Thursday, April 5, 2012

April Strikes Again

I guess I haven't really known what to write lately.  This time of year, it's so hard for me to formulate words to match the way I feel.  It's such an odd place.  In April, everything seems to mark the time that's passed since he's been gone.  My life starts to feel like that blind spot you hit when you drive into a tunnel and the light changes.  When you can't see anything at all in front of you.  When I drive into tunnels I am afraid of that spot.  What if someone is standing there?  I would never see them until it was too late.

As I near the finish line of nursing school, I have been thinking a lot about the circumstances of my life that brought me to this place.  Why do I want to be a nurse?  What kind of nurse do I want to be?  The truth is, people are so inherently fragile.  You never know when the tiniest action can have life-long reverberations.  You never know when something you do when you aren't thinking or think you are helping can scar a person for the rest of their days.

Several days ago, I tucked one of these shots into my purse.  As a reminder of the nurse I want to be, the person I want to be.

These pictures, folks, are the first images I have of my newborn son.  For several hours, I could not see him, so some well-meaning nurse brought me these.  Blurry, chaotic polaroid shots that were meant to be comforting.  The fragmented explanations and nursing care I received in these hours and the hours preceding his birth are similar to these pictures.  I stared and stared at these pictures trying to see the details of his face and begin to process what had happened to us.  Tell me, can you see his face?  Would photos like these bring you comfort?  I'm sure that if my nearly six year old son was running around the living room with his sister today these pictures would never cross my mind and would only bring a vague and fleeting frown to my face if they did.  Maybe I would have thrown them away.  It would have been nice to throw them away.  Instead, these pictures have become a visual representation of everything that happened to us during those fifteen days in April.  Chaotic and terrifying, blurry and confusing.  In my nightmares, I am forgetting his face.  It looks just like these pictures.  Yet I can't throw them away or purge them from my memory.  There are just so few photos to look back on.

I don't want to be the kind of nurse that brings blur and chaos to patients and families.  I want to be like the nurses I had in the NICU that would stop and act like human beings, make sure we understood what was going on.  Thankfully, these days my NICU experiences are much less blurry.  I no longer have to stand by helplessly while my son has an apnea episode that turns him grey in an instant.  Now I am the one helping to right the situation.  I am the one that gets to stand by the shaking mom in the corner and make sure she understands that it's all right for right now.  For me, it can never be all right, but I am so grateful that for someone else it can be.  And I can guarantee that I will always find a moment to hold still and take a damn picture.

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