Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Sometimes, More Is More

Cupcake, originally uploaded by scoobers

Cupcake season has officially arrived! The air outside is cool(er). Ovens are fired up. Bloggers are baking. Each time I log on I see cupcakes galore and the places where I don't see cupcakes I find people seeking them out. Lori, this is yet another tortuous post for you to endure during your prenatal cravings. Apologies!

Today, my friend, KB turned thirty-six years old and so I thought I would officially ring in cupcake season by whipping up a batch of my own special*, sprinkled, delights for her. I planned to make enough so that her 'herd' would be able to enjoy them as well. I filled the cups half way with batter so I could stretch it out and make more of them. I ended up with cakes not mushrooming over the tops of their tinfoil incubators but resembling golden brown hockey pucks. In order to compensate for the missing tops I layered the sweet, delicious vanilla cream frosting on pretty thick.

On her way over to my house tonight, KB received a phone call from the family of one of our patients who told her that he had lost his year long battle with cancer. It was pretty tough to hear because I know they made every effort, tried every option and that he fought with everything he had. The family is super tight, as is the bond between my patient and his brother. I pray that he finds the means to make it though such a difficult time.

Now, I can't sleep because my mind is running in circles, again, over the reactions of others towards choices I have made and continue to make. Earlier tonight, KB and I drove out to the hospital together to visit another patient of ours. On the way there I told her that a couple of the other nurses shook their heads in a disapproving manner when they found out that we visit our patients after they are moved to ICU or keep in touch with them or their families after they are discharged. We talked about the line that should not be crossed and how to know when you've reached it.

During the conversation between KB and our patient's brother he told her that 'D' told him to let, specifically, the two of us know that he felt truly cared for by us. Going beyond our 'work' in the hospital made a difference in his life and the appreciation for that was voiced by his family. This only solidifies my thinking that our patients are still our patients whether or not we see them when we clock in to work and that taking the time, our own time, to make sure they are taken care of makes a difference in how they perceive the 'care' they get. I plan to continue giving more of myself to my patients and their families. If this means that I become attached to some of them and end up hurting because of an unfortunate outcome then so be it. The sorrow I feel is nothing compared to what they must go through and if spending time with them, crying with them and following up with their families after they've gone is what it takes for them to know that their caregivers truly care, then that is what I need to do.

Right now, I am going to go to the kitchen to soothe myself with cupcakes, extra extra frosting and a big glass of ice cold milk.

*By 'my own' I mean my own box of Betty Crocker vanilla cake mix and white vanilla frosting.


Lori said...

Okay this is the second blog I've read today and the second time I've cried. (my sister Rachael's post made me cry too) Two emotional posts and one emotional reader I guess.
But your right and your disapproving coworker is not. I think it's great that you care so much about your patients, and obviously that patient felt your genuine care as opposed to you just doing your job. You are one of the good nurses and don't let anyone change that.
Sad story though, I think I need a cupcake now to cheer me up too, could you overnight one to me?
My SIL read my cupcake post and felt sorry for me not having any cupcake tins, she went and bought me some new ones, I made a batch for a football tailgate party and never made it home with the pans, so Im back to square one!

Mandy Lou said...

First, I am extremely interested in "cupcake season" - what is it and how do I get in on it?

Second, I think those nurses are way off base. My dad still keeps in touch with some of his post-op nurses, and they love it when he checks in with them. I think that's the difference between some one who has a job and some one who loves their job.

Third, I loved your comment on my last post "I'm gonna go hug Dookie" - I too wanted to hug my pets when I read the articles, but "hugging Dookie", just made me giggle. I guess the name does come back to haunt you a bit.

Fourth, I think this is the LONGEST comment I've ever made (perhaps longer than some of my posts)!

Mandy Lou said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Fleur de Lisa said...

Cupcake season? Yum! I am needing to make apple crisp but haven't had time yet this week.

Since when is caring wrong? That extra bit of heart and soul may be what gets an ailing body through a rough spot. You keep doing what feels right to you!rt

Sandi said...

Working in a hospital I know they have lines about getting too close to patients, but I admire what you're doing. So many patients and families feel abandoned after leaving the hospital and that just makes it harder for everyone.

Didn't know about cupcake season! I like it!

Jenni said...

I worked with so many doctors and nurses who only viewed patients as illnesses to treat. Good for you for taking the emotional risk to get to know them and their families as people. Your interactions with them may be brief, but to a family in crisis, those moments can stick with them forever.