For those who know me well, the following statement will not come as a surprise: My nursing skills could be fatal. You need a band-aid? I might be able to help—provided its not bleeding or icky. You need someone to tend you while you’re sick? Forget me; you’d be better off with a construction worker using a sledge and a jackhammer.
Just to give you an idea, let’s explore Roy’s last illness. He doesn’t get sick very often because he knows what kind of nursing he will get and he wants to live. But, one day he came home with a scratchy throat. When he was foolish enough to admit to it, I followed him around the house for a day holding out orange juice and some throat lozenges I found in the back of the medicine cabinet. The orange juice burned his sore throat and the throat lozenges expired in 2010, but he took them both just to get rid of me.
Then, the poor man developed a cough. Now, I have to admit that when it comes to other people coughing, I’m selfish. At the first cough, I fling my hand, my sleeve or the nearest gas mask over my face. I’ve seen all those epidemic movies, you know. All those diseases that wipe out whole populations always begin with someone coughing. Roy is on his own with a cough, because I am not dying of some mutated plague that begins with him coughing!
The fever came next. He dragged himself home from work and went straight to bed. Of course, plenty of rest was what he needed. I did my nursing job by flinging open the bedroom door every ten minutes and inquiring, “You okay?” The first time I let the cat in. She climbed on top of him and he was forced to get up and throw her out. The second time I checked, I found a spider on the door. My shriek caused him to sit straight up in bed, convinced, I’m sure, that we were under nuclear attack at the least.
At that point, he was ungrateful enough to request that I leave him ALONE. Of course I could do that. All he had to do was ask. I left him alone for an hour, then tiptoed in and whispered in his ear, “You any better?” He wasn’t, especially after he jerked his head up in surprise and cracked it on my jaw. I left him for another hour, then opened the door so slowly that it made that weird, creaking noise. He turned over in bed with a sigh. “I still feel lousy,” he muttered.
“I’m so sorry, what can I get you?” I asked in my most understanding nurse’s voice.
“I would love some takeout from HuHot,” he said.
“But honey, I’d have to drive for four hours to get you take out from there,” I protested.
“Good; maybe go twice then,” he punched his pillow, pulled the blanket over his head and rolled over on his other side.
For those of you who think it couldn’t have happened that way, you’re right. I did leave out some parts, like when I brought him aspirin and water and dropped the aspirin under the bed and spilled the water on him. Then, there was the cold pack I put on his feet while he was sleeping, because they told me it would help with fever—it didn’t.
If you’re worried about Roy, though, he did recover his health. But I think it might have been in spite of my nursing efforts; not because of them. My nursing skills should probably come with one of those government hazard warnings!