Last week, newFNP had had it. She never wanted to return to clinic again. She had one especially bad encounter with a patient that left both parties feeling upset and involved newFNP telling the patient, "Pregnancy is not a disability - you do not need to quit work yet" in a not-so-nice tone and the patient telling newFNP, "You don't understand -- your job is easy." To which, of course, newFNP had an internal fit of apoplexy. It is a damn good thing that newFNP does not know how to say, "You have got to be fucking kidding me" in Spanish.
Tuesday, October 27, 2009
That, coupled with a few other institutional issues, prompted newFNP to send her resume out early yesterday morning.
And then, newFNP'll be damned, but wouldn't you know it if a patient reached out and touched newFNP in a way that made her love her job all over again. No - in a way that made her want to stay in her job.
This patient is in her 60's, she is a university retiree from newFNP's public health alma mater, she has Crohn's disease, is a breast cancer survivor, fell and had a major knee surgery two months after her chemo ended and was determined to be unable to care for herself post-operatively in her home as she lived alone. Thus, adult protective services placed her in a hella ghetto senior's community a stone's throw from newFNP's clinic which, in case anyone has been sleeping for the past four years, is in one hell of a shithole area. Prior to this determination, she was living in a peaceful suburb in the foothills of newFNP's city. She hasn't had a mammogram in two years and she is only three years post-mastectomy. She hasn't had GI follow-up in over a year. She feels as though she cannot turn to her children for help.
As she recounted her story to newFNP, newFNP just took a moment to acknowledge the hell this woman had been through and asked her if she wanted to talk to a counselor. She made an expression that spoke of her pain, of her sorrow and of her relief in being offered .
She shook her head slowly, ruminatively. "I could use it," she replied, nodding. "It has been a really hard couple of years."
NewFNP put down her pen after having filled the past medical history form and then some on this woman's encounter form, leaned forward toward her patient and said, "I am going to help you." And she meant it -- she meant it more than she usually does. And she felt the importance of helping this woman more than she has in quite some time.
And she did help her. She got her a mammogram even though mammograms are booked through 2010. She got her a counseling appointment. She overstepped her bounds and gave her a friend's email address in the hopes that this friend had some insider knowledge regarding other communities available. She listened. She cared.
But equally as importantly for newFNP is that this woman helped her. She saved newFNP from utter desperation and frustration with her job.
What a wonderful gift newFNP received today. She is so thankful.