The Reason I Never Become a Nurse

Poor Carter missed a day of school last week for surgery and then was sick this morning so she stayed home again.  The reason I say poor Carter is not the fact that she missed two days of school or that she had these things happen to her, it’s that I am her mother.  See, I am a very poor nurse.  I think it runs in my family.


When I was a kid we lived in a giant rambling barn of a house.  My parents slept on the top floor on one end of the house and I slept on the bottom floor on the other end.  If I ever got sick in the night there was no crying out for help because certainly no adult would hear you and no sibling would care.


Here is how an illness would go…  I would wake up and throw up; sometimes I made it to the bathroom.  I would cry, actually wail, no one would come.  So after what felt like a lifetime of being alone in the wilderness I would pull myself up the back barn stairs that had risers that were twelve inches tall, think climbing a ladder and still wailing, drag myself the length of the big living room which felt like Lawrence of Arabia crossing the Sahara.


Crawling on all fours I would open just the bottom half of my parent’s bedroom Dutch door where I would make my way to their bed.  Clinging to my mother’s side, I would lift the down pillow that was covering her head to drown out the snoring coming from my father, “I threw up,” I would whine.  No response.  “I’m sick,” I would say louder.  Nothing.  The smell of sickness on my nightgown should have woken the dead, but nothing.


I eventually retreated to my father’s side of the bed and I would push his shoulder.  “I’m not snoring,” he would say in automatic response to his shoulder being pushed in his sleep.  “No, it’s Dana.  I’m sick.”  A voice finally responds, but I am still not sure which parent it was, “Go sleep in the guest room.”


That was the model of care I grew up with.  That is the model I follow today.  If you are sick, sleep it off.  If you have surgery, go back to school the next day.  If you are sick you still better get your homework done.  If you are sick, please don’t make anyone else sick.  If you aren’t well you are getting the worst possible food.


If you need care I’m not your girl.  There are many things I will tell you I’m good at, many I have never even tried, but taking care of sick people, even my own sweet off spring is not my thing.  So feel sorry for Carter, not because she is sick, but because I’m her mother.

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