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Weanne Myrrh. 20. Filipina Seventh-day Adventist.

Past Posts

Bituwin - template
Dementee - image

Monday, May 11
Nurses Notes

So let me cut to the chase. On my very first day of duty, I was assigned to this cranky, middle-aged patient at the Manila Adventist Medical Center. Armed with my BP, stethoscope, and trusty pocket notebook, with the Halleluiah chorus playing in my head, I entered her room and enthusiastically introduced myself with a flourish! “This is it Weanne, time to save the world! TADA!” I thought to myself. I had all these notions of me building nurse-patient rapport, performing miracles of healing, telling my patient about my oh-so-ideal Christian faith, the shift ending with her in tears, thanking me for the care and inspiration I had given. But for all my enthusiasm and high hopes, I was met with a tart, “Pwede ba? Wag mo muna ako distorbohin… Busy ako eh, busy ako! OH OH OHHHHHH! WAG MO HAHAWAKAN YANG OXYGEN TANK! HINDI KA MARUNONG GUMAMIT NIYAN!” What? What kind of alternate universe am I living in if it is the patient telling the nurse that she doesn’t know how to work a piece of hospital equipment! I am not exaggerating! She really said that, complete with this shaking, p*ssed off voice. Earth to Weanne. Darn it, reality bites. Talk about barado.

So there I was, the heroine of the story, locked out of my own patient’s room, standing alone in the empty hallway, no idea of what to do as my “busy” patient watched the details of Rudy Fernandez’s death on The Buzz. All I could think of was, “Here I am, all willing to give her a bedbath, feed her, clothe her, clean her poo, wash her butt if need be! And she chooses Rudy Fernandez over me? Oh, Rudy Fernandez, with all due respect, why did you choose this day to die?” I had memorized all medical abbreviations, perfected my vital signs taking, and completed all my checklists in preparation for this very very day! Instead of her being in grateful tears, I was the one almost in tears.

I should just probably request my CI to assign me a different patient – someone sweeter, someone more appreciative, someone less… scary.”

But never fret, dear readers, our heroine is not one to give up. Standing up a little straighter, I rejected all the things I learned in nursing theory and focused instead on my father’s words the night before “Anak, ang health ministry ay napakaimportante. Galingan mo pagaalaga. Malay mo, ikaw ang huling taong makakausap ng pasyenteng yun bago siya mamatay. Ikaw ang binigyan ng huling opportunity para madala ang taong yun kay Jesus.” Right there and then in the hallway, I discreetly looked around to see if anyone was watching, closed my eyes, pretended to rub them as if in deep thought and said a quick prayer. This time armed with my father’s words and a prayer to the Father, I turned around and entered the lion’s den.

She looked at me quickly, irritated at my disturbance, her eyes asking “What is it this time? My goodness.”

Uhhmmm… ma’am? Gusto niyo pong iadjust ko yung TV para po hindi mangalay ang leeg niyo sa panunuod?”

“Oh. Ok. Salamat. Ihiram mo nalang din ako ng remote, kung pwede.”

I did as she asked – quickly, so she wouldn’t get impatient again. Noticing the almost empty cup at her bedside table, I quickly opened the refrigerator door, got a bottle of water, and refilled her cup.


“Salamat. *drinks water* Pahingi pa nga.”

Grateful for the progress our “nurse-patient rapport” was having, I quickly refilled her cup again. Now more confident, I began to notice little things I could do for my patient, little things she didn’t have to ask me to do. While she busied herself listening to Lorna Tolentino’s grief report, I busied myself too. I adjusted the room temperature. I raised the head of the bed. I refilled her water again. I took her blood pressure as subtly as I could. I cleaned her bedside table. Refilled her cup again. Adjusted the TV so she’d have better reception. Assisted her to the CR. Refilled her cup. Again. And again. For the entire afternoon shift, we stayed in one room together as I, the pampered, sheltered, spoiled AUP kid, tried my best to “serve.” Just tiny little things. The nurse was officially in the building. Oh yeah.

Despite my best efforts though, she remained stoic and unfriendly, immune to my charms (which is, like, an amazing outrageous feat, haha). I refused to admit defeat though. Undaunted, our heroine gave it one last shot. I would wear down her thick wall, even if it killed me. I played my last card, my secret weapon - no one I knew had ever won against this particular ace before.

“Ma’am, gusto niyo po ng masahe bago matulog?”

Cue my victory party. The stern face softened into – ooooh, is that a smile? It is! The wall broke down. She laid down on the bed and I worked my magic. In between strokes she asked me about my plans for the future. It turned out that she was a caregiver who had worked in different parts of the world before (Oh… so that’s why she knew about the oxygen tank). She told me not to work in the States, (“Matataba ang mga tao don, hindi mo kaya buhatin, kailangan mo pang magpataba!”), clued me in on her family (“Ang asawa ko nasa abroad, may isa akong anak na nagnunursing din, yung isa naman business”), told me I had good hands (“San ka natutong magmasahe?”) and finally asked me about my faith (“Adventist ka diba? Lahat ba ng worker dito Adventist? Sumisimba kayo pag Sabado diba? Tapos kahit anong karne hindi niyo kinakain?”). She gave me the name of a website that she said would help me if I ever I needed to find work someday.

Then came the funniest coincidence of all. “May kamukha ka… Kamukha mo yung dati kong nurse nung naadmit ako dati.” It turned out that my eldest sister, now a registered nurse, had taken care of the very same patient several years ago back when my sister was still a college student. Amazing.

To make this long tale short, my first hospital duty taught me something. It’s not your accurate vital signs taking or your amazing oxygen tank managing skills (or lack of it) that will win over your patient. It’s how you perform the simple, tedious, acts of kindness that will. Oh and sometimes, not having a celebrity’s death shroud your shift really helps.