A Nurse's Nightmare


From Sue Collins        



From time to time in my forty year nursing career, I wake up drenched in sweat, panicked thinking: I’ve forgotten to go to work. When my mind clears and I realize it is only 3am, I breathe a big sigh of relief.  In other dreams I am taking care of five patients, going from room to room, when about an hour before my shift is over, I realize I’ve forgotten the sixth person altogether! It’s kind of sad that I seem to be working the entire time I'm sleeping!



Seriously, isn’t sleep supposed to be a time to rest?  How restful can it be when you go through the motions of your job only to wake up and well….go do your job? Today that nightmare came true. I slept through my alarm, but fortunately, missed rowing, not the existence of a patient! I was supposed to be at the boathouse at 7am. My rowing partner was kept waiting – and waiting – but luckily, no one missed their scheduled medicine, no patient was forgotten, but I felt awful. I never like to disappoint people. 


Then I thought, nurses nightmares are not exclusive to nurses. 


Caregivers must have a similar experience from time to time -- awaken with questions like: Was the pain medicine too much? Not enough? Did I even remember to give it? Did I order more oxygen. Are they OK? 


In OK Now What? A Caregiver’s Guide to What Matters, we give plenty of suggestions, tips and resources for learning how to take care of you as caregiver while taking care of a loved one. It isn’t easy, but there are ways to make it better for all concerned. 


In my case -- as is true of many caregivers --I had been pushing myself the last several days when my body clearly stated ENOUGH! Give it a rest, at least until 7:19am. OK body, you got my attention. I am tuned back in. Thanks.