Thursday, February 4, 2010

Forest, Trees and Blindness


Today is the day for the big interview and I'm a little worried. I'm not concerned about not getting the position. Indeed, I'm a little fearful that I will. Since last week, I've been praying for clarity, and yesterday, I got it in the form of a phone call from a colleague I confided in the day before.

Since I'm living with this overwhelming fear in my gut, my feelings are never far from the surface. On Tuesday, we met at a patient start of care and I confided in her that I was thinking of leaving the clinical end of our business and my reasons for thinking this way. We discussed all of the incidents that have occurred to me at night and the solitary nature of my position. You see, the day shift staff all have one another and weekly team meetings. They have routine opportunities to debrief and discuss events as they occur. They also have more opportunities to team up for visits. I ordinarily work alone. I have an evening shift counterpart, but she lacks empathy. Completely. I know, it seems odd that a nurse would have no ability to place herself in another's shoes, but that's her in a nutshell. In addition, she's got much safer territory to cover than me, so maybe she just doesn't get it.

On Wednesday morning, my coworker from Tuesday called me back to discuss both the patient we'd seen and our more private discussion. What she had to say kind of threw me for a loop, and now I have the clarity I prayed for. My colleague believes I'm experiencing a threat induced post traumatic stress disorder stemming from my near assault in Detroit in December. She told me what she thought and is encouraging me to get some help for this. She also told me that if I fail to get help and I don't work through this, that no matter what job I do, these feelings of despair, anxiety and their physical manifestations will follow me around and even if I chose to work outside of nursing, something will happen to trigger this problem. Essentially, the damage is done and now I must work to do the repair.

I think she's right. As soon as the words left her mouth, my understanding was instant. Living it, I couldn't see what she plainly could, but there you have it. I'm not sleeping well. I can't fall asleep for hours and I can't stay asleep once I'm there. I'm having nightmares, although I can't recall their details when awake. I have intermittent pains in my chest and the feeling that a sharp edged rock is residing deep in my gut. I'm irritable (see above--not sleeping), angry and when it's time to clock into work for the day, I'm nauseated. I don't leave the house unless it's Saturday morning and time to spin, or I have to because it's time to work. I've turned into a little recluse and I've been using the weather as an excuse. I haven't even seen my best friend since before Christmas and that's not normal, nor is it me. That episode last Monday? I mean talk about a hyper-vigilant state of mind...I was in that frame of mind even before the yelling started. My physical response was to run and I don't think reason ever stood a chance. To top it all off, I recognize that I've really personalized that home care nurse's death and this can't be good for my psyche.

Lately, I'm just tearful. I love what I do and the thought of working at a desk job with no patient interaction is counter to who and what I am. I'm a nurturer and a caregiver. I've been one since I was a wee little girl. Nursing came naturally to me and this potential job change just doesn't feel right. I am uniquely qualified to perform the tasks I currently do.

Still...I'm going to the interview. I'm also going to see the doctor.

In the meantime, I'm going to have a good cry over the way I feel and try to let some of these damaging thoughts and feelings go.

24 comments:

Ruth said...

Take care Rudee - I hope the interview turns out the way you want. Do what you need to to be safe and happy. Know that many people from afar care for you.

Lisa L said...

oh rudee. i don't know the right words. but i'm glad you're going to see someone. and i am praying you get the desk job. your job is so effing dangerous..no wonder you have ptsd...i would not have stuck around in your position as long as you have. no way. you can still do alot of nurturing and caregiving from the desk. I do, in one of my jobs. (the non-hospice one.)and look at it this way..maybe its time not to nurture others so much, and take time to nurture you...as in.. a nice...hopefully non-stressy desk job. don't be too hard on yourself girl.

Eternally Distracted said...

I am echoing Lisa, don't be too hard on yourself and fingers crossed that everything goes the way you would like it to.

Miss 376 said...

I'm just so pleased that you found someone you could talk to who knew enough to be able to pinpoint the problem. Whatever happens, I hope you will be happy and get back to being the person you are

Rose said...

I'm so sorry you're going through that right now, but I'm so glad you're going to get some help. You know it'll take time but it will happen, you will get better. I went through something similar as a result of my divorce but I was in therapy the whole time, before, during, and after, and believe me, it saved me. So, so glad that someone recognized what was going on, and that you listened. Give yourself lots of credit for that, as not everyone can hear what they need to hear. Good, good thoughts are with you.

SkippyMom said...

Ditto tenfold to what everyone has said dear Rudee.

I am so glad you were able to reach out to someone who was able to help you and you listened. I hope you are able to get the help you need.

I also pray that the interview turns out the way you would want. Perhaps a break for a while [in an office] would help towards the healing process? I don't know I just want what is best for you.

And as Ruth said "Know that many people from afar care for" - me included.

Take care and you know where to find me if you need to chat. Hugs.

Amy said...

I couldn't even begin to advise you, but just have to say that it takes a lot of courage to think through these things and face them and deal with them. Take care of yourself in the best way possible.

The Crusty Crone said...

Yay for the clarity. I hope everything turns out perfect for you.

A good cry always feels good afterwards.

debra said...

xoxo (o)

bettyjf1 said...

Oh Rudee, I didn't know about your near assault in December! I'm sorry you're going through this but I am glad you're going to a doctor. Hospice Nurses are angels and so I've always considered you with wings and a halo.. I hate thinking of you afraid and in danger. I am glad though that you've gotten clarity. I'll be waiting to hear how your interview goes.

Mrs. A said...

Good for you, Rudee! I'm so sorry this is happening to you, but I think you're being very brave. As hard as I'm sure it must be to share all your personal feelings, I'm so glad you are. You are an example to all of us who read. Good luck at the interview and in the days to come as you deal with this.

sapphireblue said...

I went through counseling when I lost my Emma. It's well worth it. I was having panic attacks and anxiety. I still get a little anxiety now, but not as bad. If you employer offers an employee assistance program, they don't ever have to know you were seeking counseling. Just something to consider.

I know you don't like the idea of a desk job, but maybe it would be a good thing for you.

Brenda said...

I have the baby today, but want to say a quick something here. I think I remember when you were preparing to go into Hospice because you wouldn't have to lift and continue to hurt your back. You didn't anticipate this type of "fear for your life" work. Just take care yourself right now, and even if the office work doesn't suit you, something else may fill the void of one on one caretaker. PTSD is nothing to take lightly. Do whatever necessary to take of Rudee. Lots of people still need you. Hugs!

Stephanie V said...

Thank God for friends with both empathy and insight. You're right, it does seem clear now that someone has said it. There is hope now.
Maybe a 'rest' at a desk job will also help the healing.
You are the most important person right now - be good to yourself.

Rositta said...

It is a good thing that you confided in someone who could see clearly what you could not. PTS is a very terrible thing and the sooner you deal with it the better for you. Take care friend...ciao

Sandy said...

Wow Rudee, your coworker has great insight, and sounds like it touched you to the core. Hope you work this out and your path is clear after that.

Miss T said...

It will all be okay, but it does take time. Best of luck with the interview!

willowtree said...

Just because your probably have PTSD, doesn't mean that your present job is too dangerous. Get out of there!

sue b said...

Just wanted to wish you well on the next phase of your journey. A change is clearly in order and a little therapy never hurt anyone! I don't know if you will enjoy doing something that doesn't involve patient care, but you can always see how it goes, and make another change if you need to. That's the great thing about nursing, there are so many options.

Gail said...

I have something I use that seems to help me...name it, conquer it. It is so wonderful that your friend was able to see this and now knowing, you can get help.

I hope your interview went the way you wanted it too. I think you have supplied your own answer. Do what you love.

Quiltluver said...

What you said makes a lot of sense. I hope the interview turned out the way you wanted it to. It's too bad that you have to go through this kind of pain just to do a job that you love. I hope that this has a happy ending for you.

Jane said...

I agree with everything everyone else has said Rudee. This is the time to take care of you and perhaps a desk job is part of that plan for now. Keep praying and all will be revealed. Thinking of you and sending a very large hug!

Kathleen said...

Wow-that's sounds sooooo hard. Wise friend, wise you. Sending beams of love and comfort from afar.

laurie said...

what a wise friend.

is there a reason you can't do the day-time caregiving?