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.