After tonight it's time for a change.
I had to help a patient currently on my floor down to the ER, where her husband suddenly passed away, then help her back to her cold hospital room. After her loving and worried family members all left, I was the only one there to comfort her, finish tucking her in, and turn off the lights. Worrying I checked up on her all night, she slept fitfully but managed a little rest.
Let's not forget the other mother I celebrated with as her son finally was able to drink chocolate milk after bouts of nausea for two days. Traumatic brain injury, it's unlikely he'll fully recover, requiring her to care for him for the rest of his probably very long life.
Another patient screaming with pain because the doctors hadn't yet released her meds after surgery. All I could do was assure her I would keep coming back. After two hours of that I managed to get around the orders with the help of a very caring nurse and get her the relief she needed.
Five dirty briefs, countless bathroom visits, one explosive case of vomiting, bladder scans and a foley bag. Turns, re-positioning, drinks of water, and reassurance.
Humans can only take so much of that before we crack.
There were a few victories. Peaceful sleep for my surgery patient. A new patient reassured and comfortable in his room. Guiding family members to another person who was thrilled beyond words to see them. The sweetest little lady in the world thanking me profusely for simply helping her get ready for bed.
I've seen completely incapacitated patients relearn to walk, liver transplants people who now have a new lease on life. Stroke patients miraculously recover, and even an engagement on my floor between some of the best people I know here at the hospital.
There is good, and there is sunshine.
Unfortunately with the dragging workload and the constant battle to keep ahead of my patient's needs is wearing me down. Nights like tonight make me feel broken and fragile.
I'm getting ready for a new life, and while I love helping people, making a difference, it becomes clearer day by day that there is only so much I can do. Sometimes to take care of others you have to take care of yourself first. So....
I applied for a part-time radio job. I'm re-looking into scuba lessons. I'm applying for nursing school to take the next step forward. I'm returning to the haunted house I love with the man I love the most tomorrow. And I'm cutting back at work. Hours-wise. I can take the small hit in paycheck, and I need the time to become the best version of myself I can be.
The Lord asks you to do all you can in service to others, it's up to you to try and understand when that limit has been reached, when you can say it's been enough. Or in my case, I just need to give a little less.