(Continuation of How I Became a Writer)
The Chief Nurse started by saying, “Obviously you have strong feelings about the care of dying patients.”
I squirmed in my seat. I did have strong feelings. But it made me uncomfortable to remember the powerlessness of the whole incident with Mr. Webb and those like him.
I had been working really hard for over a year to keep the lid on my feelings. Sue had been the perfect regulator of my emotional dial. So what could the Chief Nurse be concerned about now?
She continued. “There is a doctor at our other division who is interested in exploring the possibility of an inpatient hospice. It’s not been done here before.
As you know, patients are usually treated here or they go home to die with some hospice care there. But we understand there are a small population of patients, who need hospital care, but with a more comfort care approach.”
This was amazing news. I thought she was just sharing information because she knew of my interest. But then she added, “I want you to manage it.”
I was speechless for a few moments. She gave me that few moments, but then added, “You start next week.”
I had comfortably landed in Sue’s nest, and now the prospect of being pushed out was frightening. Yes, I certainly endorsed the possibilities of better care for those patients.
But on the flip side, I did not feel ready to be a full fledged manager. I did not want to leave the city division and go to the country division.
I told her I would think about it. I must have been in shock to believe I could say no to the Chief.
She simply said, “We’ll talk again on Friday. If you don’t want to do it, it’s ok. But in any case, it’s time for a change. We have a night nurse position on 6 Main (name changed).”
I understood. I was going to a new life. The next week I was standing in a completely empty nursing unit in the country.
I called the Chief and asked her if I was in the wrong place. She assured me I was in the right place.
“But,” I said, “there is nothing here. Where do I get beds, supplies? Where are the patients coming from?”
She said, “You’re the manager. Let me know how it goes.” And she hung up.
I stood there and wondered whether I was finally being punished for my sins or given a real opportunity to do something good.
So I did what I did when I started writing. I picked up the pen, sat down in the one chair that was on the unit and began to write what I imagined for the future hospice unit.
And then I began to call around and ask where I was supposed to get beds!
Stay tuned to find out what happened when I met the doctor. We may have been the most unlikely duo ever, but we shared a common dream to bring hospice to life!