Wasting my life?

Me- 'staying sane' @ Ridiculous Jan. 2010

I was on the tail end of a twelve hour shift, at the hospital. It was my fourth day in a row. I was mentally & emotionally drained. My scrubs were splashed with blood & the bio-hazard warnings were buzzing faintly in my ears. I paid them little heed. At this point, I was much too exhausted & very close to punching the clock & going home. I didn’t want to change clothes. I was to be off for 3  days. I would rest and skate with Rhino, Preston& Andy.

I had been admitting a 59 year old, obese man with heart problems & renal issues…his heart & kidneys were failing. Not so good. He was pretty demanding & needy. I understood. He was scared. However, I still had a bit of work to accomplish, so I tried to keep him comfortable & deal with the mess of paperwork & doctors orders that routinely go along with an admission to the unit. He was a bank executive, and a pilot in the Air Force, he quickly told me.  He let me know my place in his scheme of things. He questioned my every action. He was a curmudgeon.

I looked at this overweight, ill man & wondered how he became this way. After all, I knew how I turned out the way I did. I knew that I was a mess inside. I would go home from work, taking all the pain & suffering with me. I would put Keith Jarretts- ‘Nagoya’ on the CD player, open a bottle of Stoli, and drown in a river of my own making. Who could I talk to of my household gods? Rage, alcohol, loneliness & despair. I shook my head sadly. I had a messed up childhood- in some ways -and a huge inferiority complex from it. I guess that I had finally stopped blaming my parents & tortured myself with my fears. It wasn’t their fault anyway. They did the best they could. Damn! A person could go nuts with such thoughts.

I was out in the hallway, striding toward the supply room when I heard a call, ” I need some help in here!” The voice had that urgency & panic familiar to me. I knew that something was wrong. I rushed back into the patients room & saw my  admission patient turning the wrong color. He was dusky & slipping fast. We all went into our mode. One person checked vitals, one called for more help & the machinery of life-saving quickly fell in order. I performed CPR on the man after he ‘coded’. The ‘Code Blue’ team responded with the ‘crash cart’ and we -collectively- brought the man back from the darkness.

It probably wouldn’t be for long, though. He was a physical wreck, from years of indulgent living, sumptuous meals & neglecting his health. I pictured his home on a Friday night. The smell of good cigars, rich food, business banter & wine-inspired laughter. The families gold-laced, framed photographs in the hallways, spoke of assured destiny & old money. We brought him back to life again…

After a few weeks, he was stabilized & ready to be discharged. He would need careful monitoring & home health visits. He sent for me & I stopped in his room to see him. He was with his family at this point. He looked different…not so haughty or entitled. He spoke humbly, thanking me for my efforts & for performing CPR & life-saving measures on him. His family said much the same to me. My fingers fluttered & I fidgeted nervously. I didn’t like this part of the job. For me, it was easier to zip them into a bag.

I wished him & his family well. I hope that he makes it. I hope he sees his grandchildren grow older. I hope that he’s not such a prick any longer. I drove home in the early morning light. My shift ended at 7am. I was wrung out. On entering my room, I looked longingly at a bottle of Crown Royal on the nightstand. It glittered wetly. My demise. I turned away, showered & went to bed. Pulling the sheets up over my head to block out the morning light, I had one final thought before sleep took me. If I helped to give that man more life, then how can I consider my life a waste?  Thank you MRZ for the image. Skate-Ozzie


15 thoughts on “Wasting my life?

  1. you should be a writer, that story was pretty touching.
    skating is such good medicine for the mind .
    keep on rolling.

  2. Thanks for this Ozzie. I’m wasting my time in this cubicle a lot more than when I’m skating. That’s when I gain all my time back!

  3. You know how I feel, you are never as “useless” as you may think, it matters that people let you know that and today I surround myself with those who do. I avoid the others like the plague. It’s called wisdom, “getting older” and hopefully wiser, and just don’t want to bother with those who are the “takers”. I’ve been on both sides of that coin, and today I just seek an even balance, love and friendship. No expectations. No drama. I love you OZ – pumpkin-head.

  4. Such thoughts. It seems many of us “injured in childhood” became nurses people still have that inferiority complex. I know, all too well, what it feels like to bring someone “back” or “through” and to let them go gently and even screaming & fighting–not so gently. But you are right to ask–why would we, you, why do I still think I’m less than or even worse—worth-LESS when all this falls onto my shoulders? I know I once had it. I once believed I was worthWHILE. That wasn’t so long ago. Why did I lose that esteem? I was looking back at when this turmoil of strife/depression started to take its hold on me & it was somewhere between 10th grade and sophomore in college/nursing school to be exact. I fight the demons daily and sometimes I don’t bother to fight. Life is what it is, right? Maybe I’ve already peaked & I’m on the downward side of this life’s mountain. I don’t know. Will I ever? Do I want to? Hmmm

  5. if your wasting your life, so am i at least i’m in great company and enjoying the ride, you are a great inspiration

  6. As a RN I can relate to that story. It is a job that not many can prepare for. There are good days and many many bad days. Only a nurse would understand. Bill

  7. Loving your work Ozzie, couldn’t think of a better way to waste life. no one gets hurt and its a chuckle. I’m coming over the ditch just to roll with you Oz!

  8. Definitely not wasted…not ever…
    No one’s story is who they are in their entirety…it only makes up a background…

  9. i’m joining the wasting my life tour!!! and when people fucken get it!!! i’ll probably be gone!!! c’mon ozzie…let’s go drain a virgin pool today!!! and get our grinds…and make the deathbox…that’s not wasting our lives!!!…and everyone in the family and society tells me so…i’m just having funnest time of my life…and to hear people say that i’m just wasting my life…well you know what you do…tell em-lick it….and cherish it!!!

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