The Change I Want To See

Whether patients know it or not, they affect the nurse.  I may not always tell a patient that but it’s true.  I still remember the best patient I’ve ever had.  The patient was so grateful to be alive and it was just radiating from the patient.  It was a joy to take care that patient.  *Another patient that affected me the most was a young man.  He was in his early 20s.  He had had diabetes since he was a child.  He came to the hospital to have his leg amputated.  Even before the amputation, he couldn’t get up by himself to the bathroom.  I tried to teach him about diet and exercise but it fell on deaf ears.  He was literally just beginning in life and he was going to have a limb amputated.  A month later he had to come back to the hospital to have a little bit more of his leg amputated.  I decided that if I wanted to see my patients change, then I was going to have to be the change I wanted to see in them.  At that point, I was 180 pounds.  I would get winded just going up one flight of stairs or walking fast down the hallway.  I hadn’t exercised in years.  I hadn’t eaten a vegetable or fruit in months.  I lived off of doughnuts and fast food.  I didn’t love myself.  I spent so much money on fast foods and doughnuts.  I have saved so much money now that I eat healthy.  I no longer go to the grocery store to get doughnuts or jump in my car to get fast foods.  Sometimes I would drive 30 minutes from my house to get fast food because I had already been to the fast food restaurants around my house that week.  I didn’t want the fast food workers to get too familiar with me and then they would know how much fast food I ate a week.  I wanted them to think that this was a once a week thing.  I remember, when I was checking out at a grocery store, the cashier asked me why I would buy doughnuts when I had all this other healthy food in my cart.  I made up a lie and said they were for work.  In reality that was my breakfast.  When I went grocery shopping, I would put fruits and vegetables in the cart.  They would eventually end up in the trash.  I didn’t want any one to know that I was just going to the grocery store for doughnuts to eat.  I wasted so much food.  I could have fed the homeless with all the food I threw away.  One time, I actually ate a healthy meal.  It was pork chops and potatoes.  I got sick 30 minutes later.  I hadn’t eaten “real food” in months.  My system was so used to fast food and doughnuts, it got confused when I ate real food.  It was like I was living a double life.  I had to portray to the patients that I knew how to eat healthy and exercise but I wasn’t living that kind of life.


*Identifying factors of the patient have been changed to protect the privacy of the patient.

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