Unplug

"How Was Your Day?"

Today was ordinary. Nobody died on my watch. People underrate what a blessing ordinary can be. I’ll take it. I’ll take that any day.

Today I briefly held the hand of a patient who will never know my name. But I will forever remember theirs, and the moments leading up to their death.

Today I took care of a patient who gave birth this morning, went unresponsive during labor and is now on life support. She hasn’t even seen her baby yet.

Today I witnessed my first cardiac arrest of my own patient while I was turning him. They say you’ll never feel prepared, no matter how many you see during orientation, or help other nurses with - it’s accurate; nothing prepares you for that first moment of panic when you realize what’s happening. When you realize it’s happening to a patient you’re responsible for.

Today I made a stupid, stupid mistake. Today I made a mistake that could have harmed my patient. There isn’t any consolation for that.

Today I took care of a an elderly man who lived at home and had clear evidence of elder abuse. I don’t know what broke my heart more - the family’s response that he was a nuisance, or the thought of how long he had to endure this.

Today I read to my blind patient. She doesn’t have friends or family who visit, and she lives in a nursing home. Hospital administrators will say they’re not paying me to sit on my ass and read, but at the end of this monotonous and factory nurse-like day; it’s the one simple thing I don’t feel a failure at today.

Today I wrapped my first patient in a shroud.

Today I wrapped what is likely my hundredth patient in a shroud. It never gets easier, and we just stop telling people about it who assume it does.

Today I had a terrible argument with a doctor. He humiliated my practice in front of a patient. He humiliated the practice of what nurses do. In front of a patient who was already frightened and mistrustful of being in a hospital.

Today I listened as a patient got devastating news about a diagnosis they didn’t see coming. I did see it coming; nevertheless, I am just as devastated.

Today I looked a bully in the eye and told them simply…I am learning. It wasn’t a large victory on the outside, and one I can’t share for it sounds weak to the always strong.

Today I was behind on my meds, chasing labs, paging doctors incessantly, and realized I didn’t have a sip of water all day.

Today I feel as though I am simply doing the best I can. And that’s enough.

Today I raced a marathon of care - and at the end I asked myself did I make a difference at all?

Today I feel my heart burning out. Tomorrow I will try again.


“How was your day?”
“…My day was fine.”

I don’t want my kids being hooked on phones or iPads or whatever, so I try not to be on them too much myself. It’s what they see, what’s around them, so we limit our usage around them. I have to 
do a lot of work on my phone and on my computer, but I try to do it away from them, not in front of them, so they don’t think that that is more important than actual human interaction.
—  Chris Hemsworth