Night Shift I’m not sure what attraction I feel towards working in a hospital.
When I was younger I hated even thinking about them. They smelled funny,everyone looked nervous, and a lot of places were off limits. But I think thething that scared me the most was the thought of needles. Yet after working onthe night shift for about a year, I’ve found hospitals to be more than just aplace where people are sick. They are a place to observe life. But I’m stillscared of needles. One of my most memorable patients was an elderly man who hadLou Gehrig’s Disease. When I met him he was on a ventilator, a feeding machine,and an IV. All this to keep him alive. He was slowly losing his ability tocontrol his muscles. He couldn’t talk, so I learned to lip-read what he wanted,which wasn’t an easy task for either of us. But I didn’t stop trying and hedidn’t give up on me. After awhile we were able to carry on a fairly goodconversation. He’d mostly listen or ask questions while I talked about cars, thearmy, and the weather. Being able to communicate with someone was something Iknow he dearly missed. I cried when I found out he had died. I knew it wouldhappen one day, I just didn’t want to lose my friend. After thinking about itfor so long I believed I was strong enough to take the emotion. I was wrong. Ialso took care of an 18-year-old that had been in a car accident. He was apassenger in the car and his drunken friend was trying to show off. He had beenput in the neurology unit because they suspected that he might have damaged hisspinal cord or brain. When I came in to see him he was scared to death. He was anormal teenager out having fun on a Saturday night. Thirty minutes later he waslaying on a hospital bed in a neck brace with the horror of surgery to follow. Iknew he was afraid, so I talked to him about school, sports, anything to get hismind off of the surgery. I think that made him feel better, but I was still madat the one who had put him there. Hospital work isn’t all sad. Sometimes it’shappy and even funny. I took care of a very sweet lady who had been a nurse whenshe was younger. She always wanted to help. She would stroll out to the nurse’sstation looking for someone to take care of. Although, I don’t think sherealized that she was a patient. I think some of the greatest people in theworld are the ones who we might consider out of it. One reason is they usuallysay what they think, they don’t hold back. I remember one lady in particularthat had a dark colored bruise on her arm from an IV. She looked deep into myeyes as she pointed to her arm and said, “I’m not a Negro–I know you thinkI’m black, but I’m not.” I didn’t know how to respond to that except burstout in laughter like all the nurses around me. Nurses laugh a lot–they have to.
Sometimes it’s the only way to keep from stressing out. But then, who can helpthemselves from snickering when the old man in room 111 sneaks out of his roomin nothing but his birthday suit?English Essays