When digging through my satchel of stories for this book and organizing them to publish, I felt held back by the reading strategy of one member of the Nearly Normal Readers Group, NNRG, of which I am a founding member. This member would read the book’s first paragraph, then (1) pronounce the entire book unreadable trash and quit the read or (2) continue to read. Over the 19 years we have been meeting, her abrupt judgments served to enliven many of our discussions. Sometimes she dismissed books that were considered by the literary community to be classic treasures.
Once the gauntlet of “trash” was thrown by her however, the rest of us could usually find a paragraph, phrase, concept, or word she could agree was of value. It made for fun meetings.
For those of you, like her, who may also hold a book at a reverent distance before committing to the read, I offer you an enticement for reading my book.
Annually, Gallup examines honesty and ethical standards among various professions. In 2018, nurses topped the list of Very high/ High at 84% (Gallup, December 3-12, 2018, gallup.com). Nurses have topped the list every year since 1999, except for 2001. After the fall of the World Trade Center towers, firefighters took the top spot – deservedly so. (In case you wonder who was at the bottom of the list in 2018, it was Members of Congress, with 8%).
Stories from an honest and ethical professional. I hope this is invitation enough.
One inspiration to bring you with me behind the bedside curtain came from a few sentences in the preface of the book, What the Dog Saw and Other Adventures, by Malcolm Gladwell.
“What is the first thing that we want to know when we meet someone who is a doctor at a social occasion? It isn’t “What do you do?” We know, sort of, what a doctor does. Instead, we want to know what it means to be with sick people all day long. We want to know what it feels like to be a doctor, because we’re quite sure that it doesn’t feel at all like what it means to sit at a computer all day long, or teach school, or sell cars. Such questions are not dumb or obvious. Curiosity about the interior life of other people’s day-to-day work is one of the most fundamental of human impulses,…”
I finally put pen to paper when my son, Gustav, who, after hearing one of my stories said, “You gotta write this stuff down, Ma”
Nurses have long been pigeon holed in a distant land of body fluids and odors, prompting the oft-stated phrase, “Oh! I could never be a nurse. Ewwwww!”
These stories reveal my ‘day to day’ nurse life. What it meant and means to me, to be a nurse, tending the sick and dying. What I saw, felt, smelled, heard, and touched.
Nursing is much more than secretion and excretion management. It is a calling, my calling.
You hold in your hands a few of the proud and not so proud moments of my life and nursing career. I expect you will laugh, sigh, cry, and perhaps suppress a gag.
If you discover a passage you find especially disgusting, flag it. You may then use it as a quick remedy for lingering dinner guests you want to clear from your domicile.