Not What I Expected
As I struggled my way through nursing school, I never expected my first job as a nurse to feel like this; I was too busy dreaming of the day when I could hold the title of Registered Nurse.
I never expected to come home crying. I never expected that, at times, I’d mumble the words “I hate my job.” I never expected many of the challenges I face daily–but here I am, six weeks into my first hospital job, fighting to make it. Here I am, figuring out what it means to be a nurse, learning what to expect.
It is early afternoon, and I have just finished administering my last midday medication. I emerge from the patient’s room to find that five call bells are buzzing; there is no other nurse or aide in sight. I begin to wonder if everyone is purposely disappearing in order to test the new kid.
Drifting Along the River’s Current
After pausing for a few seconds, the palliative care nurse turned toward me.
“Our guest in Room 5 is active, and I haven’t been able to get in touch with his children.”
Put to the Test
A Bad Dream
Last night I dreamt that New York City was gone–that it had disappeared into a billowy horizon. I was walking on some unknown highway and looked over my shoulder and saw nothing but grey-white layers of clouds. No blue sky. No brown earth. No Big Apple. A real nightmare.
I woke to huge snowflakes dropping from the sky. My family is safe. But I am sad and scared. I can taste the fear, and I don’t like it.
Corona, Contagion, Confusion
A Poem a Day for Good Health
On Leap Day this year, I was at the beautiful Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Michigan. In the gift shop, I saw a booklet of 30 postcards featuring photos of the park–nature scenes, sculptures, the Japanese Garden, etc. It gave me an idea for a writing project during the month of March. I bought the booklet and every day this month I am writing a short poem reflective of the photograph on the postcard, working my way through the booklet. I then choose a stamp that fits the scene and put the postcard in the mail to myself.
The Pandemic – A Medical Student’s Perspective
I first heard about COVID-19 in January. My husband, a fellow physician, read to me about it from a news article. On the third day in a row as he read aloud about the epidemic, I asked him to stop. It was hard to appreciate his daily updates when all I wanted to do was throw up due to the severe morning sickness I was experiencing in my first trimester of pregnancy. After all, it was just in China, right? Too far away to worry about.
Social Distancing To and From China
On recent flights to and from China, I had two different experiences of isolation and contagion.
Flying over, I was upgraded to business class. Cocooned in our own little fully reclining enclaves, my isolated, entitled fellow travelers and I interacted only with the attendants solicitously serving us. It was self-indulgently pleasant, and with the help of melatonin and a hearty meal, I got seven hours of sleep and arrived feeling like the world should continue to cater to me.