I normally don’t revise in a separate reposted version but I decided to make an exception and revise Take it One Day at a Time so that you may see the original version. This version will now remain as is. The third revision can be viewed here A Day at a Time.
It was a very cold day and frigid temperatures were chilling to the bone but I headed out anyway. You see I was on night shift and when I got home I couldn’t sleep so I left the house at noon and headed one direction. The frost on the trees and the crisp, white snow were so inviting. I could even see my breath with every exhale. From the corner of my eye, I saw a white coat of frost that had set on my hair. I don’t know how long I’d been walking but before I knew I was in the park. I was starting to numb but I kept walking in daze. The fog was thick and framed the park so that all I saw was the beauty that it enclosed. My thoughts were running deep: One’s fate that we have no control over, the work load and that woman. I thought after a year in the field of nursing I would have built a shield of armor but instead I felt more and more sympathetic.
During studies my teacher had said to us not to get emotionally attached to our patients but I never saw this coming. Everyday his wife was in and the look on her face when she lost her husband was haunting: Those eyes, the fear in her face and all I could say to her was, I’m sorry. I couldn’t stop rehearsing it in my head. I felt so sad and I kept wondering if there was more I could have done.
I never lost a patient whom I cared for since entering the field. I didn’t know whether I could get over this or deal with another case as devastating. I was now questioning my career. I even was fighting the idea of having to work another day, let alone two more before my days off.
“I could do this,” I whispered as I was leaving the park to head home.
Where had the time gone. I looked at my watch, 4:30. The sun was starting to set. Short days made it feel later than it was. I walked up to my door. Fingers stiff, I managed to finally unlock the door. I slipped off my boots and settled on the sofa. I turned the television on. I could feel my feet tingling. I tugged and managed to pull my socks off and rubbed my feet to get the circulation flowing. I was staring blankly at the TV. Nothing on it was getting my attention. I finally turned it off. I strolled into the kitchen and searched the fridge for something to snack on. I didn’t really want to eat but I had to have at least a small bite of something. I put together a bologna sandwich and poured a glass of orange juice. I sauntered back into the living room and sat on the sofa. I put my feet on the ottoman and sat in silence. I just wanted quiet for now and hoped these feelings of dread of loss and despair of healthcare that are inevitable would ease. Before I knew it I had fallen asleep on the couch.
My last two days of work went by fast. Before I knew it, I was on days off and I remember feeling relieved. A heavy weight I’d been holding in my chest had lifted.
It wasn’t like I didn’t know this field of work had its ups and downs. I just didn’t think it would affect me quite this hard. I hoped after my days off I’d get my strength back and start looking forward to work again.
I called my friend and planned an evening out: dinner, movie and end with a drink at the nightclub. I hadn’t been out since starting my job. It was no wonder that I was a mess, so it could be said that all work and no play makes a mess of a nurse.
My days off were a blessing in disguise. I felt refreshed and recouped. Getting out really had helped. My friend was so supportive and all we did was laugh and talk about the fun things we had done before I got busy and neglected myself. I was even ready to get back to work without dread.
Original version Take it One Day at a Time