I took care of a lovely woman at the hospital today. We managed to fix the issue she came in with and the two of us were sharing that brilliant time I refer to as, “the afterglow.”
This is the time between when I discharge a patient, remove their IV, have them get dressed, gather their belongings and when their ride shows up. It is a stress free time, the patient is happy, and I thank them for letting me take care of them.
We got on the topic of family and she mentioned her children and I asked if her husband was still around. “He’s around, but we’re no longer together” she said. I don’t like divorce. In my head, I can’t comprehend going on without Tron (Yes, I call my wife Tron). I said, “Well, I’m either sorry to hear that or extremely happy for you.”
“Oh, it’s a good thing. He made me miserable.” She went on to tell me how they met when they were young, had children, relocated to a upstate New York and then she explained when things changed. “There came a time in our relationship when I was excelling in my career and starting making more money than him. He couldn’t accept that and he became unbearable to be around” she would explain. This division ultimately resulted in divorce.
There was a time in my life when Tron and I lived in New York City and she made more money than I did. I was the happiest boy on the block! It never crossed my mind to be threatened by her success. Her success was my success; we were a team after all. We later got married, had kids, and she decided she wanted to be the most kick-ass mother in town. Again, I did whatever I could to support her goals and as a result, our kids are awesome, just as we planned.
I earn more ‘income’ but her value to the family far exceeds whatever monetary gains I bring in. But again, we are a team. I often find that discussing life experiences with patients reinforces the fulfillment I get out of being a nurse and their stories act as a reminder to continue to be decent, loving, and open to change. Resentment is an awful emotion to carry. As nurses, if we keep our hearts open, I find that our patients give back just as much as we put in to caring for them.
Have a fantastic weekend!