Yeah, I’m retired…for a couple of months now.
But I’ve been a nurse since 1965 when I went into nursing school and they started drilling certain things into my psyche. That’s almost fifty years of indoctrination. It’s a wonder I’m not walking the streets trying to put people on bedpans or checking their temps. Picture that…
However, there are some nurse-things I did that I have a hard time undoing.
Like not going to the bathroom (one or two) until you absolutely have to. Nurses tell themselves: “I’ll go when I finish giving out my meds…finish charting…hang that IV…”
Like not telling people how to manage their lives. Nurses say things like: “You really shouldn’t buy all those bags of potato chips and M&M peanuts for snacks. Here have an apple. Are you taking your BP meds?”
Like not talking back to doctor-TV shows. Nurses say things like: “Humpf! My staff never ran like that. I couldn’t get anyone to move that fast unless there was free food.”
But there’s one thing about my almost fifty years of nursing that’s really causing an issue. I can’t relax.
No, I can’t relax. Even when I’m sitting down or trying to go to sleep my brain is going a mile a minute with all the things I have to do.
In my years at nursing school we were brainwashed to believe many things but the big one (bathroom time not withstanding) is “You do not come first – the patient, your duties come first. You canNOT relax until you’ve got everything done.” And for a nurse working with patients that’s not a bad thing. But for a retired nurse…
“You don’t have to get everything done before the wedding.” This is what Retired Mitzi says.
Nurse Mitzi says: “Look, get your lazy butt in gear. Stop writing. Stop reading. Start working.”
“You can take a day off to have fun,” Retired Mitzi says.
Nurse Mitzi disagrees: “What do you mean you’re going to the movies? You got so much to do.”
It’s difficult to give up that sense of responsibility…that feeling that so much depends on you.
It’s a good feeling and a bad feeling.
It’s good to be needed.
But when the people and the responsibilities that need you change, you need to change with them.
Retired Mitzi says: “Not everything has to be done by the end of the shift, by the end of the work-day. Rest a bit. Take the day off. There are no IVs to hang, meds to give, plans of correction to write.”
But Nurse Mitzi says: “Okay but first roll over so I can take your temp.”