We all misplace things from time-to-time. Car keys, your cell phone, a pair of glasses, a pen. Perhaps a favorite shirt. Of course, there is also the void. A vortex. That place where a single sock or the lids to our plastic containers seem to just vanish. To be swallowed up. Leaving behind the sad, unmatched partner, only to be discarded at a future date.
Their usefulness now lost . . .
And sometimes I think the spirits are messing with me. Because I search and search, retrace my steps, look in the same place multiple times, and there it is, my quarry, sitting in one of the same spots I’ve searched three times over. Only now it’s so obvious I can’t miss it if I tried.
I wonder ???
Over the years, I’ve tried to keep a copy of everything I’ve had published. It’s nice to have an electronic copy, but even better to have a hard copy. Something tangible. Something I can hold in my hands. Feel the texture of the paper. Smell the ink. Visualize the word placement. Hear the words as I read through them.
There’s something about the whole sensory experience that makes it more magical.
But since the entire medium has changed with the advent of the electronic world, I have to remember to print off a hard copy if an online publisher picks something up. I keep a log of all of my published pieces, and I had just discovered that I didn’t have a hard copy of one of the pieces I was specifically asked to write. It was a piece about “horizontal violence” in the nursing profession. Nice term.
Essentially, this is the phenomena that occurs in certain professions where there really isn’t much of a ladder to climb. You come into the profession near the peak, and even after attaining a wealth of experience and enough certifications to wallpaper your home, your really don’t advance much in terms of a pay grade or in the power hierarchy. Because these folks hit the ceiling quickly, and have no subordinates, they occasionally direct their frustrations laterally, toward each other.
It’s an emotional assault.
There is an expression in nursing that, “Nurses eat their young.” They seem to be proud of this too.
Well the online publication that ran my article had gone defunct, and try as I might searching my computer data bases, the article had vanished. Into that void, never to be found again.
I lost a story.
But yesterday the Universe gifted me with a trade. I lost a story, but I found a song. An important song. Not for its melody or even for its lyrics. It was important for me because it helped carry me through a horrific night.
You see a lot of trauma when you’re a nurse. A lot of broken lives. A lot of death. The sadness and loss can be overwhelming. It distorts your perception because the majority of the people you’re encountering are suffering. And suffering badly. Beyond your ability to imagine.
You need to have time to recharge.
One night, when I was working in the surgical ICU, a woman came in who had fallen down a stairway. Her two children had found her and summoned the ambulance. And the doctors were debating over which ICU she belonged in, the surgical unit because she had multiple traumatic injuries, or the neuro unit, because she clearly had an extreme closed-head injury. In fact, it was pretty clear she must have had a stroke. The question was, did the stroke happen first and cause her to fall, or did the fall and head injury cause the stroke.
The debate didn’t last long. She was totally unresponsive. I transported her to nuclear medicine for a brain perfusion scan, and nothing. Not a drop of blood was going to her brain. Her consciousness was gone. She was just a body now.
Once I had her settled back in the unit, I sat with her two children, 10 and 12 years old, called for the hospital minister, and we waited for the woman’s husband to arrive. When he did, as it turned out, no doctor could be found to speak to the family. All tied up with other emergencies. I delivered the bad news as best I could. By myself. It was hard to hold back the tears. We all held tight to each other.
The light from another soul had moved on.
And this was the end of a long week. A series of horrible traumas. And as I headed home, I just wanted to scream. Wanted some form of escape. Anything to be away from the sights, smells and sounds of death.
I got in my car and fired up the radio. Blasted it loud so I became one with the vibrations. And a song came on that resonated. And that song got me home. To my sanctuary for a little peace.
The next day I searched for the song. I thought I’d remember the band or the title. But I didn’t.
I had lost the song.
And we’re talking some 25 or more years later now and I was on You Tube playing music yesterday. I started with the song In a Day Dream by the Freddie Jones Band as I wrote yesterday’s musings. And I was walking away from my desk when the next song in the queue began to play. Same band, but it was their song Take the Time. And all those memories came flooding back to me.
That was the song that got me home that night. That kept me from going insane. That allowed me a momentary reprieve so I could go back into that place of suffering the next day to try to heal someone else.
And even though I had forgotten the lyrics from the time, they are valid. They fit the occasion. They ring true. We should all take the time to appreciate all that is in our lives in this moment.
It was a worthy trade. A story for a song.
Photo: Serenity. Sunsets always bring me peace. This particular one was at Black Rock in Maui. The ocean is in the distance, and while the ocean brings calm, all of the elements of this image bring me serenity. The ocean, the clouds, the sunset, the trees, the rocky coastline. It is a complete image to take the time to be absorbed in.