Tuesday, May 05, 2009

A journey long and strange.

Seven hundred posts ago, I started blogging. That was April 25th of 2004. There was one post previous to that, but I think I deleted it, as it was the typical first post of the new blogger.

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.


steph6138 said...

Thanks for staying around, and unbeknowst to you, guiding me through my first year and a half in the ER after 9 years of nursing.

You rock.

Anonymous said...

I hardly ever comment, but can't let 700 posts pass without saying thanks. I haven't worked in a hospital for more years than I care to remember, but I read your blog, and miss the daft, cynical, twisted, bitter and fantastic people that I used to work with.

It is entirely true that you rock. And you have fine taste in beer.


Anonymous said...

Wonderful post....

Anonymous said...

"five years of loving what I do, both work-wise and blog-wise"

Thank you, God! I was frantically reading this post, fearing that you were announcing the end of this blog.

Phew. So glad you are merely marking the milestone.

L'chaim - (clink)


Tiffany - Potential Nursing Student said...

Wow - I've been researching Nursing blogs and reading what you all have to say while considering signing up for an online nursing program...

I am continually shocked by the incredible level of honesty that Nurses seem to offer the world in general.

It's scary, and yet enticing, to read blog posts like this one... can I really handle this? I'm not sure...

Dr. Alice said...

Yours is one of the few healthcare blogs I really want to read. Congratulations on five years and keep on truckin'. The patients need you and we need you too.

Bardiac said...

Thank you :)

Penny Mitchell said...

Also, since you started this blog I've read gotten to words like "diuresing" and actually know what they mean. And you've held my hand. Lots and lots and lots.

And I love you. Lots and lots and lots.

Deanna Bland Hiott PhD, MSN, RN said...

Congratulations, both for your career and your blog! :)

shrimplate said...


yellowrose said...

I'm an oldtimer and have done such a variety of nursing, its hard to believe. Its great to hear from someone who is outside my current small nursing world. I just found this a few months ago and enjoy it greatly, as well as some of the blogs you've linked to. Love your politics and honesty. I may need to start blogging. Things I think tend to pop out of my mouth at inopportune times. Maybe if I blogged honestly I would learn to shut my mouth.

woolywoman said...

Life is good, yes?

#1 Dinosaur said...


Anonymous said...

I love to read what you have to say.

Kim said...

I'm a newcomer to your blog, but it's wonderful reading and refreshingly frank! Thanks for sticking with it. It's inspiring to a potential nurse - not in a "ooh passionate" way but in a "hey, here's what to expect" kind of way.

AzRN said...

wow, congratulations. i've been a nurse 16 years and still would never want your job. thank God for you and the job you do (i'll take the oncology patients).

Deana said...

A huge thank you.

I just became a nurse at the age of 39 after having multiple other careers. I'm overwhelmed and terrified at all times when I'm not delighted or bewildered by a patient, another nurse, a doctor, a therapist, a family member, or some mixture of all the above.

I'm just scared. I realize I don't know what I'm doing and that people must think I'm not very smart.

And then I realize that most people in this field have been where I am. You are one of the people who make me remember that.

I thank you for all that you do. It means a lot and helps more than you know.

Rat said...

You were there then...you are here now. Many years passed inbetween, but who's counting. I'm very proud of who you have become, and very happy that you are here now. Congradulations on your 5 years.

Beauty Wonkette said...

You GO, girl! ^5s

Sara said...

thank you for posting this. your patients might not communicate this to you, but you are making a difference, in the lives of the patients and in the lives of your blog readers.

Anonymous said...

Let's go for another five. I'm ready for the book to come out, so post when it's ready. I'll save up to buy a copy or two for my nurse-buds.

Thanks for putting it all out there for us. You're the best.

And BTW, good luck on that remodel. I've got one going now that's 50% overbudget and 200% over schedule. But who's counting? May yours go well.