but i’m blessed to be both a patient and a nurse

i am physically and thoroughly tired from my relentless insomnia and the fatigue from RA and fibromyalgia.

since deciding that i’ll be putting down yet another love of my life, my mood hasn’t been to great. on one hand, it’s an emancipation, on the other, it’s grief. how many times do i have to put down the things i love because i have to make choices that i do not have to make if i am not in my situation (of having RA and depression)?

i had only an off day after 7 straight days of shift work, and i chose to go out to the sea to paddle. i paddled 3.5km to paddle away all my stress, but alas it wasn’t enough. i enjoyed myself though,and i tried out a touring board, which i liked a lot.

i crawled back to work today. disheartened. i’m just like that. i admit i desire instant gratification. but i know i need time to discern. told myself to be patient with myself, and to keep praying.

i had a patient today who was terrified of tramadol because it makes her vomit, although she really needed it because she was visibly in pain. she already had 2 IV anti-emetics on board. i had to beg her to take the tramadol, although i told myself i would still respect her decision. i don’t like to bring my own medication background when i talk to my patients, but with her, i needed to. for me, helping and caring for her was to relief her of her pain. so i shared with her my experiences with tramadol, from when i first had to try it when i was 17. with metoclopramide and all, beyond 100mg makes me nauseous. i told her i understood that even the 50mg she should take would make her very nauseous. it took me 2 over years of being nauseated to get used to it, with little anti-emetics to tide me through. then i shared with her that now i also take ondansetron with 150mg of tramadol, that tramadol still affects me till today. but i had to reassure her she had 2 IV anti-emetics of metoclopramide and ondansetron to cover her, and that we nurses will be prudent in making sure she’ll get her anti-emetics in time. i spent more than 30 minutes talking to her before she agreed. and i’m glad she gave in to the tramadol.

for the rest of my shift, she was pain-free and relatively free from nausea. she appeared much happier. ate all her food for the first time in 4 days. she’s a Christian, and because of the complexity and complications of her stay, i told her i’ll keep her in my prayers.

and then i am reminded again today of the difference i can make as a nurse and as a patient. so many times within this 1.5 months in the new hospital, have i shared my experiences to make a difference in my patients, no matter how small. i won’t say i am special. i am just that blessed to be a patient and a nurse at the same time.

this was how i held on. that no matter how sad i was, i could still make a difference to my patients. with my patients, they give me life, as much as i give them life (if they perceive so). they are my Bread and they sustain me. but once i walk away i am nothing. i’m just a person who wants-to-do-everything, and a person who-always-says-yes, and a person who-cannot-say-enough-is-enough, and a person who-wants-to-please-everybody.

it’s tearing me apart. just talking about it on Whatsapp to a friend had me crying on the bus. i grief for long periods. i haven’t gotten over RA. i haven’t gotten over giving up ballet which is one of the loves of my life. and now, nursing… yes it’s my choice this time again. but from all the insight i’ve gained in 5 years, it would be more than foolish of me to continue to fight when i was already wounded to begin with.

i’ve done my best. i’ve tried my best. i’ve given it my all despite everything- all the illnesses and unimaginable admissions and treatments. and God forgive me, that i am not doing Your will. but this sea of sadness is becoming an ocean. i need to overcome it before it drowns me out.

i have so many dreams. i have 5-year, 10-year, 20-year goals. i want to make changes happen so that patients will benefit. i want to make changes so that healthcare in Singapore can improve. i have so many dreams. but oh well. i told my friend, that one day, i’ll be back. once i’m much better.

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