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Nursing: A “love” poem

thankful-patient-2-162724500Oh God! I hate nursing! I get up so early.
I’m on my feet constantly, grisly and surly.
There isn’t enough coffee here in the house
To keep my mood up, so I grumble and grouse.

My patients are awful. They holler and twitch;
That latest ER admit called me a b*tch.
It’s my fault, apparently, that he’s DT-ing
And seeing things that he just shouldn’t be seeing.

I can’t catch a break. It’s already 10:30,
That guy in 16 is, yes, once again dirty.
The lady in 14 has fallen from bed,
And now needs a CT scan, stat, for her head.

Come lunchtime, I’m ravenous. I want to eat.
But I’m running around like a pinball with feet.
From too-high blood pressures to outputs too low,
I bounce room-to-room, pushing drugs as I go.

And now it’s the middle of the afternoon.
This day should be ending, but no. Not this soon.
The doctors are rounding, that white-coated horde,
And three more admissions just popped on the board.

I wish I’d studied math or computers or cooking.
If I had the energy, I would be looking
For some job to do that does not have the loop
Of painkillers, wound-care rounds, vomit and poop.

I hate my job. HATE it. I can’t wait to leave.
Then, dimly, my ears and eyes faintly perceive
A smile from a patient. A whispered word: “Thanks.”
My resolve to find different work suddenly tanks.

Because this is nursing. It’s thankless and gross.
There are days when I hate it, days I come real close
To saying “to heck with it,” walking away…
But the patients—they are the whole reason I stay.

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Agatha Lellis

Agatha Lellis is a nurse whose coffee is brought to her every morning by a chipmunk. Bluebirds help her to dress, and small woodland creatures sing her to sleep each night. She writes a monthly advice column, "Ask Aunt Agatha," here on Scrubs; you can send her questions to be answered at askauntieaggie@gmail.com.
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