Some things have been on my mind since I worked this past weekend. Being a nurse is an eye-opening experience in so many ways. I see people at their worst. I have a front row view as people are told the last thing they want to hear. I also get to share in small victories as people are told good news, or that their prayers have been answered. I have learned so many things in the last six years, but two that I consider the most important. Lessons about people and humanity in general.
The first is that nothing, especially resentment, is more important than family. I have seen men and women on their deathbeds whose daughters or brothers will not come to visit because of harsh words spoken twenty years ago. What good can come from this? Have my parents and brothers said things that hurt my feelings? Sure. We all have. Am I going to live with resentment in my heart or cast them out of my life because of it? No way. Jesus told us to let he who is without sin cast the first stone. There will always be times we disagree. That’s life. There will also be the times we love and share happiness and sadness and support each other and grow together. And I have seen that at the end of life, nothing is more important to someone than family. I need to hold these special people close while I have them. LIfe can change in an instant.
The second thing I have learned is that everyone belongs to someone. Everyone is someone’s son, or husband, or sister. It’s an invaluable lesson that has changed my way of thinking and altered the way I care for my patients. I try to treat others not just the way I would want someone to treat me, but the way I would want someone to treat Cade or Chris or my dad. My hope is that someday, when roles are reversed and it’s me or someone I love needing the care, someone will return the favor. Friday night, a patient of mine was not doing well. We knew he was dying, but we didn’t know it would happen so quickly. His brother had stepped out for a few minutes and the patient passed away before he made it back and before I could contact him.
Visibly upset, the brother stated, “I shouldn’t have left. My mom would be so upset if she knew he died all alone.”
“He wasn’t alone,” I told him. “I was here. I held his hand and he wasn’t alone.”
His words were the very sentiment in my mind as his brother passed. I couldn't help but think of his mom. And my hope is that someday, if it was my son in that bed, someone would return the favor.