Sunday, September 24, 2017

Achilles Heel

I have been a resident of Galveston, Texas for over a year now. This has been such a year of growth, forcing me to grow in ways I never thought possible. In so many ways I have felt like an Israelite wandering around in the desert, waiting for the promise land (graduation obviously). Now, I can honestly say that I am thriving in my desert environment, which is only natural seeing as I'm about to leave. I've learned a lot about nursing, I've finally made friends who I can call on, I am a youth group leader at my new church, I'm still mentoring, and I am applying for jobs that will soon take me from my "home" in Galveston. Through it all, God has sustained me. He has challenged me, molded me, and made me stronger. You never know how weak you are until you are tested. Thankfully, my God is so faithful and has never left my side.

Tonight though I wanted to take the time to blog on something that has been on my heart lately, something that has popped up several times signaling me to sit down, and write out my thoughts.

"In the event of crisis, how many people could you rely on?" 1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8, 9 or more.

This is a question that I have been asked with almost every single job application that I have filled out. At first I was puzzled, because why does an employer need to know how many people I consider in my close circle? As I sat on the question, I applied it to my life. "Katelyn, if you got caught up at work how many people could you call to go let Charlotte out of her kennel that she's been in for 16 hours." (assuming they live in the same town).

9 or more. That has been my answer, because my God has surrounded me with family and friends who care for me in that way. As I select the answer, I am always touched and feel so grateful that I consider so many people so near and dear to my heart. Also so glad I have friends and family who take care of my difficult, spotted, diva dog.

But then, there's the opposite. What about the people who say 0?

This became a reality to me early in my nursing career as I worked at TDCJ. Working with prisoners, means that you get to hear about their stories. You hear how the consequences of their actions have left them with no friends or family, which is actually devastating to me. I remember coming home from a shift, crying myself to sleep because one of my prisoners was going to die, and there was no one to call. Unfortunately, the prison had become his family because his actions had alienated himself from his friends and family who believed he was unforgivable. I like to think this man is alone, but I know he's not. Even in the free world there are individuals who die or are hospitalized alone.

This is my Achilles heel of nursing, because my heart breaks. Whether it is a prisoner locked away from the world, or an elderly woman restrained in a hospital room with no family who cares enough to visit her, it gets me. It makes it hard for me to leave work at work, because I finish a shift and know I have people there for me, waiting to talk to me. I know that if I was in an accident, I would have a hospital room full of family and friends who care for me. So it bothers me when a patient doesn't have the support system. It bothers me to see patients alone, DAY after DAY, fighting an illness or disease that will kill them alone. It bothers me that as a society we have failed our friends, families, and neighbors that we would let them sit in a hospital room alone. Because in my not so professional opinion, you need people to heal. You need loved ones, or a kind stranger of a nursing student to sit at your bedside and comfort you, to allow your body to rest and heal.

So this is my Achilles heel, because I strongly believe everyone needs someone. Nothing brings me to tears more quickly than seeing someone alone in the hospital. So here's my thoughts, take them or leave them. Make a point to visit people in the hospital. You're busy, you have kids, work is stressful, hospitals smell funny, other people will visit. Ya, I've heard them all. But next time your grandma is hospitalized, make the time to see her. Or you better pray a nursing student will sit down and comfort her as she hurts physically and emotionally. Next time your neighbor gets sick, go visit them. Take a casserole, have your kids draw pictures, whatever you can do, make it a priority.

The world would be a better place if we cared a little bit more about the people in it. If we all took the time to visit one person in the hospital a month, I believe healing would be more successful.

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