Tearing my hair out

Nurse and babyYes, tearing my hair out!  An expression of supreme frustration – and it’s sure how I felt yesterday at work.  Normally I consider myself a very patient and laid back sort of person, but I hit the wall yesterday.  I don’t think anyone really knew it – not that it helps to keep things bottled up inside – but I was tearing my hair out.  In the nursing profession it’s an absolute must to be compassionate but yesterday I guess I began to literally “feel the pain” that my young patient was very apparently feeling.  One of my charges was the infant of a drug-addicted mother.  This is hardly the first time I’ve taken care of babies born to drug addicts.  Did I mention another must in the profession… being non-judgmental.  I’m really good at that, 99% of the time.  But sometimes I do get a bit ticked off at mothers who do this to their babies.  What kills me is that many of these moms pop in to see their babies only every so often, and really have NO IDEA what goes on while they are not there.  Even if we say “please don’t pick up the baby right now, he’s finally just fallen to sleep”, they didn’t see the baby when he was screaming his head off, obviously miserable, sneezing repeatedly, with seriously increased muscle tone, and oft times a killer diaper rash – so they just do what makes them happy, and pick the baby up to hold.  Yes, we treat these poor innocent babes with medication and yes, it does help, but honestly it is one of those preventable things that really shouldn’t happen!  It’s not like the mom who suddenly develops high blood pressure or who is inadvertently exposed to some sort of a bacteria or virus.  At any rate, we had three innocents in our department that were sure suffering as a result of their mother’s actions/choices.  And there were at least three nurses really feeling these babies’ pain.  It was a day filled with lots of holding and rocking, swaddling, warmed-milk feeding, and medicating.  We did all we could, yet I still left there feeling as though I wished I could have done more.    

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One thought on “Tearing my hair out

  1. I can sure identify with your frustrations. I get those same kids when they are 3 or older. And unfortunately those same parents. I see the kids who are beaten by their parents but are afraid to tell. I see the kids whose parents refuse to take them to the doctor. I see the kids who are sick and have nobody to come get them so they spend half the day in my office. I see the kids who look at me with their big brown eyes and ask me for a hug and ask if they can come live at my house. I get yelled at by their parents who tell me it’s my job to keep their kids healthy since they don’t have time to take care of them. Or yelled at by parents who tell me it’s none of my business their kids are taking risks with their lives; that they don’t care and I shouldn’t either. Oh yeah, I can definitely empathize with you on this one. I wish I could take them all home with me.

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