I’m currently working on my latest work project: getting articles pre-written for a nursing conference my group will be covering in DC next week.
Right now I’m writing up bios for committee members, essentially reading their CVs and their mission statements about why being a nurse is so important to them.
I can’t help but feel a little sad while working on this. Before getting sick, my mom was an RN for 20+ years. She loved her job and loved working with people and loved giving nursely (yeah, I made that word up) advice.
It seemed like whenever anyone was sick, they would go to my mom for a solution. And no matter how much she and I disagreed on just about every other front while I was in my “growing up” stage, I took any and all of her medical advice to heart. She was the first person I called when I did not feel well, the first person I consulted for proper treatment of an ailment. I’m sure a part of this was because she was “mom,” but I always felt like I had a one-up over other moms’ opinions because she had the medical background to back her up.
Letting go of my mom as a medical consult took a lot of time. I remember the first time I got really sick after she was diagnosed and calling her up. Her advice was garbled–words missing. Her voice instantly gained that tone of authority, but something else crept in… confusion? lack of confidence? The once rock-solid guidance had almost instantly disappeared and I remember trying to sound as cheery and relieved as possible before hanging up the phone and bursting into tears.
I distinctly remember thinking This is it. I am on my own now.
Five years is a long time to live with something, or I guess more correctly, without something. In that time, I’ve become my own doctor, my own nurse. I rely on the pieces of information my mom gave me and the experience of having to figure things out by myself (and with the help of friends/other medical professionals) to recreate that feeling of security and safety that came with my mom’s medical advice. I now have my own arsenal of cures and remedies for various ailments: my mom’s chicken broth with bowties has been replaced by my veggie-based pastina soup; Badger Headache balm replaced her always-accessible Advil. Of course I’ve kept all her cold compresses and heating pad tricks for cramps and headaches and allergic reactions that cause swelling…
The only thing I’ve yet to figure out is how to cure the lingering ache I sometimes get a little right-of-center in my chest and the pain from clenching my jaw when I try to keep myself from crying in my cube.