Saturday, June 19, 2010

The story of Me... Me the Nurse, and Me the Mom


The other day I started a series of posts, about why I started posting in the first place.

I decided today I would explain a little bit about why I am a nurse, or perhaps, how I got to be one would be more accurate.

When I was 14 I had a baby girl. The baby girl grew up to be my daughter- GoodMom.

She was born in the early hours on the morning after she was due, after just 5 hours of labor.

She weighed in at 9 pounds 3 ounces.

Because I was so young, and she was so big, special attention was paid to us in those first pre-dawn hours.

Then I was moved into a private room. She stayed with me, her bassinette at my bedside.

I fed her, changed her, held her and snuggled with her until I was too tired to hold her anymore, and she was sound asleep, wrapped up like a cocoon.

After putting her into the bassinette, I discovered the head of the bead would not go down. There was a hand crank at the foot of the bed, so I climbed out of the covers and tried to crank it down. It only creaked and groaned at me. I had developed a fever- thus the private room- and was not to be out of bed or up on my feet for very long because... well, no one actually ever told me why.

So, here I was in the middle of the night, tired, cold and wearing nothing but a hospital gown with my backside hanging out ...
when I heard footsteps in the hall, and as they got closer I could hear whispered voices. They stopped just outside my door. I was embarassed because I broke the bed, and feeling really weak and tired. I was about to call out for some help when I heard what the nurses were saying.

They were saying awful things about me. About me having a baby so young. About the kind of person I must be. About how I would never be able to take care of a child properly. About how I should be ashamed of myself and the mess I had made for my family.

Quietly, I crept back into the bed. Or should I say climbed as by now the bed was at it's highest setting and the head of the bed was at a 90 degree angle. I had broken the bed, and I did not want to cause the nurses any problems so...

The night nurse came in a little while later and asked what I had done to the bed. I told her I liked it that way, it was more comfortable. She shook her head and said something about me breaking the bed, being trouble...

I slept in that bed, with the mattress set at nearly 3 feet off the ground, sitting completely upright, with one hand through the railing, laid gently against my little girl's cheek so I could make sure she was breathing. So I could take care of her the way a mom should.

A year later I had the opportunity to be accepted into the Nursing school program at the local Vo-Tech. I would take the community college nursing course for half a day though my sophomore, junior and senior years of high school- if I got in.
Part of the process was an interview with the instructors. One of them asked me why I wanted to be a nurse. They knew I had a child, and like so many other teachers and instructors, they did not see past that to the person I was inside.

So, I told them the story of the night my daughter was born and how I broke the bed.
And how that nurse with her mean attitude, and judgements of me, had made me feel sad, alone and worthless. And that if I could prevent one person from feeling the way that nurse had made me feel, then I would have done something worth doing. I wanted to be a nurse because I wanted to help others get better and feel better.

I got into the program. I took high school classes half days and nursing classes half days for 3 years. I took advanced classes in high school and kept my grades up. I took college level classes like microbiology, anatomy and physiology, psychology and pharmacology and kept my grades up.

I worked several part time jobs to help my boyfriend support our daughter. I did homework late at night while she slept. I played soccer. I was in the band. I was inducted into the National Honor Society.
I worked hard to prove everyone wrong about what kind of person I was. What kind of mother I would be. What kind of person I would become.

And that is why, 26 years ago- June 8, 1984- I graduated from Nursing school, one day before I graduated from high school with honors as a National Honor Society member, and as a student in the top 5% of my class- I was ranked 14 in a class of 431. My grade point average included my college level nursing classes and my high school classes... it was 3.84.

I think I did a good job. I think I proved to everyone I could do it. But mostly, I proved to myself that I only needed to do what I needed to do for me, and my children. In the end, the only one that I had to make proud of me, was me.

And that is why I am a nurse who works nights and takes care of sick kids.

Bet you thought I was going to add a little something to make you laugh here, right?
Well, just picture me on my hands and knees trying to fix the crank on that hospital bed- I did say I was wearing a hosptial gown, right?
The kind with nothing to keep them closed in the back?
Yep- hiney in the air and head under the bed... thank god the nurse didn't walk in then!
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