Wednesday, August 29, 2007


I am a pediatric nurse. I absolutely love taking care of children. Interacting with kids comes very naturally to me. They seem to enjoy my personal insanity. And I enjoy theirs.

Perhaps it’s because we seem to enjoy the same thing (like princesses and ice cream). Perhaps it’s just because I envy how carefree and spontaneous four year old’s are allowed to be. Perhaps it’s because I get excited over little things and make a mess when I eat.

Geriatrics is the opposite end of the spectrum.

When I got report on Cessee, a 65 year old VVF patient my stomach dropped a little. Geriatrics is not where my gifts lie.

I came to Cessee’s bedside in the morning and found her curled up in a small ball. I had to wake her up so I could give her morning mediations. She sat up and her face broke into a toothless grin. Her skin was old and weathered. Her caving in gum line revealed a mouth that was void of most of it’s teeth.

It was clear as I tried to ask her questions and give her medications that she understood a “small small” amount of my English. But she took her medicine and let me perform her morning care without any difficulty.

I don’t know how old Cessee was when she gave birth to the child which caused her injury, but seeing that she is 65, she must have been leaking for many years. Throughout the day small moments in our interactions gave insight to the fact that Cessee had a hard life. She’d cringe like an abused animal if someone raised their voice. Her eyes were cynical. When I’d sit next to her on her bed she’d lean back away from me. It was obvious she had a hard time trusting people.

About hour 8 of my twelve hour shift, I sat on Cessee’s bed and attempted to give her a backrub. Backrubs are a wonderful example of therapeutic touch and loved by most patients. As I started to gently rub Cessee’s shoulders she turned around in as half funny/half scolding manner and grabbed my hands.
She then used her free hand to start tickling my shoulders. Apparently my backrub felt more like a tickle attack. And now I was the attackee.

For about five minutes Cessee sat there trying to tickle my shoulders. Being sassy. Giving me a hard time.
It was great.

Somewhere in that moment we became friends. Age and nationality did not matter. Cessee was acting like a silly little girl. And I pretty much always act like a silly little girl. I guess we are kindred spirits.

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