Behind Enema Lines

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     The problem with working for an institution is that invariably, “they” try to institutionalize you. You know “them,” the nameless, faceless suits that insist on your regurgitating their cliché slogans, attending their monotonous  meetings and exhibitionistic events, and endorsing their brand like a polar bear drinking a bottle of soda. “They” make the rules and “they” paint a pretty picture to the public and “they” have an agenda that falls short of the “billboard compassion” that we see scattered along the highways. It is easy to get disheartened by the fact that what was once a charitable mission is now very plainly, a business. The calling of health care workers has been cheapened, and it is easy to take it personally. The majority of us “frontliners” weren’t thinking in terms of dollars and cents when we decided to pursue our respective professions. Through the layers of jaded, burned out, seemingly abrasive workers, you will usually find at the core,  a servant’s heart. That is ultimately why they are here. It is easy to slip into an “us versus them” mentality. It is easy to feel like you are the right hand fighting the left hand to accomplish the same goal.
I have a strategy that keeps me level headed when I feel “the man’s” thumb crushing my head. When I’m bombarded with an avalanche of redundant procedures and time-wasting forms to fill out, and fighting insurance companies so we can give care, I need to focus on what I can control rather than what I can’t. I can’t order a guest tray for your hungry spouse (against policy), but I can quietly sneak her the tray that was intended for the patient that went home. I can’t hire more help, but I can try to keep you comfortable while I’m here. I can’t decide which supplies we order, but I’m a redneck and I can rig something up to keep your oxygen cannula from rubbing blisters on your face or keep our briefs that won’t fit you on your butt. That the system has fallen so far from it’s charitable roots is a tragedy. However, we continue to do the good work. Yes, there are a lot of misses and injustices to our patients every day. Yes, these are caused by everything from this infuriating system to the negligence of an individual. I’m certain that every person that is involved in patient care has made decisions that have hurt or delayed help to the population we serve. I know I have. But, when my blood is boiling and I start inventing enemies, whether it be the government, the system, the institution, a coworker, or my own failings, I have to have a reason to keep doing what I’m doing. So, I focus on who I’m helping. If I can do one beneficial thing for one person, I figure it’s worth it to them. Every day, we fight the good fight. We are 007s with a licence to care. It’s easy to forget it we do actually DO GOOD for people. Our mission isn’t lost in mission statements. Our most beneficial meetings are at bedside. We manage our own mindset and our own actions. Here’s real people helping real people.


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