Chapter Four - The Nightmare Before Christmas: Part 1
Part 4 (December 19th)
Hey, /b/. It was a pretty big night, so I wound up oversleeping a bit. Anyway, here we go. I headed into work a bit earlier than usual, nothing too special, really, but headed for the staff break room and killed time there. I spoke with a few coworkers about what'd gone down earlier in the day, in my speaking with the morning/day staff, and mostly got some support from the later-working nurses for my ideas. It was nice, reminding me that, even as overworked as we are, and as difficult as our patients can be, we do care about them, on the whole, as much as we can while staying sane, anyway. I headed for my station when the time came, nothing too special there, and waited until about 1:15 before I headed for her room. I knocked gently on her door, quietly enough that I wouldn't wake her if she was asleep, but loudly enough that she'd notice if she wasn't...and, it turns out, the latter was the case, as I heard a quiet "What?" after a few second's pause. I opened the door and asked if it was all right if I came inside, and after another short hesitation, she nodded to me. I moved over to her bedside, nabbing the room's sole chair on the way and taking a seat upon it, trying to maintain a safe, but not too exclusive, distance from her, not quite close enough to reach out and touch her. She was staring at me, waiting to see what I wanted, and I offered her a casual, but genuine, smile.
I said, first, that I was glad that she liked my gift, noting that the mini-bear was actually sitting on the bed at her side, between her body and the wall. She didn't say anything, just looked down a bit, perhaps in a partial nod; I then took a small breath...and told her I was sorry. That I shouldn't have asked her to keep it secret, and that I'd told everyone that I gave it to her, so she didn't have to worry about that anymore. I then told her that the other nurses and I were making a list for santa, and she should think about a list of what might be nice to get for christmas. She...it's hard to put into words, but she looked like an older kid being told something about santa, who plays along to humor a loved one, even though they don't really believe in him anymore. She didn't laugh it off, or make a joke, but just looked up at me...and nodded again, slowly, saying "Okay." quietly. I felt bad, but tried not to let it show, and forged ahead. I told her that if she ever wanted to talk about anything, or tell someone something, or ask for anything, that she could call me. That I would be happy to help, trying not to phrase it along the lines of 'it's my job', since it was clear she only thought anyone was doing anything for her for that reason. She looked down again at that...and didn't say anything, or nod, or anything. It was discomforting, but I had to be understanding, and just smiled again, and said I'd be there if she needed anything, again, and said I'd let her get some sleep. Then I got up, moved the chair back, and moved to leave the room, leaving her alone again.
Not much happened for a while, then. I killed time as usual, reading through the day's updates on conditions, playing my DS and reading a new book I'd picked up earlier, answering a call from a man in his 90s that suffers from severe arthritis that sometimes makes sleeping hard around 3:30, and providing him some painkillers and a sleep aid, and helping him get comfortable in the meantime. Nothing too special, really...except for what happened when I was on my way back to my station after I finished taking care of him. I was passing by her room...and I heard something. The doors are rather thin, a quirk of cheap construction, and as I paused, and moved my ear closer to hers, I could start to make out...crying. I hesitated...she hadn't called for me, I would've gotten a signal from my pager, on my belt, if she had; maybe she didn't want my attention, maybe she didn't want anything. This could go badly. But I had already made a decision, one I'd informed her of just a few hours earlier. A decision not to just sit by and do nothing...a decision that I wanted to try and help her. I opened her door.
She was on her right side in her bed, facing the wall, with her hand up near her face, though I couldn't see exactly what was happening there, clearly. She was making...well, the sounds a child crying, but trying to both stop crying and to keep anyone else from noticing, makes; a painful sound, whimpers and sobs choked by tears...I was almost paralyzed at the door, not sure what to do...she hadn't reacted to me yet, perhaps not having heard me. Then I made out a word amidst the sounds, and it broke my heart worse than anything else ever had, which took a lot. "Mom...mom..."...she was whispering it, with a mixture of need and hopelessness that...it just...it hurt to hear almost as much as it was clearly hurting her to say. I couldn't hold back anymore at that, stepping closer, slowly, and gently saying her name to get her attention and announce my presence. She started noticibly at that announcement, her body tensing as she curled up tighter and turned her face further away from me, almost grinding it into her pillow, telling me, in a wet voice, fortunately not quite loud enough to likely wake her neighbours, to go away, and leave her alone. I frowned in a bit of frustration, considering whether that would be a wise thing to do, then firmed my resolve, and stepped up to the side of her bed. I said her name again, quietly, gently, not reaching out yet, still hesitant about going too far, and finding no words appropriate for this situation, I didn't say anything else, and could just move to kneel there, watching her painfully.
This went on for another couple of minutes, almost, but it seemed a lot longer...until it finally became too much, and I reached out to, carefully, rest my right hand on her left shoulder, which was still shaking as she seemed to be trying to clamp down on herself, so to speak; I said her name again...and I told her...it'd be ok, that she wasn't alone...taking a guess from my discussion with the resident shrink yesterday, I told her that bad dreams can't hurt us if we wake up and let the light chase them away, similar advice I'd given my little brother once, though it seemed weak for this situation. She started crying again after I said that, and I was worried I'd just made things worse, when she moved to grab my hand and rolled over to face me, her face soaked with tears, and in such pain...she looked up at me for just a half-second, then clenched her eyes shut and started sobbing brokenly, what was left of her entire body shaking. My heart started to ache even worse than it had just a moment earlier, and...I did what came naturally, despite all my thoughts and worries about consequences...I leaned in and wrapped my free arm around her loosely, just holding her.
(I'm sorry this is taking so long, but it's a bit hard to write, as it's bringing back still-fresh memories of the event, and, well, I'm an emotions-fag I guess, I know, I know, GTFO, etc) We stayed that way, more or less, for what was at least a few minutes, although I hadn't checked my watch ahead of time, and couldn't be sure...slowly, she started to calm down, and the sobs began to lessen, as did the trembling in her small form, just how small, all in all, as even my prior up-close experiences hadn't really made evident to me. Finally, she was quiet, save for an occasional sniffling, and I drew back carefully...I wasn't sure exactly what was going to happen, but flinching away as if something bad had just happened didn't seem like a good idea at all, for either of us. I looked down at her, her face a mess, my scrubs wet where it'd been pressed, and offered a very small, what I hoped was understanding without being amused, smile, and said, again, that it'd be okay, not knowing what else to say. I reached, with some contortions considering she was still holding onto my right hand, and it was on my right, over to drag the kleenex box from her bedside table over to an easier usage distance, and started to gently dry her face off, wiping her nose and helping her blow it, and generally just cleaning her up a bit...she stayed quiet through the whole process, keeping her eyes averted from mine, but not turning away...and holding onto my hand with her own the whole time, too.
Fucking fuck fuck fuck fuck. Quick Reply ate my final post. Rewriting...sorry...
I brushed her hair back to some semblance of non-mussedness with my free hand, carefully, and tucked her back in, drawing her rumpled sheets back up over her, adjusting her pillow as best I could. She looked up at me as I was doing this, then, just watching me, whatever she was feeling too hard for me, at least, to read. And then I just remained kneeling where I was, and stayed next to her, trying to keep smiling in a reassuring and gentle manner despite my own worked up feelings. She continued watching me, quietly, her small hand squeezing my own all the while...until, after a few minutes, her eyes slowly drooped shut, and she began to relax further...and a few minutes later, she was asleep again. I waited a few more minutes, not wanting to wake her, before carefully extricating my hand from her grasp...I reached over her and found the mini-bear under her pillow, near the wall, and slipped it into her curled fingers in my place. Then I stood, again carefully, and quietly, left the room...
I walked back to my station shakily, and the rest of my shift passed mercifully quietly...I wrote up a report of what'd happened, trying to keep it as professional as I could. To paraphrase: 'Patient had difficulty sleeping due to nightmare, helped them calm down and get back to sleep'. I'd written up similar reports more times than I can count for my other, elderly, patients, so I wasn't making things up...and I refuse to believe I did anything wrong. I guess I can only wait and see what comes next, though...anyway, I was wrung out by the time I got home in the morning and dropped into bed, which, combined with my getting up early on monday, left me sleeping late today. Anyway, that's it for last night, /b/...sorry this took so long.
Just for the record, I'm not so confident she's 'trusting' me entirely yet...but I hope this can help. I'm just glad, at this point, that it went 'well' rather than 'not well'...it's still pretty fresh for me, I'm still thinking about it all...like how she might've gone through a similar situation so many times before this one, with nobody there for any of them to try and comfort her, all alone...it's...pretty overwhelming.
You know I'm really not so sure about telling her she didn't need to keep it a secret. I may have been good for her to keep it a secret - I mean, she's basically completely dependent on you guys, it'd probably feel nice to have a little power over them, knowing something they don't.
I just told her she didn't HAVE to keep it a secret, and I didn't say I'd be reporting everything I did...whether she wants to keep secrets will be up to her.
Nurse-Kun, I'm a transfemoral, and transtibial amputee (For you non-medical types, I'm missing one leg at the thigh, and the other just below the knee) from a accident with a teenage girl who hit me with her brand new saturn mommy bought her. One of the things I noticed most about my recovery (this was 3 years ago) was that I hated to be assisted in anything. It made me feel like a failure, and a waste of flesh. I felt like I couldn't do anything, and in my desperation came rage. I turned into a very hateful person. Please don't let this beautiful girl turn down this path. Please be there for her.
This is one of my bigger concerns in how I relate with and treat her...she does need help with some things, but I'm going to try to let her do what she wants to try and do on her own. I don't control her rehab, of course, or any of the other nurses, but I may speak with them about it if she and I discuss the matter at some point. Since, judging from what I'm hearing about how hard she's working at her physical rehab, she clearly wants to regain at least some of her physical 'freedom', such as it may be...
Have you considered trying to play board games or chess with her or something? I'm not suggesting immediately, obviously, but they're something she can do easily with one hand and it'd help her forget about her physical problems, and teaching her how to play chess or something would be a great bonding experience. Something to consider for the longer term.
It's something I've considered, certainly. I'm not at the point where she's really wanted me to keep her company or play with her, so...future, yeah.
OP is a faketyfakefakefakeyfake. Posts are too well written for a failure of a registered nurse.
You know, despite making jokes about it at times myself, it's comments like this that piss me off sometimes. It's bad enough that the vast majority of doctors treat us like drooling retards, but the general disrespect from laymen that've seen an episode of ER and think we're barely qualified to change a bandaid makes me want to stab them. Then suture there. People say there's a doctor shortage (and there is, admittedly), but they have no idea how thinly stretched and dangerous the medical system is in some places simply due to not having enough skilled nurses. And why? Because when you're a nurse, you have to deal with this whole 'so, why didn't you become a doctor?'.
Uh... are you still here Anonynurse? Thread's gone awfully quiet.
I'm here, just not a ton to respond to. So I'm taking care of some stuff around the apartment and checking in every few minutes or so.
Nurse-Kun, Do amputees eat less?
As 17563422 has said, there isn't much difference in how much an amputee eats. Part of this is that, for lower-limb amputees, they expend considerably more energy to get around on prosthetic limbs than an 'able-bodied' person does (I hope that term doesn't offend our trans-femoral/trans-tibial friend, but a proper set of terms is still in debate, and I'm not really an expert in this area, despite having done some extra research because of her), because their remaining original body parts have to work harder to 'power' the artificial ones. Prosthetics still have a long way to go before they'll be close to being as efficient as natural parts, though there are good people working on it, thankfully. As a tidbit: A double above-knee amputee walking on prosthetic legs expends between 300 and 400 percent more energy to get around than an 'able-bodied' person does. And that's on a flat plane. Think about that. The fact that she's even trying to learn to walk again speaks huge volumes about her courage, and makes me admire her all the more...
Anyways, despite this guy's epic failure, I do plan on becoming a nurse OP. I was before this story started, and still plan on it. Funny how people think it's easy to become a doctor. A nurse is pretty hard as it is, and sometimes people just can't stay in school for 4+ more years, whether its due to money, time, or effort.
Very true. I commend you on your plans, and hope you make it. We can certainly use another /b/tard in the nursinghood.
BTW Anonynurse, where are you located? I'm trying to look on Google for something regarding this. I t's very unlikely that a crash like this would go unnoticed unless this kinda thing happened every week where you're at. Give me a state at least. I might send this to someplace and get you on tv, lol.
Uh, I'll pass, thank you. I mean, what are they going to do a story on at this point in time? 'local nurse says contextually very inappropriate things on internets, will be murdered/raped/van'd for questioning after this story airs'?
Well, was asked to keep /b/ updated, and I did that several hours ago. Answering questions and recieving helpful advice is nice, but being told to prove a negative isn't much fun, no matter what it regards. I'll post tomorrow.