This post has taken me a week to write because it is such an emotional transition in my life. I am sorry if it seems disconnected and rambling, as I am typing this with a quivering lip and watery eyes. I am also going to cross post this to my personal blog, amymoloney.com.
“You’ll make it wherever you go because you can make people smile.” –One of my favorite patients when she heard I was moving to Texas. What breaks my heart is that she will not remember that she and I used to dance around the dining room like Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire while I sang made-up songs to her on nights she could not sleep.
It is with a heavy heart that I tell my patients that I will be leaving them. Most will not remember I told them by the time tomorrow comes. Other will not remember I was even their nurse after I’ve gone. But a few will know, will feel my absence even if they are not exactly sure what it is that is missing.
Nurse Bitterpill is not just a character I created; she is a vital part of my life. She is me. We are a symbiotic force that takes great pride in the healing we bring to our residents. She is a part of the fabric of my soul. These crazy, beautiful demented old folks have become my children. I protect them as I would a child. Some of my co-workers even refer to me as Mother Hen. And I am.
I have had a lot of people comment on my nursing style, mostly because I always put my patients first, which seems to be a rare thing to be able to do these days. They are humans not diseases. They are faces not insurance policies.
I was once called the Patch Adams of nurses. Which is one of the greatest compliments I’ve ever received. And tonight one of my nurse’s aides told me that when she enrolled in nursing school she didn’t know what to expect. The other nurses she worked with scared her to the point that she about to change her mind. Then when she started working with me she continued with her plan of becoming a nurse. She told me it was because she saw how I treated my patients; how I showed her what kind of nurse she would want to be. I am practically in tears to know that it was my actions that inspired someone. Not just my words, but the observation of how Nurse Bitterpill cares for her children.
I have spent a lot of my recent days thinking about what it takes to do what I do. I fully comprehend that not many people on this big rock could do it. Each moment of my work day is different. Nurse is only a small part of what it is that happens on the job.
These are a few of the things that you need to embody to be able to be an Alzheimer’s nurse:
- Therapeutic Liar
- Improvisational Actor
- Accidental Acrobat
- Ballroom Dancer
- Hostage Negotiator
- Secret Agent
- Midwife (usually for invisible babies)
- Prison Guard
- Cafeteria Lady
- Wild Animal Wrangler
There was a whole lot I was going to write about, but it seems that I am having trouble putting it all into words. Thank you all for supporting Nurse Bitterpill and the Alzheimer’s quotes. I have every intention to continue the blog. I have a stockpile of quotes that have not been uploaded as of yet. And I would also like to invite you to submit quotes and stories for me to post. It would be nice to make Nurse Bitterpill an interactive site where we can exchange stories and hope.
I would also like to announce that I plan on working towards turning the Alzheimer’s blog into a book.
“Tomorrow is a state of mind. And around here you can have up to 300 tomorrows in one night.” –Nurse Bitterpill
2 thoughts on “Bittersweet Forget-Me-Not’s”
I love you, Amy. And respect you. Leaping into the dark (the unknown) takes courage, and will change you in ways you can’t imagine. This post brought me to tears. Love to Nurse Bitterpill. When JW’s knock on your new door, I hope you will receive them kindly.
I only now just found your blog…I will go back and read everything as soon as I get a chance. I am both a caregiver (paid) in this field of dementia and now a caregiver for my husband who has early onset Alzheimer’s. I have loved my clients as if each one were my own mother or father. I grieve them when they pass. That is why it is so hard for me to leave this field, but with my husband’s diagnosis, I need my reserves for his care.
Thank you for what you did for all your “children”. I know how much goes in to the daily care of someone who can no longer care for themselves. Bless you.