This is the third revision from One Day at a Time. I don’t see much more I should do but if I do find anything it will be on this post. Thank you to those who have taken the time to read it. Below this is the second version.
It was a very cold day and frigid temperatures were chilling but I headed out anyway. I could see my breath with every exhale as I walked out into the cold.
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 don’t know how long I’d been walking but from the corner of my eye, I could see a white coat of frost that had set on my hair. Next thing I remember, I found myself walking in the park. It was not a park that I frequented as it was quite a distance from my place. I was starting to numb at this point but I kept walking in daze until I noticed the fog with its thick blanket that framed the park. That was when I realized where I’d gone. It was the beauty that the fog enclosed that caught my attention. I couldn’t believe how my thoughts had run deep that I had lost track of time. All from one patient: The effect of a passing that could take a toll on me, one’s fate that we have no control over, then the work load, exhausting, and that woman, his wife. 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 was even fighting the idea of having to work another day, let alone two more before my days off.
“I could do this,” I had whispered as I was leaving the park to head home. At that point, my feet were tingling.
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 still feel the tingling in my feet. I tugged and managed to pull my socks off and rubbed my feet to get the circulation flowing while I stared blankly at the TV. Nothing on it was getting my attention. Finally turning it off. I strolled into the kitchen and searched the fridge for something to snack on. I wasn’t really wanting 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. Sauntering back into the living room, I plopped on the sofa, 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 had gone by fast. Before I knew it, I was on days off and I remember feeling relieved. A heavy weight had lifted.
It wasn’t like I didn’t know this field of work had its ups and down, 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 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