Normally, criticism doesn't bother me. Blame it on the codeine, 'cause I'm gonna answer my critics:
Lady (or Ladies), you don't want me to have compassion on this blog.
Why not? Because, if I'm compassionate here, it means one of two things:
1. I've not used up all my compassion on my patients.
2. I'm drunk.
Let's be real, People: You don't come here for compassion and warm fuzzies. It's like the man said--come for the stories, stay for the snark. And, honestly, who wants to read me tear my heart out over patients that've torn my heart out?
I could talk about walking down the hall with Darlene, her arm around my waist, as we discussed the best way to tell her eight-year-old daughter that Mom wasn't going to live much longer. I could talk about Velma, and how she cried about having to go to hospice, because her mind was still there though her body wasn't. Or I could tell you about Ben, who told me frankly over dinner that he was damned ready to die, but was holding on for the good of his wife and kids, who weren't ready to let him go yet.
But you don't want to hear about that. Nor do you want to hear about the 13-year-old girl with the horrendous congenital AVM that would likely kill her, whose toenails I painted the night before she went into surgery (all but one, so they could put a pulse ox on in the OR), so they'd be pretty for the surgeons. You don't particularly care about the fifteen-year-old boy whose Moya Moya had so screwed up his brain that I was the only one who could get him to consent to surgery, and only then after coming in early and rocking him on his bed like a baby. And I'm certain, as the mother of an eleven-year-old with an AVM, that you don't care about the time I summoned up all the crappy, rusty Danish I could muster to help comfort a dying woman who couldn't remember that she wasn't at home, in Copenhagen.
You'd rather hear the snark, and read the snappy lines. I don't blame you. If my working life were snappy lines and snark, it'd be something for ABC or FOX to run in a half-hour between family comedies. It wouldn't be what I live every day, where real people hurt, and die, and sometimes don't die...and those of us who are living are left to pick up the pieces.
This is an important point for those of us who blog, and those of us who nurse: People will criticize you for not being the constant comforting angel that they think you ought to be. To hell with them. The important thing is that you do what you are meant to do for those people who find themselves in your care.
That means you won't always be unsnarky when somebody wants you to be. You may not always want to talk about work when you get home. Sometimes, if you're a bit under the weather or a little too far into your cups, you might surprise your drinking companion with some heartbreaking story. The important thing is that when it counts, where it counts--with your patients--you aren't holding back.
I spend enough time questioning whether or not I did what was best for my patients. I spend hours after every work day going over every. damn. thing. I did. and trying to figure out if there were a way to say it better, do it more gently. In the middle of my day, I am a nurse. When I come home, I am a blogger. If the nurse part bleeds into the blogger part, it means I'm not doing my job--either job--well enough.
And so, critics, up yours. It's a shame you didn't read farther or dig deeper. I'm sorry for you, and I'm sorry for your kid--but I'm not sorry for my patients. What they get is the absolute best of what I have to give. What the blog gets is the cynical, tired leftovers.
Would you rather it be the other way 'round?