Tuesday, December 7, 2010
My Secret Life as a Wannabe Nurse
I always wanted to be a nurse. My dad chose the profession for me one evening during our family meal.
“The way you like to eat, your butt’s going to get so big I doubt you’ll find a husband,” he said. He may have been joking, but I took it to heart.
“There will always be a need for nurses,” he said, and how right he’s been, seeing how it’s one of the most in-demand careers of the recession.
I tried, Lord knows, I tried. At the University of Georgia, where I was a coed majoring in “wildlife,” and not the animal kind, I entered the nursing program. This meant cadavers. A cadaver is a dead person soaked in Formaldehyde and rolled out on gurneys every Wednesday morning at 8 a.m.
This is much too early to be poking around people’s parts. Particularly if you’d done the kegger thing at the frat house the night before.
I’ve mentioned on this blog before, that I worked in a hospital, mainly the Queen of the Hot Soapy enema. I’d load it up, bag it, then boom! This was my daily ritual at the West Georgia Medical Center on the geriatric floor.
Oh, I got to do a bit more. Catheters, impactions. All the glamorous stuff the real nurses, the RNs, were far above doing.
I couldn’t wait to be a real nurse - giving shots and hanging IV bags, checking equipment and whipping out the defib paddles. For now, I was a nurse’s assistant. In other words, the fanny wiper.
One day the head nurse told me to go bathe a man. Head to toe, including that part in the middle that I’d never seen on a man, boy, or even male infant. We were a family of girls, and I was 18 and a virgin when Miss Head Nursey required I get a man naked and bathe him.
“I don’t know,” I said. “I really don’t think – ”
“Get in there now,” she said, tapping on her chart. “The geezer’s been in a coma for the past four months. He won’t even know you’re in there.”
Oh, how I loved RNs and their power. Oh, how I wanted to be one.
So I entered Mr. Hinson’s room and prepared a sponge bath, lovingly slathering his face for about an hour because I didn’t want to head farther South. Miss Head Nursey poked her head in the doorway. “Did ya wash him down there yet?”
“Soon,” I said. “Just shaving him a bit. Exfoliating his face.”
“Well, ya been in there so long you probably took his skin off. In fact, is that a portion of skull exposure I’m seeing on his left cheek?”
She huffed away and gave me 15 minutes to finish. I removed his gown and bunched it at his waist where his Depends loomed like a deadly weapon. I washed and sponged his neck and shoulders, his stomach and then…I had no choice. Nursey would fire me.
I turned my head, pulled the tabs from the diaper, and aimed my sponge for what I thought would be the target zone.
Wash, wash. Woosh, woosh. Oh, Lord. What was happening? Something had risen and was waggling in an attempt to stand proud. I glanced and gasped. Jesus! This organ had a life of its own. Is this what I’d face on my wedding night?
Quickly, I finished up, but before I left, I heard a groan followed by a plea.
“Grrrrrrr. Mmmmmmp. Don’t goooooooo,” the supposedly comatose man said. “Stay and play with me.”
I rushed out of there and told the head nurse I’d done far more than give a sponge bath,
“Miss Nursey,” I said, the tub of water still in my hands. “I raised that man from the dead.”
To this day, when I see someone with RN on the scrubs I still covet, I wish I could go back in time and be a real nurse. Then I could grow a large butt. Then the recession couldn’t touch me.
But then again, I can always create a character who’s an RN or any other career I wish I’d chosen. Such as being a trapeze artist, an aerialist or Susan Lucci’s long-lost twin on “All My Children.”
Susan Reinhardt’s works can be seen at www.susanreinhardt.com
She’s a lead Sarah Palin impersonator. In real life.