Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Sometimes I hate my job...

First, let me explain. On Orthopedics, I usually see people pretty battered, but usually fixed up, and walking out the front door. The last few weeks, we have had numerous people admitted who come in with a fracture, and then receive the news that they found a "spot of interest" on the x-rays. Lately, this has been cancer.

An oncology nurse will be exposed to these people everyday, and therefore get a sense of "comfort" around cancer patients, meaning they will know what to say to them, and how to offer support. One of my patients received the devastating news yesterday, and today found out that it was inoperable.
She began the day with "I got some bad news yesterday." I knew what was coming, but didn't really figure it would work into my normal morning routine. As she told me the news, her eyes welled up with tears, and her voice began to tremble. I just held her hand, and told her that with today's technology anything was still possible. Now I know that we are professionals, but I am human first. As I was telling her this, my eyes filled with tears too. I'm sure everybody knows someone who has been hit by cancer. I told her that I would do everything possible to make her stay with us a comfortable as possible, and to ask any questions that she or her family had. Doctors are notorious for walking into a room, telling a patient some bad news, then excusing themselves as if nothing happened. We the nurses are left to do the damage control, and personally I wouldn't have it any other way. This is the hardest part of my job, but the most necessary as far as I'm concerned...

I consider myself lucky to be able to give this lady some hope and some laughter, even if it's for a short while. Sometimes I really hate my job, but sometimes I really love it too.

8 comments:

Rock Chef said...

As I have said before - keep up the great work, the medical profession needs people who care.

As you probably know, we have had dealings with cancer - recently lost my MIL to breast cancer after fighting for 10 years against a form that usually kills in 1 year, while my father has survived bowl cancer and a tumour on his optical nerve!

As you say, anything IS possible and keeping hope alive is the first, most important step, and you are a vital part of that step.

mr zig said...

Dude, I gotta say, I don't think I could ever do what you do! - Dealing with that aspect of the job... geesh! Mega respect man, that is some deep stuff to deal with "on the job". I guess it takes a certain type of person for sure!

mike said...

Reading this immediately brought back emotions of when dad was first diagnosed. You're an awesome nurse, I saw that first hand when you were there for my family.

Ali said...

There is a reason why all your patients love you - sometimes too much ;) - you are a wonderful nurse.
You've got the stuff baby, I'm sure all your patients appreciate your gift of the gab and quick wit.

Logziella said...

Okay...now my eyes are welled up with tears too! You sound like such a great guy to be able to sympathize with that woman. Many men could not do that. To me, it makes you more of a man. Ali is certainly lucky to have you.

As far as your job...you sound awesome at it. Laughter is the best medicine and I am sure you provide a lot of that kind of medicine too. I wish all nurses were as kind and sympathetic as you.

Chris said...

Aw, thanks for your kind words guys (and gals). I'm blushing....

Rock Chef said...

But you can't tell us it is not all true!

Reggie said...

I have prayed with people as clergy when our pastor was gone. I felt so inadequate as an elder in the church. Some died and some lived. I feel for you.