it. I am not a people person. Might as well admit it. Through the harsh experiences in my life that God had decided I needed to face, however, I have been given an arsenal of ways to relate to people facing crisis.
I still wake up every morning wishing I could spend the day looking for photographs to take, but that is not the turn my life took. I went to school and studied things that grossed me out on many, many levels and, got kicked out of the OR by a very irritated surgeon; at some point, though, was able to actually practice (mostly without gagging) what I had learned. I hate germs, hair and skin cells. They make me want to run for cover, so I ask myself over and over why I became a nurse. The answer is one that doesn’t please me, but the truth is often a bitter pill to swallow; I became a nurse because I didn’t have the nerve or courage to be what, in the depths of my soul, I wanted to be.
Ironically, there is a survey that everyone in the place I work has to fill out. Thankfully, we don’t have to put our names on it because one of the questions is “do I get to do what I do best every day”. The answer is no. I don’t get to photograph nature and life and I do not, on any level, consider making a note in a patient’s chart using medical jargon and words that I am pleased to not only know the meaning to, but know how to spell (such as costochondritis, hyperemisis and macrocytosis), writing. But even so, I don’t discount the sheer magnitude of the moment when someone who is in need says to me “you have put my mind at ease” or “I am thankful for you”. Those times almost (not completely, but almost) make me feel guilty for not wanting to be a nurse for the rest of my life.
I have, more than once, as any of my friends can tell you, been in a position where I needed to have my own mind put at ease. As recently as the last two days, if I am to be honest. I find that I treat patients the way I want my parents to be treated and often spend more time than I should trying to fix an unfixable problem. Doing so is like hitting my head against a wall again and again, but I simply don’t have the mindset to do something halfway. All or nothing, whether I love it or not, is just the way I roll. It is a blessing to know that, along the way, I can give back what has been given to me; that I can relate, even in the really bad stuff, and give someone a bit of peace by letting them know that I understand. And, too often for my own comfort, I do understand. It is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because I can bring some peace to a single, solitary soul, and a curse because I often wish, without guile, that I were anywhere but where I am at the moment.
Knowing that I am relevant in peoples’ lives doesn’t cure the wanderlust or the need to write or the need to see or the need to photograph. Those things make me who I am and whether I am face to face with the flu bug or dodging vomit, or squinting my eyes shut as someone coughs directly in my face, it doesn’t change what I want to be. Just because I am good at what I do to earn a paycheck doesn’t mean that I want to keep doing it. I’ve been saying that for over twenty-five years and my reality, though sometimes skewed by moments of insanity, hasn’t changed. In my heart, I am a photographer and writer and that will not, even if those particular desires are never fulfilled, change. I still have my trail shoots. I still have my blog. I still have my dreams. I still have my faith. While I will continue to do what I do as long as I must do it, there is so much more I want to experience. Being an optimist, I have no doubt that the chance will come. Being a Sagittarius, I am just stubborn enough to wait for it. Being a follower of Jesus, I have the faith and patience to wait. Being a nurse, I at least know that, while I am waiting, I am accomplishing something that matters to someone.
So all of that being said, I remind everyone to wash your hands several times a day, change your clothes the minute you get home and for Heaven’s sake, don’t eat or drink after people; that is nasty even when you are well, even when it is people you love dearly. Remember, germs don’t care who you are, they are just glad when you are gullible enough to bring them into yourself, so protect yourself and run when necessary. Be well, be safe and follow your dreams, no matter where they may lead. I certainly intend to.
Hebrews 11:1 ~ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
Have you ever thought about taking some of your photography into the hospital- if agreeable to all parties. Some of the most moving and treasured photos I’ve seen have come from hospital rooms. Your work is beautiful- all of it- and I think you have an opportunity to touch people in new ways. Just a thought. Also sad for you that being hit on isn’t happening more often than bring sneezed on. 🙂