When you marry a nurse, you marry their job.
There are a lot of missed opportunities. Missed events with the kids, missed meals with the family.
Deep down you have to accept it. You realize that THIS is their calling. THIS is their passion.
As my nurse sleeps, I quietly clean the house for her, do the dishes, prepare meals, do laundry, so when she is leaving the house an hour before she has to be at her pre shift, she has a clean home, clean scrubs, and somewhat sane children, and a meal ready to go for her.
When my nurse gets home, she tells me about her night. All the crazy that went into her night. Patients coding, patients getting combative. Sitting with her patients knowing they are dying, making them as comfortable as possible, boxing up those emotions so she does not carry them home. Coming home to see her children smile and say they love her. Knowing that they are taken care of and not having to worry.
Nurses are superstitious in many ways. Mine wears the worst socks only to taunt the nursing gods. Yet she makes it through each night, talking about her ‘dumpster fires’ and ‘sh*t shows.’ Then, there is the question I ask: ‘What damn socks are you wearing?’ (They say ‘ringmaster of the sh*t show.’) I remind her I’m going to burn them in some ritualistic way to please the nursing gods.
She calls me on her way home in the morning, 5 hours after her shift should have ended, to stay awake. I let her talk, I let her vent, I let her know that she is an amazing mother, nurse, wife. She gives her 100% day in and out. So, I do the same. I know it’s not just me sleeping alone. It is also her. So, I make sure the bed is made when she comes home.
It’s the little things that matter. They all count. In return, I don’t ask her for anything she can’t give easily. She has done so much for others in her last 16-hour shift. She missed her meal to give meds. Her bladder is about to explode but she does her rounds. She has her nurses go on break so she misses hers. She digs in her bag for her ‘trash panda’ snacks. Attached are sticky notes that tell her to have a good night, and that we love her, and to stop eating junk.
Meanwhile, I’m doing homework with 4 kids and making dinner and lunches for the next day. All so that she does not have to worry. We love our nurse, mom, wife, and best friend.
Get some rest, babe. You don’t have to work tonight. We can make dinner together. I’ll even rub your feet.”
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