Ah, December 24th! People are off to spend holidays with their families! Goodwill, Christmas carols, yummy food, and togetherness!
Unless you are us.
Maybe you are working days today, and will show up at your Mother-in-Law’s house wearing wrinkled scrubs, wild hair, and a whiff of c-diff. At 8:30pm. You will get the treat of 3 hour old dried-out turkey and a piece of pumpkin pie with the edges curling. Your sister-in-law may ask you why you couldn’t get off early. You will probably not say, “Because someone’s father/grandmother/uncle arrested and somebody had to save him.” We congratulate you on your restraint. It’s like the entire world is completely clueless about what we do.
Maybe you are working nights tonight. You will hope like hell that day shift is on time in the morning, and race home to wake your kids up because Santa came. You will try to make some memories, and set Christmas dinner to cook while you are sleeping. But your kids will keep coming in to show you what Santa brought. And they are little, and you don’t want to miss it. So you will stay up, eat Christmas dinner and go back to work by 7pm, exhausted.
Maybe you are working Christmas day. And your family does not understand why you won’t be bringing your kids to grandma’s house. Your spouse will arrive alone, and someone will ask them why you didn’t just take vacation. You woke your kids up at 4am to ‘do Santa’ and went immediately to work so your co workers could get home on time to be with their families.
You may be working Long Term Care, and many of your residents won’t get visitors. You will do your best to show your love, and care for them gently on this holiday. Or maybe the usually absent family will arrive and complain about all the things you didn’t accomplish today, but did manage to get done the other 364 days of the year.
You could be working ER, where domestic abuse abounds during the holidays. You may care for a patient after their sexual assault. You may code a couple of overdose patients, and comfort families whose loved ones have been whisked off to the cath lab.
Or maybe you will be in PICU taking care of a pair of sick children whose parents are despairing. They haven’t left the bedside in weeks. Today is no exception, and you probably remembered to bring them a plate of your Christmas cookies.
You might be working psych, where there may not be visitors on Christmas. Your patient may have been feeling abandoned and suicidal during the holidays, and they are now alone, except for your wonderful, caring soul.
The world simply could not run if you didn’t work today. In my case, I am now a procedure nurse with no call and cush hours. Two years ago I was working the ER on Christmas Eve. One does not forget.
I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for taking care of those who cannot care for themselves this holiday season.
Thank you for preserving function and saving lives.
Thank you for taking cath lab call and being ready to leap into action when someone’s STEMI happens tonight.
Thank you for being on the OR team who will come in to treat that GSW.
Thank you for turning that patient every two hours. Thank you for feeding those who cannot feed themselves.
Thank you for being you.
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