Tonight my husband came home 8 hours later than we had expected. The relief nurse didn’t show up and there were emergencies and problems tying him up. Other people’s problems. That’s the thing about nurses: they spend their entire day caring about problems when people are in the most susceptible places. I didn’t like that he couldn’t come home at lunchtime, but it was okay. Four o’clock wouldn’t be so bad. Then I got the text that he was going to be detained until 7:00 and that meant not going to church tonight. When he told me that he got to help stabilize a critically ill child, I was really glad I hadn’t spent any energy being mad about the hours. Sometimes I do that, you know.
A while ago I wrote this list and was reminded of it tonight. I would make a horrible nurse. It isn’t my gift. But I have observed my husband as he exercises his gift and I feel some recognition is due. So here you go,
Five Things You May Not Know About Nurses
- Nurses work extremely hard. They routinely take more than the 10,000 steps recommended for daily fitness. That is five miles, by the way. They lift tons of people and I mean that literally. They do this in 12 hour shifts with about 1/2 hour break if they are lucky. They work at night and on holidays and on weekends when everybody else is out camping. One time another lady and I were discussing packing lunches for our husbands and she mentioned that I probably don’t have to pack as much food as if he were working hard. Well. I didn’t tell her how often he didn’t even have time to eat the stuff I packed because other people’s needs were more important than his own. Nurses are knackered when they get home. They need food and drink. They deserve to use the bathroom in peace, take a long hot shower. It is best to wash off all traces of MRSA.
- Nurses really do enjoy sticking in IV’s but nobody wants to hit that vein the first time more than they do. That is why they like to stroke your arms, looking for good veins. It’s a funny way to show affection and practice their craft at the same time. If you have great veins, you will occupy a special little place in their hearts. If you don’t have good veins, you represent a challenge, and they can think of lots of places to try next while you shiver in horror. Probably I wouldn’t need to mention this, but I have an extreme aversion to needles.
- Nurses have an unorthodox sense of humor. “Hey Hon, come check out this neat Youtube clip,” instantly raises suspicion after just one look at “World’s Biggest Booger” or “Boil Popping on Back of Neck”. I mean, ewwwww. One can never un-see these things. It is my opinion that this dark humor is a way to cope with all the yuck and gore, a chance to laugh at things that are even stranger than the stuff they dealt with that day.
- Nurses have vast repertoires of interesting stories, most of which you will never hear because of patient confidentiality. They might tell you about the patient who was crawling with bugs or the man who had no idea who he was, but you have a much better chance of finding out on Facebook that your friend was in the hospital than from that friend’s nurse. And that fear that women have, that somehow the nurses will leak how much they weigh? Not even a chance. They value their jobs and the patient’s dignity much more than that. As a nurse’s spouse, I really don’t find out much about his work unless I listen to the stories when a bunch of nurses get together. That is when the tales come forth that would make a stoic sniffle. Or a maggot gag. It just depends on what is being discussed. You can’t really shock a nurse, and they aren’t afraid to talk about anything when with their own kind.
- Nurses are not in it for the money. This is a myth that I would like to dispel. The vast majority of people wouldn’t even touch this work without a lot more pay. It may be a cliche, but it’s true: Nurses are kind souls. They are trained to cheerfully respond to the irritating person who is constantly ringing the bell for attention. They change diapers on adults. They have to be able to care about their patients, yet expect little thanks. Many times they provide care for those who are dying and carefully explain what is happening to distraught family members. These are not really things one does for money. When a patient returns to the hospital, healthy and full of gratefulness, thanking their health care providers for attending their needs in a vulnerable time, it makes a nurse’s day. That is why they do what they do. They really like to help people.
This is my favorite nurse. I am so grateful that he is using his gift to help bring healing and comfort to the world. (The schedule does stink, though, but that is just my personal opinion.)