I typically share these stories as a “Nursing Inspiration on my Yourheartismine Facebook Page, but I just had to re-share this story via blog….so here we go!
I wanted to share with you guys a beautiful experience that I had quite some time ago. I remember it clearly and finally got the time to type this story out. It painted a picture of what struggle is. What addiction is. What love is. What beauty is. What LIFE IS. What a NURSE is.
A Beautiful Mess
I was assigned to a patient who was a 10-13. For those of you unfamiliar, a 10-13 is an involuntary status, and deems the patient dangerous to him or herself, or a danger to others. Typically when you get assigned to these patients, you never know what you’re getting into. They can literally be your best or worst patient.
I had the honor of taking care of a gentlemen under this status who, I know, was 100% placed in my care for a reason. Every time I went in to give him meds, he was kind, patient, and thankful. I know he had been through a lot of crap in life, per his history, but it just didn’t match up with the person that I was taking care of. Don’t get me wrong, we had our fair share of “come to Jesus meetins” as I call them, about pain meds and sedatives, but all in all, he was gentle, kind, very intelligent (I could just tell in conversation), and somewhere a long the lines of his life, something lead him down a path of destruction.
I Wanted To Know His Story
I felt convicted to ask him about how he got to where he was. I told him that he was special, and it’s rare that I get someone with this type of “history” who seems to be extremely intelligent and capable of making good choices for himself. Depression and addiction can overcome anyone, and THAT BREAKS MY HEART.
He shared his story with me. Without going into detail, there are factors, people, and events in life that influence our hearts to pursue or get caught up in bad things. Not necessarily the things we want to do, but when feeling hopeless and insecure, we end up walking down a path of destruction because we don’t believe that we deserve “good” or have self worth.
I started chatting with this man because his intelligent conversation made me realize how deep his issues were. For someone this smart to make such terrible decisions just frustrated me. I see it all the time, and it just gets to me. His pain went deep. That someone, who sounded to me was capable of running a successful business, is now lost in a dark place because of the lack of love and support in his life.
He’s Not The Only One
I have witnessed these situations a few times, where smart and driven people go down a path of destruction and ruin their lives. I’ve seen this, but in many cases, family was still there. The older, retired parents come back to their children as if they were 5 years old again, even though they are self-sufficient adults. Because it’s their child and when your child struggles, you are there no matter what. No matter what your family, friends, or loved ones think of you taking care of such “selfish” and “damaging” behavior. Yes, I’ve seen this. It’s sad and heart-wrenching.
I’ve never seen it where someone who NEVER had support their whole life, has made it to a point of success, and then lost is all. I looked this man in the eyes and said, “Listen Mr. Jones (pseudo name), I know that you may not feel you have any reason to live or any reason to move on, but you have something special. You have something that I haven’t seen in many patients who have been in your similar situation…..” And he truly did. He had been a fighter his whole life, despite his circumstances. We talked more about what this meant. He teared up and so did the sitter and I.
We Have EVERY Opportunity To Make A Difference
Listen, I’ve done this nursing thing not too long, but in four years you can learn a lot. You see a lot. I know that as a nurse, I can’t change everyone. I can’t follow my cardiac patients home and knock the french fries out of their hands. I know that I can’t grab the alcohol from my ETOH withdrawal patients. I know that I can’t make sure every one of my patients are compliant with their medications. I get that. I hate it, but I get it.
But what I do know….I have EVERY opportunity to say something to my patients, something that maybe no one else will ever say to them for whatever reason, when they are in my care. I have the opportunity to share my heart for others, my genuine concern for their wellbeing, my young 27 year old knowledge, but mostly, the faith I have in people.
Having been through my own personal struggles, I know what it’s like to want to run and give up. I know the pain that life can be for whatever reason. It’s something that the people around you don’t understand when you are going through it. But I am thankful for the people in my life who fought for me in the times that I couldn’t fight for myself.
We Are Called To LOVE Well
I’m not saying that I am going to change this mans direction. I’m not saying that I changed this mans life and that everything is going to be good from here on out. But what I am saying is that I told him that I truly believed in him. That I truly feel he could turn his life around and experience a lot of joy. Joy in ways that he never thought he could. My HOPE is that our conversation gave him a little glimpse of HOPE that he hasn’t had. And that little glimpse of home will give him strength to at least TRY, because you only fail when you STOP TRYING!!!
Nursing is beautiful. People are beautiful. Everyone is fighting their own battles. We can’t fix them all. But we can LOVE. We can love hard, and we can love well.
I know I won’t see this patient again, but this moment still resonates with me. Sometimes it just takes ONE person, ONE moment, ONE conversation to impact your life. I know that this one did mine, and I hope my patient felt the same.
Your Heart Is Mine,
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