When my alcoholic uncle died - and how it impacted my life as a nurse
A recent post from another nurse was so beautifully honest and vulnerable that it made me lose my snark and just get human for a minute. So I will share an experience and I have permission from all involved.
I had an uncle who was a terrible alcoholic. It ravaged every aspect of his life, his work as a union tradesman, his ability to be a father or husband and his relationships with his brothers and sisters. My mom and I often visited him when he’d get admitted to the floor. I could never bear to see him in the ER. Dirty, belligerent, withdrawing in the DTs. I was embarrassed because I knew he was a frequent flier. I was embarrassed that I was embarrassed. We tried to drop him groceries and buy his Dilantin every month, but he moved around a lot, mostly renting rooms above taverns. He wanted nothing to do with sobriety. He used drugs when he could, but whiskey was his poison. In the end he only tolerated a few beers a day to keep away the shakes. To any nurse or medic or doc who new him he was a local drunk, but to me he was my uncle. I knew him as a kind loving man as well. I remember family BBQs and him tossing me up in the air as a kid. I remember him showing up drunk to thanksgiving and not making it out out of the car before passing out. I remember the disappointment in my family’s faces. I remember the shame in his eyes. I remember driving around his neighborhood looking at the entrances of taverns to see if he was passed out. I wondered if anyone would know to call us if he died. I wondered if he even had any I.D.
But they did call. And I knew when I saw him at age 55 in the ICU Weighing 90 lbs dying of Hep C and esophageal CA that he didn’t have a lot of time left. I was a nursing student and an ER tech but I knew in my heart this time was different. I saw people fear him. I saw nurses treat him as if he was a leper. One yelled at him to be still while she gave him a shot of heparin and he grimaced in pain. Nurses came in one by one to start a heplock and he grimaced in pain. Despite knowing better after the 4th nurse was unsuccessful I begged them to stop and give him a break. My hospital I worked accepted him into impatient hospice. I was relieved. When he arrived I saw the 2 EMTs toss him on the hospice bed and walk out without saying a word while he grimaced in pain. They probably got held over and he probably didn’t seem like an urgent transport. They didn’t want to touch him. I didn’t say anything. I was scared to touch him too. He was emaciated with a huge head and a gaunt appearance. I wondered if he had AIDS. I felt bad for thinking that. I still kissed his forehead and told him he was going to be okay. Because I loved him. He was my family.
And then I saw nurses treat him with kindness. I saw the beauty of a non judgemental hospice team make his last 96 hours on Earth a time where he could make peace with his demons. I saw Roxy drops for the first time and I saw him get some relief from the pain of untreated cancer, from the pain of dying. I saw them allow me break the rules and lift his frail body into a wheelchair, fashion an old fashioned posey to hold him up and take him down stairs for his last cigarette on Route 30. I was able to spend my breaks with him. I got to suction him and help give him a bed bath. I got off my 3-11 shift and spend a few hours with him watching a baseball game on replay. I sat with him in silence and I held his hand. I finally knew what people meant when they said the dying watch their life play out in their minds. I swear I could see it happening. I asked him if he was thinking about things he said “yep”. I asked him if he wanted me to stay or go and he said “stay”. So I stayed.
I heard the death rattle for the first time. I cried to a veteran hospice nurse and she explained how the Scopolamine patch would help. I finally felt what it was like to be helpless to a family member in need and her words of comfort and years of experience meant everything to me. She said he probably had 48 hours at the most. I read “Gone from my sight” the blue book of hospice by Barbara Karnes. The whole family trickled in. His kids, all his brothers and sisters and nieces and nephews. His children told him they loved him and they forgave him. We kissed his forehead and washed his hair. My mother shaved his face. His daughter said words of kindness that relieved him of any guilt or regret. I saw this beautiful cousin of mine watch me suction him and she asked how I could be so calm and so strong. I didn’t feel strong or knowledgeable but when you are the “medical person” in the family they see things in you that you didn’t know you had.
We surrounded him with love and light and he died surrounded by everyone who ever meant anything to him. The nurses even cried. I got to see the dying process for what it was. It was beautiful and at the same time so humbling it brought me to my knees. I have never forgotten that feeling and I pray I never do.
Is alcoholism a disease? We debate it as health care providers and wonder about the others whose lives have been impacted by the actions of an alcoholic. The amends that never got made. I guess I don’t care if it’s a disease, a condition, or a lifetime of conscious choices and poor judgement.
In the end it’s a human being, usually a dirty foul smelling human being with missing teeth who may or may not be soiled in urine and vomit. Sometimes kicking, hurling obscenities, racial slurs, or spitting. Often doing all of the above at once. It’s hard to empathize with a human being who arrives packaged up that way. It’s hard to care or to want to go above and beyond. And I don’t think you should ever feel guilty if you don’t have those feelings. That is okay. It’s natural to wonder about the damage these people may have done to others. Wonder how many lives they might have ravaged. Please don’t take their pain as your own. At least try not to. It is not your pain to carry. And we all know that is easier said than done.
Treat them with dignity. They feel. They hear you. Give them the care you know you are capable of giving. I can tell you I hold a special place in my heart for every nurse who touched my uncle with a gentle hand. Who cleaned him for the fifth time when he was vomiting stool. Who asked him to smile. Who smiled back at him. Who stroked his forehead and put a cool washcloth on it. I am eternally grateful for anyone that saw beyond his alcoholism and saw a person. A human. A child of God (if you believe in God). A father. A son. An uncle. And I believe in my heart he felt the same way, even if he didn’t or couldn’t say it.
If you have that patient. That difficult, hard to like, dreadful patient. Don’t think you have to love them or even like them. You don’t. But if you can preserve their dignity and show them the kind of nursing care that anyone would deserve, than you are good. You are the reason we are the world’s most trusted profession. And even though you don’t know it, someone saw and felt it, and it meant the world to them. Go to bed and sleep soundly because you deserve that. - J.R. RN
Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) in which he explains the motives and causes of love, and how these vary among people.
He (may Allaah have mercy on him) says:
“Compatibility between souls is one of the strongest causes of love. Every person is attracted towards that which is compatible with him, and this compatibility is of two types:
original compatibility which is ingrained in the essence and that which comes later because of living together or having something in common.
If your aims match his aims, there will be harmony between your soul and his, but if the aims are different, then harmony will no longer exist.
As for original compatibility, it is a kind of similarity in attitude and similarity of souls. Each soul longs for other souls that are similar to it, because what is similar to something is naturally attracted to it, so the two souls may be similar in original creation, thus there will be a natural attraction to one another.
This is what made some people say that love is not only caused by physical beauty, and the lack of physical beauty does not mean that there can be no love; rather it is similarity between souls and similarity in their characteristics which are created in them that matter.
The reality of love is that it is like a mirror in which the lover sees his characteristics and kindness in the image of the one he loves, so in reality he loves nothing but himself and his characteristics and the one who has similar characteristics.
Hence noble, pure and sublime souls love the characteristics of perfection in particular, so the dearest things to them are knowledge, bravery, dignity, generosity, kindness, patience and steadfastness, because these characteristics are compatible with the essence of these souls, unlike base and mean souls, which are far away from loving these characteristics. Many people are motivated to be generous and kind because of their extreme love for these characteristics and the pleasure they find in doing these things, to such an extent that al-Ma’moon said:
Forgiveness was made so dear to me that I am afraid that I will not be rewarded for it.
And it was said to Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him):
Did you acquire this knowledge for the sake of Allaah? He said: To do something for the sake of Allaah is very rare, but it was something made dear to me, so I did it.
Someone else said: I rejoice in giving and enjoy it far more than the one who takes from me rejoices in what he takes.
With regard to the lovers of knowledge, their love for knowledge is greater than the love of anyone else or anything else. Many of them will not be distracted from it by the most beautiful of human images.
Our Shaykh – meaning Ibn Taymiyah – told me:
“I felt sick and the doctor said to me: Your reading and discussing issues of knowledge is making your sickness worse. I said to him: I cannot stay away from that, and I shall discuss the issue on the basis of your (medical) knowledge. Is it not the case that when the soul feels joy, this gives strength to the body and wards off disease? He said yes. I said:
Then my soul feels happy with knowledge and thus my body becomes stronger and this helps me to recover. He said: This is not part of our treatment, or words to that effect.”
If the love relationship is based on similarity and harmony, then it will be reinforced and become stronger, and nothing could remove it except something stronger than the cause of it, and if it is not based on similarity and harmony, then it is no more than love for a reason, which will disappear when the reason disappears.
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal (may Allaah have mercy on him) narrated in his Musnad the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her):
A woman used to go to Quraysh and make them laugh. She came to Madeenah and stayed with a woman who also made people laugh. The Prophet (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him) said: With whom is So and so staying? She said: With So and so, who makes people laugh.
He said: “Souls are like conscripted soldiers; those whom they recognize, they get along with, and those whom they do not recognize, they will not get along with.” The original version of this hadeeth is in al-Saheeh.
If you look at creation, you will hardly find any two people who love one another except that there is some similarity between them or they have something in common with regard to deeds, characteristics or goals. If the goals, characteristics, deeds or ways differ, there can only be aversion and distance between their hearts. It is sufficient to note the saheeh hadeeth from the Messenger of Allaah (blessings and peace of Allaah be upon him):
“The believers, in their mutual mercy, love and compassion, are like a (single) body; if one part of it feels pain, the rest of the body will join it in staying awake and suffering fever.”
[Rawdat al-Muhibbin wa-Nuzhat al-Mustaqin by Ibn al Qayyim al-Jawziyyah, 66-74]
RED FLAG: To my single sisters talking to a brother for marriage - if you are already having fights, disagreements, and problems NOW I want you to consider what things will be like when you are married and living together. If this man is telling you NOW that you argue too much, need to change, aren’t behaving obediently, reminds you of your past, brings up your past, wants you to make a drastic change that would mean you basically being cut off from friends and family, or anything else of this nature - PLEASE SEE THE RED FLAG OF DANGER WAVING IN FRONT OF YOUR EYES.
I know many people are afraid to give their opinion like I am on such little information - but I refuse to stay silent when I believe someone is walking into an emotionally manipulative and potentially abusive marriage.
I know you think you love him, I know he isn’t “all bad,” and I am sure he can be nice too, and I know he said he loves you and wants to marry you… I know he apologizes (sometimes) and makes du'a for you, and says he will be your teacher in the Deen….I know that he said you are beautiful, and I know that he promises a lifestyle of love and happiness….
But all that “love” simply isn’t enough my dear sisters. This love will fail you, it’s going to smash and darken your heat, it’s going to control you, twist you, and bend you until you no longer break, you just melt beneath his feet.
You belong to Allah - as such - you deserve to be treated with dignity, kindness, respect, patience, and generosity. Never let anyone make you believe you are “lucky” for them to choose you.
You choose you first, then YOU get to choose - not just be chosen - you have to choose too, and make a decision you are indeed worthy of making. Talk to your friends, show someone you really really trust with your heart, your Iman, your akhirah, and your precious life - and tell them what is going on, and listen to what they say before you say yes.
dear fellow adults: I will not be complicit in your bullshit.
I’m at the age where a lot of my peers and friends are starting to have kids, and in fact I hope to as well in the next 2-3 years, so this is becoming more and more relevant and necessary for me to think about and say.
being an advocate means nothing if I won’t put friendships and relationships on the line for it. studying and writing essays and organizing events and teaching on issues of children’s rights is worse than worthless if I won’t stand up to my neighbor or my colleague or a stranger on a bus when they cross a line.
social injustices are fuelled by willingness to look the other way, to quietly enable, to prioritize a “united front” over moral courage. adults are socialized to act like other people’s kids are none of their business, like it’s unthinkably intrusive to speak up or act against another parent’s wishes even when you recognize that something they’re doing is wrong, because those kids “belong” to someone else.
I will not be part of that. I will lie to you to protect your child’s right to privacy. I will smuggle books to them that you’ve told them they’re not allowed to read. I will challenge you when you make cruel and dehumanizing comments about your children (or children in general) as a shitty bonding ritual with other adults. I will tear apart your unfounded rhetoric about “kids these days”. if I see you hurting your child, I will protect them, and if necessary, I will hurt you. if I see you disrespecting your child, I will tell them they have the right to expect better, and I will treat you with the lack of respect you deserve.
if I can’t educate you, I will confront, challenge, and undermine you. you’ll get no “united front” from me. I don’t care about your feelings, I don’t care about your convenience, and I don’t care what you think of me. I care that people get treated with respect, dignity, and kindness, especially by those they should be able to trust and rely on most intensely. if you can’t manage that, we’re going to have problems.
i am thankful for a big brother who looks after me, my wellness, and my health as closely as he does. i am thankful for his fiance who teaches, guides, and laughs along with me as i learn (and sometimes fail at) new things. i am thankful for parents who encourage each other, love each other, and choose each other, as it’s been (and continues to be) a wonderful example of what love really, really is. i am thankful for my mom who drops everything and literally flies to her kids when they need her most, and i am thankful for my dad who is continues to improve himself so he can better love + serve those around him. i am thankful for how easy it is to see and enjoy the blue skies + green trees when you get out of the city. i am thankful for walks with my family and our pups through my parent’s neighborhood. i am thankful for bourbon-fueled talks that run until 3:00am where vulnerability is abundant and ideas of how we can better love those around us are born. i am thankful for the little house with the big garden that i pass by each day on my way to work, because the smell of spring always rushes in when i drive past with my windows down. i am thankful for espresso because duh. i am thankful for the rolling green hills and tall pine trees of minnesota. i am thankful for my best friend and the endless supply of love, mercy, and grace she extends to me, as well as being a total badass. i am thankful for my best friend’s fiance and how well he treats not only my best friend, but how well he treats me, too. i am thankful for my pup who curls up right next to me when it’s time for bed and stays there all night and into the morning. i am thankful to live in the middle of the city, but still be within a five minute walk to one of my favorite lakes. i am thankful to know so many truly, truly good men who uphold the dignity of all life - their kindness can bring me to tears. i am thankful to know so many strong and courageous women who remind me that i am worth the things i desire. i am thankful for the gentleness and mercy of Jesus when i slip, stumble, and fall into lies and false realities, and how often he reaches out to help me back up.
I think Tumblr has ruined the word “gentleman” for me. Seems like every time it’s used, there’s a headless dude in a suit wearing an expensive watch. Ugh. Inevitably the page of a man who professes to be a gentleman features almost nothing but skinny white women in stockings and close ups of expensive cars.
I used to think of a gentleman as a man who cared for himself, his family and his community with honor. A man with a reputation for kindness, dignity, and intelligence. Now I just think of them as douches with more money than dude-bros.
“Daddy” was ruined ages ago. Now gentleman is down the drain as well.
"No one means to imply there is actual incest going on in the text of the film" might want to tell that to the loudest members of your ship
Anyone who claims that isdetached from reality and does not represent us shippers as a whole. We go into this ship knowing that it is not canon, that it never will be canon. That is an undeniable fact we all accept.
In my time, I might have seen only one or two people suggest that the ship should be canon without irony but no other shippers take statements like that seriously. Many shippers, myself included, have been the first to shut down any statements like that because we know they are absurd. Such statements, however, are few and far between.
The vast majority of shippers, who you now broadly condemn, are sensitive and sensible people who respect others and treat them with compassion, dignity, and kindness.
They’re certainly entitled to think that, and they’re entitled to full respect for their opinions..but before I can live with other folks I’ve got to live with myself. The one thing that doesn’t abide by majority rule is a person’s conscience.
Saizo: He’s by your side in an instant and stops at nothing to bring you to the healers. The guttural roar that escaped his mouth when he saw you fall was one that rang in your ears even hours after it happened.
You were limp in his arms, feeling nothing but pain rip through your body from its source, a poisoned kunai in your leg. Saizo had long since pulled it out, his muffler tied painfully tight around the wound to try and stop the bleeding.
He didn’t even have a harsh word for you, he was so scared. It was something you never wanted to see again, that look in his eye. That utter fear of losing the one he loved.
i'm dying over your spotify post bc sAME i mean i literally made a playlist called "teen angst" and it was always cool till the commercial came on and i was like wow what a way to ruin the emo mood
RIGHT like…. okay so i’m working on two angsty projects i’m doing with @piyo-13 today and we made playlists for both, and it’s all “past life but one of them doesn’t remember” and “two houses both alike in dignity kind of star-crossed” stuff and i’M SO MAD THAT I KEEP???? HEARING THE GODDAMN SUBWAY ADS??? NO MY EARS DON’T CARE ABOUT THE SIZZLE OF WHATEVER INGREDIENT YOU’RE PROMOTING SUBWAY THEY CARE ABOUT TEARS AND PAIN
thank you for expressing your solidarity anon i’m glad we had this talk
There’s nothing more I love than strong, confident women who support one another. Who don’t try to compete, or steal what another woman has. A woman who embraces sisterhood. A woman who stands true to her morality, dignity and honor. Who is kind and generous. Who has compassion and grace. A woman who is resilient in her own self worth. A woman who isn’t afraid to own her passions, ambitions and pursuits. A woman unapologetically herself. A woman who can rise from her ashes and fly like the Phoenix she is.
- has been handed literally everything and has no idea what work means - is the biggest creep.. he literally tried to writhe up her body so he could ‘figure out how she reads an upside down book’ like bitch… y u care… - later lied to his friends about what happened… ur not that cute bitch - plays that dumbass prank about him and kajol sleeping together and then gives the biggest fuckboy speech about ‘indian women and virginity and dignity’… - is the kind of guy who would honk his lime green ferrari @ u while playing yo yo honey singh on full blast
my skin needs to stay clear so i will stop now but :) hes a fuckboy dont @ me
How would you describe the perfect girl for each member of the Gom?
i had a long draft for this and it disappeared
it had pictures and layouts and everything so this is kind of a toned down version uvu" there’s a previous post regarding Akashi’s and Hanamiya’s preferences, where I stated the official data and delved in more into the meaning.
KUROKO TETSUYA: As stated from the two character data books he has a preference for gentle girls. Being an expert in desling with girls, I think he won’t mind if his partner is not of his expectations. Maybe someone who knows how to cook, is endearing to children, feminine and patient would be ideal.
….Somehow like a mother…?
KISE RYOUTA: Someone who won’t tie him down.
I think being a model he’ll probably have had a lot of girlfriends. If we generally stereotype his previous partners as people with personalities like his ex who went with Haizaki after his loss, then I think it’s very self-explanatory why he doesn’t want to be burdened. Mm, to conclude this, how about a girl who is selfless and independent? Someone who is not spoilt and works hard to get anything she wants.
MIDORIMA SHINTARO: Older than him would do the trick.
I DON’T KNOW. Maybe he has the mindset that the older a person gets, the more mature they are?
But honestly, you’ve seen posts where age doesn’t define maturity, but I like to think that the older we get the more experience and knowledge we gain. He’s probably looking for that spice. A woman who’s reserved, wise and resolute would be nice.
AOMINE DAIKI: Big boobs.
Don’t make me explain this his reading material says it all
MURASAKIBARA ATSUSHI: Someone tall but not taller than him.
He’s probably pretty concerned about his height if he stated that as his criteria. You know that even if two people click together it becomes a problem if you just can’t easily do things lovers do. Maybe he made some petite girlfriends in the past and he isn’t up to having to bend down to talk or kiss their cheek every single time.
Rough, tough, pretty conscious about her height and she has a motherly side would be good.
AKASHI SEIJUURO: I already have a post talking about his dream girl but it’s my policy to answer even if it’s already been a mentioned ask
He likes girls with dignity.
Akashi is the kind of guy who takes his pride very seriously, and probably won’t give an immature or naive girl a second glance. Someone with proper manners and etiquette, traditional and excels in different areas would be good.
KAGAMI TAIGA: A girl who is elegant.
WELL IN A WAY THIS SURPRISED ME
If you take a look again at my take on Kuroko’s preference, you would be aware that I’ll say the exact same for Kagami, except the girl has a hidden and fiery temper to deal with. The kind who seems very gentle and patient, sometimes subconsciously manipulative, and has a temper.
so to conclude this post..
THE MIRACLES WHO ANSWERED BY APPEARANCE: Aomine, Murasakibara
THE MIRACLES WHO ANSWERED BY PERSONALITY: Kuroko, Kise, Akashi, Kagami
THE MIRACLE I CANNOT CATEGORISE: Midorima