Friday, August 17, 2007

an abusive relationship

i had a patient the other day come in after being assaulted by her boyfriend. she was very beautiful and young enough to get any guy but old enough to know better. when i asked about the frequency of like occurences she only laughed and said "oh yeah, this has happened before. i was married once, i guess i really know how to pick 'em." i was floored for two reasons. one, it's never ok for someone to abuse you, mentally or physically. and being married is not an excuse. the second was because after being hit the first time she should have known to walk away. apparently to some people love conquers all. we ended up calling P.D. (we're legally bound to report abuse cases) and she ended up refusing to make a statement. i wasn't surprised.
the funny thing is, i was at work the other day when someone (a nurse) said that working in the ER is like being in an abusive relationship. i laughed at the time but now i realize she couldn't be more right. let me break it down for you. 12 1/2 hours on your feet isn't easy. somedays we get to sit down, some days we spend 12 hours on our feet and the only time we sit down is to use the restroom. some days we get a lunch, some days we don't. patients are irritable, doctors are sassy and nurses back talk and talk about people behind their back. but there are days when everything goes right. or a patient says thank you and means it. or you save someone's life and you know you kicked butt. or a doctor isn't sassy and nurses get along. when it's good, it's really good. and you forget about the bad times because you love your job. you go back because it's the drive to save someone's life that fuels you. you know the rush you get when you hear a code blue called overhead. you want to be in the room, pushing drugs, starting an IV, doing chest compressions, hanging drips and titrating to get results....all to hear the words "we've got a pulse". you forget about your feet hurting and your hungry stomach. you don't think about how tired you are physically and mentally after a 12 hour shift of pure chaos because you think maybe tomorrow will be different. and you go back again and again. the ER apologies with thank you's from patients, homemade food from co-workers, and if you're lucky a slow night. and you forgive it and you go back.
this is the relationship i'm in. but i love it and to me, that's enough.
i watched a patient die today. he was young, 50-something with an extensive history. he didn't look bad, like the normal overweight, short-of-breath man we usually get. he was having chest pain and his family found him slumped over. he'd been down for an hour before they found him. we worked him for about 45 minutes and then pronounced him dead at 3:30am. his daughter and wife cried loudly at the bedside after we'd called it, screaming and yelling at the patient who'd just passed. it wasn't in english so didn't understand but all i could imagine was her saying "why didn't you tell me you felt sick" or "why did you leave me?" it made me so sad.
my abusive relationship with the ER today was bad. i am beaten and broken and i am in bad need of rest. but i will go back for more on sunday because this is who i am and what i do.

Friday, August 10, 2007

a close call

its only been a month and i'm already having to take my foot out of my mouth. yes, that's right, i almost screwed this one up. it's not surprising though considering who you're dealing with. last sunday came, he cooked me dinner, we had a fabulous time. i said he may be "the one" and was giddy with excitement and then bam! i got scared, i told him (thru email, way to go stephanie) that i have a hard time dealing with affection and that i am destructive in relationships. why i said this? i still have no idea. for a couple of days, though, things were pretty rough and i was sure that he was altogether going to decide he didn't want the drama.
we've since worked it out and i can tell you one thing. he is really something great and i don't want to lose him. the good guys deserve a chance.
and i don't know why, but he wants to cook the ungrateful wench dinner again. and i am thrilled that he's given me a second chance.

Monday, August 6, 2007

the ambassador

ambassador- n. a diplomatic official of the highest rank sent by a government to represent it on a temporary mission, as for negotiating a treaty.

this is basically what we are in the beginning of a relationship, an ambassador. we represent ourselves in the best way possible, highlighting our greatest attributes and hiding our shortcomings. if you can push through the facade that is meant to hide what we don't want seen and get to what's "real", then and only then will you know someone's true intentions.
i would love to tell you about this guy i'm seeing, who seems too good to be true. i want you to know all about him and how he cooked me dinner and serenaded me with his guitar and voice. how he chose all my favorite songs for dinner so that i could really enjoy it. he is detailed like that, wanting everything to be perfect. i want to fill you in on every last detail, but i won't. i won't because i am terrified that either he is "the one" or he's not the one and i'm blowing this way out of proportion. but he feels it too, the click that's there when we see each other. it's as if i've known him a million years and we just met.
so i will continue to take it slow; this is the first time i've felt this way. it's like a good book. you start reading, immediately knowing its potential, and although you want to skip to the last few pages to see what happens you resist. you take it slow, letting the words overcome your emotions, taking your time getting to know the characters. you know in the long run it will be worth it because you were patient and you will enjoy the book that much more.
but a peek at the end of this one would be nice. ;)

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

going at a turtle's pace

i just finished an amazing book called "straight up and dirty" and despite the racy title, it was spectacular. a story about myself as told through another stephanie, stephanie klein. our stories are similar, mine sans the marriage and pregnancy. she is married to a doctor and at one point finds herself going through his email account. right down to the moment she knew there was someone else, i felt as though i was living my relationship with art all over again.
i remember the day like it was yesterday. he was at work, i was home from school early. i decided to clean and i was going through "the drawer" where he kept his personal things. personal things included a picture of michele, his ex girlfriend. and i'm not sure what possessed me to look at it every so often, but i found that i would look at her and wonder who she was. he had asked her to marry him one night while he was drunk and she told him yes. the next day, she woke up and told him no. i'm not sure why she walked away but her pushing him away, pushed him to me. i should have known right there he was no good. that day after i'd taken a look at michele again i found the phone records. and there, clear as day, was her number over and over again. weekends i was gone, nights we'd gone out together, Christmas day after i left his parents house, new years eve as i was outside calling my family...he was talking to her. don't ask how i knew it was her number, i just did and it was sprinkled throughout his call log, well more like plastered. her number was everywhere, i felt like i was the other woman. it was done, i knew he'd cheated. i left that day for my parents; i cried myself to sleep that night and many nights that followed. i was, in fact, living with him, playing house. we'd talked of marriage and what we'd name our children. my dream was shattered. he called soon after offering marriage, as if that would help. i went back to him only a few weeks later wanting the comfort i'd had, but it was gone. i'd always question him, want to look at his phone records, make him feel bad for what he'd done and punish him for the grief he'd caused.
it makes me mad now, not because of what he did or who he was but because of who i wasn't. i wasn't strong enough to walk away from him because i didn't think there was better. i was weak, i was tolerant and i made excuses. Stephanie Klein's story is similar to the point of scary.
but here's the thing: my past few relationships have been nothing but lessons to learn from.
i am currently dating a man (i cannot call him a boy because he is not) who is so "me" it is terrifying. and EVERYONE has warned against rushing into it, but i couldn't do it any other way, not now. i want to know more about him but i'm wary of letting him know too much of me. i am cautious and guarded, more than i have ever been before. he knows my past, he understands that i'm damaged slightly from a string of broken relationships and doesn't mind waiting for me to open up. i look forward to his emails and hearing his voice and spending time with him. if taking it slow is going at turtles pace, we would be almost at a standstill. but he doesn't mind and neither do i.
"good things come to those who wait"