This is a story about a student nurse becoming a patient.
It was a Friday, April 9, a holiday in celebration of the Day of Valor in our country. A commemoration for all those who fought for freedom and democracy. It was a day I fought with pain.
I tried to self-medicate. I am a nurse in the making anyway. I should be able to care for myself. It’s an irony if I can’t. And so I tried.
However later that afternoon, dehydration from vomiting and loose bowel movement has got me weak. And so before worse comes to worst, I walked myself to the nearby hospital. Ambulatory.
I only have my younger sister in company. She is just a college freshman and so I was still in charge with what money from our allowance was left.
The doctor diagnosed me with appendicitis and suggested I go in for an emergency appendectomy stat. I declined. I was not convinced I really have appendicitis. I don’t have enough money. My parents do not know yet. I am of legal age, yes. But, I don’t have finances. Besides, the pain is not that severe as what I read in the books. I can still handle it.
Pain scale: 7/10 . Still smiling. Even with chapped lips and tired eyes. 🙂 I guess I really have high pain tolerance.
I was a hard-headed patient. I signed the HAMA (Home Against Medical Advice) agreement and asked a request for an abdominal ultrasound. To be sure.
The ultrasound confirmed the diagnosis. I came back for the appendectomy. The doctor stared at me for quite some time. His eyes telling me, I was right eh?
The nurse came to the infirmary at noontime, giving me the green gown I would wear during the surgery. I was naked under that piece of cloth. My friends came. They even accompanied me way until the O.R. door. As if they were sending someone on a vacation. All smiles. Teasing me with the gown. And the nudity within it.
I never thought that the anesthesia would feel this way. The numbness is just so distracting. It was epidural. I could feel half my body. I wanted to swear at all the noise of the chitchats of all the doctors and nurses in the OR.
The pain of intravenous medications rushing through the veins, the irritation from frequent monitoring, the thirst after the NPO status, to be flat on bed for 6 hours after the operation, the discomfort from bringing the IV line and stand. It was all a learning experience. I learned empathy first-hand.
It was like going on the other side of the fence. Now, I dealt every patient with much care. Having been a patient once in my life has enlightened me with the fact that they are humans, not to be treated like mannequins or equipment.
Wearing this white uniform from then on was never the same. I embraced the nursing world with wider arms. Each time when I say, “I know how you feel“, I really mean it.
Aside from the learning, the greatest part of being confined was you instantly become a prince. Fruits are overflowing. Friends are visiting. Your loved ones are all there. You don’t have to do much chores except to just be healthy.
Nevertheless, I don’t want to be in another surgery anymore.