Code blues. Resuscitations. Deteriorations. Cardiac monitor beeps. Whooshing sounds of 15 litres of oxygen per minute and suction unit. Chest compressions. Defibrillations. Intubations. Bagging. Blood tranfusions. Adrenaline. Dopamine. Arterial blood gases. Transfers to intensive care units. Demise. Demanding patients/next-of-kins. Raised voices. Interrogations. Frustration. Helplessness. At complete loss. Service recovery. Difficult doctors. Delayed treatment. Communication breakdowns. Ineffective teamwork. Blame games. Emotions running high and wild. Anger. Impatience. Disillusionment. Bottom of food chain. Inevitable mistakes. Steep learning curve. Checklists. Competencies. Work politics. Tension between colleagues. Terrible workloads. Insufficient time. Going home late. Hunger. Thirst. Empty stomachs. Full bladders. Near hypoglycemia. Pain. More pain. Torment. Lack of sleep. Fatigued. Sighing in resignation.
At the end of the day though, i am smiling. I love what i do, and i do what i love. I am most blessed.
I’d like to say that it’s been terrifically awesome, but that’d be a blatant lie of course. It has been trying in so many aspects- physically, emotionally and psychologically- that i don’t even know how i’ve pulled through without relapsing or regressing.
I have my now poorly-controlled RA with its endless flares, joints that didn’t agree with my attempts to save the lives of my patients (it took me more than 2 weeks to recover from one resuscitation, and my back has been aggravated since then with no respite), and the accompanying morning stiffness and fatigue. The pain was inhibiting me. I’ve had far too many moments of wanting to call in sick. There has been so much anger, so much frustration. That RA is in the way. That it makes me less of a nurse, no matter how hard i tried. I couldn’t even meet my own needs, how could i do so for my patients?
I have had escalations, near-misses from being pulled out of work, panic attack(s) (and very nearly agoraphobia), increased anxiety, labile moods, tears at work and tears in the dark, struggles with Nina and ongoing debates between my sane mind and irrationality, and all the while maintaining maximum functioning at work. Oh and that facade too.
I have had high expectations set upon me. I have had disappointments. I made mistakes. I’ve said ‘sorry’ once too many. I felt like i was going at breakneck speed, that crashing was inevitable. I feared, and i feared a lot. For my sanity, for my life, that i was utterly undeserving, and that i was a complete failure. I coped in all my maladaptive ways- the stress was piling on fast and furious. There was no other way, it seemed. I had wished that i could stop. I had wished i wasn’t such an ‘overachiever’ and ‘perfectionist’.
But through all of these, i am still here. I am still the nurse i’ve always wanted to be. I am making real progress, despite all my struggles. I cannot tell if it’ll get even better. I cannot tell if i won’t regress. I try to live in the ‘here and now’. I try to give my utmost, and sometimes (most of the time actually), it won’t be enough. I try to be ok with that without being self-defeated. And maybe, with the help and support of my treatment team, i’ll truly be ok afterall.
I should be so lucky. God is good, and His grace and mercy are relentless.
“But by the grace of God i am what i am,
and His grace toward me was not in vain.”
1 Corinthians 15:10
“May those who sow in tears reap with shouts of joy!”