Carol. Or Marcie. Or Kristen. Or Justin. Or Brandon. Or John. Or Tita. Or Lidia. Or David. Or Aimee.
And that nurse taught me everything I ever needed to know about IV starts. Or dealing with difficult patients. Or dealing with difficult coworkers. Or handling death. Or handling survival. Or just surviving a shift.
Once upon a time, there was a unit secretary named Harriet. Or Girlie. Or Mary. Or Joanna. Or Marlene.
And that unit secretary taught me everything I know about finding the answers to tricky problems. Or about who to call when something breaks. Or about who to call when nobody else can fix something. Or about how to MacGyver something when nobody's around.
Once upon a time, there was a housekeeper named Shirley. Or Larry. Or Lisa. Or Gary. Or Richard. Or Daphne.
And they taught me how to put the bag into the trashcan so it didn't fall down halfway through the shift. And how to get that weird stain out of my patient's pajamas, and who to call when I needed a lightbulb, and how to fix the drain in 18 when it just would not drain.
Once upon a time there was a biomed guy, or a maintenance guy, or a woman from food service, or some person from the concierge.
And even if I didn't get their name at the time, they taught me how to avert disaster by either rebooting some monitor somewhere by doing some obscure Ancient Technology dance, or they helped me manage somebody's diet when they were about to order out for KFC, or they brought me the paper some family member was yelling for with a minute's warning.
Once upon a time there were patients: sick people, or people who only had one thing wrong with them, or people who were just plain old, or people who were far, far too young to deal with the things that they had to deal with.
And they taught me about being decent, and patient, and having humor even when you look like a goblin and things fucking suck, and loving yellow flowers and always wearing pearls, and not flipping out when you have a downturn in your diagnosis, and finally, living and dying the way you want to, with dignity and humor.
For all those people I give thanks.