I was never one of the nurses who counted down the years, months, weeks, days, hours, the minutes till retirement. I think I must have loved my job. If it was so intolerable that I have to do the counting, I am sure I would have quit and found another job. I hit such a critical point early in my career. After suffering enough doctor and head nurse abuse, I quit right then without another backup job. I was never afraid of not finding work.
Nursing must be was what I was supposed to do for I found myself back in it not long after. I was aghast. I thought it was not where I want to be again. I never thought of myself being the ministering angel. I was definitely not the lady with the lamp type. I entered the profession solely to help me develop confidence with people. I was a shy timid wallflower. What better job than being a nurse in a hospital?
I think I fulfilled my goal of gaining confidence. My second job in nursing was in a large university teaching hospital with many departments and people. I got some backbone and learned to deepen my voice. I tried to cut out my squeaky ‘excuse me(s) after being told by a kindly resident. “For heaven’s sake, Lily, speak up and don’t say excuse me,” he chided. “Be more assertive!” With time I became that. I was not quite as tough as nails but neither was I soft as marshmallows.
Over the years, I must have turned Florence like. Once upon a time, I had hoped to regale stories from my years upon retirement. But to my dismay when the time came, I held no memories nor the desire to recall them. They were all bad.I was in full anxiety. Now some time has passed and so too, my PTSD. Yup, it’s my own diagnosis of my post retirement predicament. Well, I am/was a nurse. I know or should know the symptons.
A few pleasant memories are seeping back. I don’t need to feel tough as nails anymore. I’m hoping to feel soft as a marshmallow. I remember some of the reasons why I stayed in the profession. It is the soft whispers of the patients in the night. “Thank you.” ” You have such a gentle touch.” I go from bed to bed and room to room with my torch. I bend over a bed. I straighten a blanket. I fluff a pillow. In the dark, a voice asked me, “Did your mother ever tell you how pretty you are?”
How could I not love that? I melt like a marshmallow.