My patient was nineteen years old. (I was at the ripe old age of twenty-four at the time.) We had connected nurse to patient. He showed me his sketchbook, his drawings. He expressed hope. He loved his parents.
I had aced this rotation, and my nursing care plan dictated a successful patient outcome. How could this happen? How could he vanquish my hopes for his success and shatter my shallow understanding of mental illness?
He had bipolar disorder, a chronic disease that has touched my world both personally and professionally many times throughout the years. To honor these individuals–and to help me cope–I’ve collected positive memories. With these reminders, I can picture them in all their beauty . . .
-“The man with the golden backpack”
-“She made you an aunt”
-“He knows everything about operas, and man can he sing!”
-“The love of her life”
-“His jet black hair”
My hope is no longer vanquished.