My immune system is fighting valiantly to overcome the last viral assault launched my direction by a patient that actually PULLED DOWN HER MASK, turned towards me and coughed. (Yep. Turns out “mask wearing” is a special skill not all are qualified for). My body knows when to call uncle and retreat into a mini coma, which is how I’ve spent the last few days. You know I’m sick when my husband seeks refuge in the guest room and sends the dog in to sleep next to me. It’s the equivalent of sending a parakeet in with the miners down the mine shaft. “If the dog’s okay, she’s okay.”
I picked up too many shifts this month and these are the consequences. Everything is dirty, undone, dying or neglected. Life has been shrunk down to a world that can be summed up in 3 words: work, sleep, repeat. Every minute is accounted for, every moment assigned.
Yet — in the midst of the chaos, there is a level of validation that helps me find my smile. There’s a certain satisfaction in knowing that I can still keep up with the big dogs at work. I may not eat, sleep and dream emergency nursing like I once did – but I haven’t lost my touch, either.
And in an odd way, it’s nice to know that things fall apart at home without me. The dogs forget their manners, the goats lose their ever livin’ minds, the chickens nearly starve to death (they won’t come out of hiding even to eat for fear of running into a half-crazed goat) and my husband is counting down the days until he gets his wife (and clean laundry) back. It’s proof that, in some small way, my existence really does make a difference — and that’s enough for me.
To the rest of you nightshift working, family raising, full time nurses out there: You are ahhhh – mazing!!! I promise to never judge your messy house, empty frig, the fact you fell asleep during your child’s last dance recital or that time you wore two different shoes to work.