My son had surgery to repair a deviated septum and some sinus issues and for good measure, the ENT decided to yank out those pesky tonsils along as he was under general anesthesia. When they brought me back to the step-down recovery area, I giggled a little. Yeah, I’m a jerk. But it was kind of amusing to see 3 little tiny under 6 year old kids who’d had tonsillectomies or dental surgeries performed and then this 6’3″ fifteen-year old with his feet hanging off the end of the gurney because they don’t usually operate on kids his size in the Pediatrics wing. But then the amusement left as I saw my (not-so) little baby with blankets wrapped around his head and shoulders because he’d been shivering so in the operating room. He’s always cold. And then when he started to come to and he was hurting and couldn’t focus his eyes, struggling to say “water” and whimpering when he swallowed. I just wanted to climb up next to him and hold him.
So now that I’m home and setting alarms to dispense meds every three hours and halfway between each of those scheduled alarms I’m answering his pages (he bangs on the wall in his room to alert me to his needs) to clean the drainage out of his nose. Poor baby. He’s got plastic splints up in his nose and he can’t breathe through it and is bored out of his skull.
(I MIGHT let back on the computer for about half an hour of gaming…but only if he can get some of his assignments done for school first.)
So I was thinking about this today as my body called me all kinds of 4-letter words for not allowing it to sleep. I have NO bedside manner at all. I hate whining on all levels and I feel like pain is something you should push through if you can. Nursing is a calling: One that skipped MY number on the phone tree. Pffft. I’ll hold your hair if you need to vomit and maybe feed you or listen (briefly) to your list of aches but bedpans? NO effin’ way. And mucous? Just no. I’m forcing myself with my son because I have to. It’s part of the mom gig and they make you sign contracts and shit that you’ll take care of them. Plus I don’t want to risk that badass trophy when I win Mother of the Year. So I will take one for the team and clean out his blood and ooze with a cotton swab….but if some stranger fires a snot rocket on the black top in a supermarket parking lot, I’m going to totally gag.
THAT kind of commitment takes far more than just a paycheck. It takes true generosity of spirit and far more nurturing than your average person.
That said, I’m calling all Nurses exactly what they are: Superheroes. Much respect, ladies and gentlemen. You all deserve capes.