If someone had told me years ago that delving into the world of nursing would be so utterly time, energy, and emotion consuming, I would have thought twice about it. And then, I would have taken a deep breath, said a quiet prayer, and jumped in anyway. My first degree was in computer science and software development; it was concrete and void of any human elements. A machine doesn’t require much more than electricity and coding to tell it what to do. You say, it does. Period. It’s not so easy with human beings. Machines don’t cry. They don’t get hungry, they don’t experience pain, and although they may break, they certainly don’t die. I suppose those are a few glories of being a machine. There is, however, a more unsurmountable glory in being human. We can experience pain. Loads of it. And not just the physical variety. Our hearts ache. Our minds wad up into spasmodic balls of anxiety and fear. The storm clouds form and the rain pours. Hearts race. Pulses bound. Heads swim. I realize this doesn’t sound like glory at all.
Those are the moments in which we wish we were the machine.
But I know and have seen that pain, like flood waters, does recede. Heartaches cease with time. The blessing of sleep (and a good Brandy) can relax our minds and let the fears of the day seep from the tops of our heads and into oblivion. The sun always wins over the storm. Our glory is in our adaptability. In our resilience. Although our situations may not change or improve, we have the glorious ability to accept them and grow in spite of them. The machine might envy us in those moments, if it could.
It’s another rainy Sunday… Between sips of coffee and the usual phone calls from family and friends, I’m studying critical care. I spent Friday on the cardiac intensive care unit; I completely loved it. Yes, I think I have found my place in the expansive world of nursing. Critical care is where I will ultimately belong, I believe. It is the place where I have seen the most obvious reflection of the glory of humanity. The place oozes resilience. Every patient will not go home; that is the proverbial storm cloud. Those are the moments that the machine gloats. But most do go home…eventually. Most of us live to stare death in the face at least once and live to tell about it. Some of us will actually hold our heads high and smile at it while we’re walking away.
Let’s see the machine do that.