"You Are An Excellent"
charge nurse," i was told
and i started crying. to do your
best day after day, no matter what,
well, it's hard, you know? this is
no game to me. this is, i feel, one
of those things i was born to do. i
am a nurse. i know how to ease pain,
how to comfort, how to maintain homeostasis,
i spend hours every week educating myself
and the people i take care of, the people
i'm in charge of. it comes as naturally
as breathing to me. it still comes as
a pleasant surprise when i am given a
paycheck for doing what comes so easily,
so effortlessly, for something that gives
me such joy and self-esteem.
"you are one of the best nurses i have."
and it gives me such joy to do my best,
to cut no unsafe corners, to give all i
have for 8 or 10 or 12 hours a day. it
completes me as no man or child ever has.
when i feel really bad, when i feel like a
miserable failure, i close my eyes and remember
all the hands i've held, all the tears i've
wiped away, the pain i've eased, the journeys
i've watched start and end. birth and death.
i've been there for both, sang happy birthday
to brand new babies as they've drawn their first
breath, whispered, "it's ok to let go now," to
people struggling for their last breath. i've
done that. me. simple, plain, ordinary me.
i've witnessed miracles, been a part of a few.
there are things in my life i will always, to
my sorrow, regret. some things i could change
if it were in my power to do so. but not this.
never this. this has been worth all i've ever
had to do to reach the place in my career i am
and to hear someone i respect and admire say,
"you are an excellent nurse," well, there is
nothing like it. it is the validation of
years of studying, sacrifice, pain, struggle.
"i am safe, i am loved, i am free, baby."
i wish you could hear this music. it's a balm,
a reward for living through and beyond the death-wish,
the things i never thought i would survive. to be
here, in this place, doing this job, following, always,
i hold this feeling and let it wash over me like the
gift it is. something to remember always, till the
end of my life, and maybe beyond.
i would do it all over again. everything i had to do
to get to this place in my life.
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