Thoughts of camp


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Doesn’t this water just beg you to jump in?
It was pitch black outside as I trudged into the hospital for my 7 pm ICU night shift in the middle of March. It was cold too. So cold. You know that cold when your nose hairs stiffen up from the cold? It was that cold. 
It was not much after 11 pm that same night when I held the hand of a 78 year old woman as she breathed her last. Her son had left just 10 minutes earlier to pick up his daughter from the airport. He was hoping he could pick her up and be back to see his mom one more time before she died. He didn’t make it. I think she had waited for her son to leave. Perhaps she knew he could not handle it? I called him on his cell phone and gave him the news. I told him I had stayed with her until the end. He expressed his appreciation. My job is cool like that. I mean seriously. How many people have you seen die? Probably none. But I can say i was there at the end of this person’s life. That’s pretty heavy. And it’s a privilege. I take it seriously. Some people don’t.

When someone passes, the nurse’s job is to prepare the body. In those days we would bathe the body and then wrap an ID tag around their wrists and their ankles and then place them in a shroud. I gently went about doing so as I silently said a Hail Mary. I was cognizant of the fact that I was likely surrounded by heavenly beings and was kinda hoping that maybe they would pass this info along to the Big Guy upon their return.  

As I contemplated these things I carried on with my job. The TV was playing silently in the background. The son had left it on. I glanced up briefly to see an Irish Spring commercial. The commercial depicted an outdoor shower. It was that one where the lady grabs the bar of soap and claims “But I like it too!” and then she hops into the shower and lathers herself up so she can smell like a dude too (why? i will never know. My mom used to buy Irish Spring all the time when I was a kid, so I spent most of middle school smelling like a man. Not great for the fragile self esteem). In the background of the commercial is a beautiful green forest of what is supposed to be Ireland. Upon seeing that forest my thoughts immediately jumped to camp. Here I am…a fully grown adult, tending to the body of a dead patient in the middle of winter and I felt my heart pump skip a beat cuz I thought of camp! How weird is that?!

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