Thursday, May 06, 2010

Nursing from the streets

So here I am, a full-fledged Hospice Case Manager Nurse. A month out of orientation, on my own, managing my own case load, and I can still safely say that I pretty much love this job. I realized that I loved it on Tuesday, after a grumpy, rainy, 45-minute drive to Newcastle. I may be a day-walker now, a recovering night-shifter, but I have not and will never quite get used to having to get up early in the morning. So I grumbled and scowled my way through rush hour traffic, gripping my coffee, trying to hear the bossy GPS directions over NPR, and squinting through the blustery, gray weather. After two wrong turns and a U-turn I finally arrived at my destination, and found my way to my new patient's front door. I met the patient and his wife, answered their questions and explained how our hospice services could help them. Yes, they could call and speak to a nurse 24 hours a day if they needed to. No, we would do everything we can to keep him from having to go to the hospital ever again. Yes, if he wants to eat apple pie, let him eat apple pie (in small bites and sitting straight up, of course). The patient's wife sighed deeply and relaxed back into her chair, years faded from her 84-year-old face, and she finally smiled at me. "Thank you," she whispered. "Thank you for what you do."

So I got back in my car, and steeled myself for a 30-minute drive on the highways through the sheets of rain to Issaquah. But my grumpy mood was gone, and I didn't mind the drive.

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