Just over five years and seven hundred posts. Wow.
In five years, I've become ACLS and stepdown qualified. I've learned how to level ventriculostomies and fix broken lumbar drains. I can tell when diabetes insipidus is coming and when a patient's just diuresing from surgery. I can handle a brain coming out of its confines into the open air, a patient with a fever of 104-plus, wounds that pop open, people that fall, seizures, heart attacks, and strokes.
I've said goodbye to five classes of surgeons who've gone on to practicing independently, and I've said goodbye to at least that many colleagues who've died unexpectedly.
I've held people who were dying in my arms, sometimes in order to turn them and sometimes because they just needed comfort.
I've been hit, kicked, cussed at, spit on, thrown up on, shit on, peed on, and generally frazzled by the needs of hundreds of people, a minority of whom were in full control of their faculties.
I've argued with, cried with, drunk coffee with, and commiserated with doctors and other nurses.
I've considered going back to waiting tables more than once.
I've answered hundreds of emails from other nurses and nursing students.
Once, as I put my hand on a dying patient's chest to say goodbye, I felt her heart stop.
Once, after a long, tricky surgery, I got the honor of letting a pregnant woman hear her fetus's heartbeat for the first time after she came out of anesthetic.
I have commuted more miles than I care to count and gone up three scrub sizes. I've made a lot of friends, some of whom were patients and some of whom weren't. I haven't made, I'm glad to say, too many enemies.
I've fallen out of love, in love, out of love, in love....my personal life has been like the drive thru at an In-N-Out Burger.
I held one cat while she was dying and welcomed two more fur-suited terrorists into my house a few months later. I re-acquired a big shaggy loveable dog, the only thing I missed from my marriage.
I bought a house, helped ChefBoy rebuild the bathroom, painted everything in different brilliant colors, and am getting ready to do the painting thing again.
I've reviewed beers, mascaras, toothpaste, frozen pizza, and shoes.
I've sprained my ankle once, had at least three bouts of stomach flu, two cases of flu-flu, and gone up on my dose of antidepressants.
I've gotten off the Pill.
I'm facing dating again at nearly forty.
Five years ago, after I'd been a nurse for not-quite-a-year, I still prayed every day that I wouldn't kill or injure anyone during my shift. I don't do that any more. Instead, I pray that somebody, at some point during my shift, will feel like I made a difference. Once in a while my prayer gets answered, when a patient tells me that I gave her hope, or made him feel better, or believed her when she said she hurt.
I have more wrinkles now, and more pounds. I'm cynical and twisted and bitter sometimes. Occasionally I give up hope for a few minutes. Very occasionally you might see me leaning my head against the cool marble facade of the lobby, praying that I can make it through the rest of my shift and still want to come back in the morning.
And I still love what I do. I said a couple of posts ago that I felt like a fish finally dropped into water, and that's true today. I opened a tiny bottle of very good champagne just now and am celebrating five years of loving what I do, both work-wise and blog-wise.
This blog would not have survived as long as it has, and I would not have survived as long as I have in this business, had it not been for people who read, emailed, commented, and sometimes ranted at me or corrected my mistakes. Thank you. I can't say any more than that: you guys are the reason I am still here.