I've talked about patient A here before. She comes in every Wednesday to have a procedure. I take care of her every week. We have a sort of relationship. She knows to expect me when she comes in. A familiar face can make a big difference when you are sick and tired.
She was supposed to be in at 10 and didn't show. People grumbled. I didn't care, I do not live her life and I refuse to give into the temptation to bitch. (Because that's what it is my friends, temptation to think I am better, that I would never do such a thing.)
"She should have been here." Yes, but maybe she didn't have a ride. "She should have called to say she wasn't coming." Yes, but maybe she was tired and was asleep. Maybe there was no one there to remind her. Maybe she was alone.
She called in the afternoon, in tears, could we fit her in? Of course we would.
When she arrived, I went to get her and she burst into tears as soon as she saw me. My heart cracked a little. I hugged her, right there in the waiting room. "Who is your ride home?" I asked her, not seeing her partner or son. She hesistated. "Well, I don't have a ride home right now." Oh. OH.
I took her back and got her settled. Part of me thought "I can't do this every week." It hurts me to see her like that- alone, in pain, lonely. I turned my face so she wouldn't see my tears. She has become a part of me, even though she doesn't know it. She has taught me important lessons. I realized that I will take care of her every week until there are no more weeks. It is my duty as a nurse, and my obligation as a human being. I will care for her- care in the loving sense not the clinical sense- for her and for me. I don't think she will get well. I don't think she will beat her illness. But she will live in me forever in the most important lessons one can learn- reserve judgement and be kind.
Turns out she was having two procedures. The second was at 1615. Perfect, I leave at 1700. "Don't worry, I'll give you a ride home." Just like that, it popped out of my mouth. She looked surprised. "Really?" Yeah, really.
So, that's what I did. I gave someone a lift home, and hopefully in spirits too.