If you want real try spending a 12 hour shift with a nurse. Any nurse, any setting, doesn’t matter. What you’ll see is life with everything stripped away – except for what’s real. All pretense fades away with suffering – your station in life, or lack thereof, means nothing. Pain, fear, and death – this is about as real as it gets.
The death of a child while your hands are still on them, trying desperately to save them, then the wailing of the parents and family when they realize it’s all over. This isn’t a movie or some cruel fiction, this is real – as brutally real as it gets. Alive one minute, then dead. Life goes on, and you go on to your next patient. Keeping it real.
How about going to the ER because of “stomach” pain and finding out your abdomen is filled with tumors. It’s real in a way you wish it wasn’t.
Trying to put an IV in a burn victim while the smoke is still rising from their cooking flesh – that’s a real you won’t soon forget.
The sixteen year old boy who will be a quadriplegic because he was shot over some ridiculous bullshit in the street. He thought he was “keeping it real,” but real is spending the rest of his life in a wheelchair being fed by someone else.
But I don’t want to paint an overly negative picture. There’s “good” real too…
The stroke patient who came in not being able to move his left arm and now he can, because you helped him get the right drugs quickly. When you go in to check on him and he says “thank you for taking care of me.” If you’re a nurse it doesn’t get much better than that.
Or even just going into a patients room, and a family member looks up and smiles, saying “you took care of my (mother/father/daughter/son/grandparent, etc).”
I always ask “I hope I did a good job...”
Just trying to keep it real.