I was scheduled to work Thanksgiving this year so I informed my children that they would need to find someone else to spend the day with. They all have significant others and could go to their dads so I wasn't too worried about them. It's just a day right?
By the Wednesday before Thanksgiving I started to get an upset stomach. I was feeling a little sad that I wasn't going to be around with my family. Erika and Tim were baking pumpkin pies Wednesday night and I was in a funk. Wonder why I ever chose a job where I had to work holidays and miss out on everything that others celebrate...
Then it dawned on me that the last time I worked Thanksgiving (two or three years ago) I had a horrible day. Yes, the holiday tends to be slower. Less patients should mean that day is better and that staff have time to socialize. But I was having flashbacks to that previous day.
I had a really sick mom. Really sick...she came in presenting with some type of flu or something to that effect. I wasn't really sure what was wrong with her but I called her doctor and told him that he needed to head in...that something was really wrong. Long story short - she lost her baby that day and we almost didn't get her off of the operating room table. Whatever she had was killing her too.
I stayed over that day to be sure she was alive and on her way to the ICU...but I will never forget that day. Will never forget how it felt to think it was supposed to be a good day, a family day, a day for giving thanks and here was this family that I was involved with having their lives turned upside down.
She did survive and went on to have another baby the following year but it still made me afraid to face whatever I might find on this holiday. It changes your perspective of holidays when you are involved in things that are just yucky. There just aren't words to describe it. How do you say "Happy Thanksgiving" when you just watched a baby die??
So, I was a little nervous going in to work today. I was afraid of what I might find or who I might be assigned to. "Please God, don't let anything bad happen today", I prayed as I walked in to the hospital.
Once on the unit I received my assignment....very preterm twins that may deliver. You've got to be kidding me?!? I thought. But I took my assignment and vowed to put my fears aside and promised to do the best I could for this family.
I took the best care that I could of my patient and her family. The unit was slow and I was able to spend lots of time just talking with her. Her family brought her a thanksgiving feast. They were all so nice. Cautiously optimistic yet realistic to the realities they were facing.
She did not deliver for me. Every 12 hours, every day means something to those precious babies of hers. I was able to play a part in helping her to stay pregnant.
So it ended up being a good day. Not only did I get to provide what I think is good care but I got to spend the day with good friends and have our own little thanksgiving potluck. I didn't get to see my family - nor did I get to taste the pies Erika made but we will celebrate as a family this coming Sunday. So I get to eat yummy stuff again.
I have lots to be thankful for. Family, friends, a job where I can make a difference. Even if I have to work on a holiday...