Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Free Book Online: A Fight for Life - Chapter Three (Part 2)

A little bit of extra history to fill you in. I wrote this book in 2003, while I was still in college, so the story about my brother Pedro is 99% accurate, but the "Dear Diary" part about me working in a hospital is fictional, based on experiences I was going through during nursing school. Having said that, the things I wrote in the "Dear Diary" section are also a big part of whom I was in 2003, my aspirations, my questions about life and my view of the world.

Because it has been almost 10 years since I wrote this book (and this statement makes me feel really old!!), during the translation of this book I have been sometimes changing the text to bring more clarity to the reader. There are other times when I find myself not agreeing 100% with what I wrote 10 years ago, and I have been trying to resist the temptation to change the book too much, and end up sounding like a 30 year old married women with kids that I am, instead of the 20 years old single girl full of dreams that I was. Not that I don't have dreams anymore, but I know that to grow old is also to become another person, hopefully a more mature one. 

The interesting thing, though, is that a lot of the things that I wrote in this book ended up happening. I visited the region where my brother came from, I ended up working in pediatric nursing for a while and I ended up... well, this last one I cannot tell you or I will spoil the end of the book!

Enjoy the reading!!



CHAPTER 3 (Part 2)

Dear Diary,

Every morning, standing on a corner inside the nurse's station, I check the medications that will be used during my shift. I am always amazed by the amount of complicated medicine's names that have been added to my vocabulary, besides all the knowledge about their collateral effects, specific care and recommended doses. I know that all this information didn’t get inserted inside my brain on a single day, just like the rest of the nursing knowledge that became part of my life. They were the result of a long learning journey from college until now. I have not been working as a nurse for that long but sometimes I feel like I have been in this same floor for a lifetime. Do you think that I am exaggerating, dear Diary? Anyway, this feeling makes me wish for a change of routine once in a while.

My entire life has been filled with dreams and some challenges too, and so many ideas have popped inside my head only to be forgotten a while later. I remember the one time when my dream was to go to the Amazons’ region to take care of Indians. A dream quite far from my reality right now. There is nothing better than time to change me!

But now, looking back, I find out I never really chose to work here in this unit. I identified myself more with some areas of nursing, but I tried to be realistic to the job market and not set my expectations too high for a perfect position. Thankfully, when I was looking for my first job, I came across an opening in an area that was one of my favorites, so I took it with a smile on my face. But to tell you the truth, dear Diary, at the beginning my job was filled with highs and downs, hard learning experiences, and some conquests. I guess it has been the final push to get me more knowledgeable and self-confident, while at the same time recognizing my limitations. Everyday it has been a new adventure as I land in the Pediatric world with both feet.

Last weekend I was taken by a nostalgic crisis and started going through some old pictures that brought up many memories. Looking at myself in the pictures, a skinny and fragile little girl, dressed in bigger clothes than her size, made me think that I came a long way. I survived childhood dangers, teen age's insecurities and even profited from the process by maturing. Some days, I still feel like that little girl, surrounded by unknown dangers, while on other days I feel like the teenager filled with insecurities. But looking at the mirror I see the difference quite well.

The truth, right here and now, is that I don't really enjoy these cold days we are having. My feet seem always far from warm, even with my tick socks packed inside my shoes. I try to keep myself moving, from patient to patient room, to stay warmer.

Now the important news... Yesterday, I started to notice this unusual silence around my unit. It seemed that the only thing I could hear were my thoughts and they were, in fact, quite loud shouting for something to eat. I guess the stress keeps me thinking about eating a lot lately. This hospital life has me getting a few extra pounds.

So, hungry as I was, I went to our small kitchen area for a snack. Inside, I had a quick talk with a fellow worker that works in another floor. She asked me if I knew of the child that was being investigated for the unknown contagious disease and had been referred to my unit. I swallowed my breath. I have no problems taking care of sick kids, but I started to wonder if to be in the front line of a mysterious disease would be really a good idea.

The snack landed on my stomach like a rock. I could feel the heartburn starting to make its way up to my throat. Maybe that is what that silence was all about. Just like in the movies, the anticipation for a horror story. Like the one they find out the disease is in fact worse than they thought and now we are all doomed to die with the rest of the human kind.

I spent last evening going through a thousand questions in my head about the possible situation. What should I follow in such case? My faith, my salary or my safety? I felt like walking on a rope knowing that if I stepped off the line that would be it. So I tried to calm myself thinking that probably it was just an unconfirmed speculation, and at the end it will be just a common virus. At the same time I know I carry some responsibility for the safety of my team, and that includes not alarming them but also keeping them aware of the risks.

And then this morning the news was confirmed. The child will come to my unit, but they will also send some specialized personnel to guide us in the safety procedures. To tell you the truth, dear Diary, I am not afraid of dying, but the press is exploring the subject to such an extent now that people are panicking right and left. I know there are other diseases as bad as this but the unknown factor is causing a lot of impact.

All in all, I will try my best to consider this poor child's well-being, who has been suffering from this unknown disease, and give her the best I can, even though there is no specific medicine or known cure. It is going to be emotionally hard to watch this child suffer and nothing that can be done to heal her, but I know that there is not a medicine for every problem in life. Some diseases will never be cured, some problems will never be solved and some wounds will never be closed. And I give a lot of credit for my brother Pedro for teaching me this hard reality.

Good night, L.

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