DECEMBER 24, 2011 – For 20 years, I have never, I mean NEVER spent Noche Buena (Christmas Eve meal) away from my family. This year will be different though; I bet it will be one amazing feeling spending Christmas Eve in the hospital as I am now a ‘genuine’ nurse. I don’t know if I should blame this to bullying; but as a junior nurse, I was tasked to take a Night Shift (10pm-6am) on one perfect day: December 24. No candlelit table, ham, or fruitcake for me this year: just me, my stethoscope, a couple of medications and my patients.
My family then decided to eat out (early Noche Buena) before I come to duty. We had pizza, seafood pasta, sausage rolls, and ice cream: to basically advance the holiday cheer. Now nobody can tell me I had a sad Christmas eve, LOL.
After which I went straight to the hospital. I came in early, just past 9pm so that those from the PM shift (2pm-10pm) can save themselves from spending Christmas in traffic. It was a merry feeling anticipating Christmas outside the home and I was quite excited about it, I mean how independent can this be?
After endorsement though, my charge nurse received a phone call from the nursing supervisor telling him to ‘lend’ me to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) as they need one more nurse there.
I was like, seriously?
Bummer, it was sad man!
I definitely think its sad not to greet Christmas in my own home, much more not in my own station. Merry Christmas to me.
So there, I became a PICU nurse for the night. The patients there were so tiny I found myself calculating each move I make. Midnight struck as I take vital signs and feed the small kid; the parents greeted me ‘Merry Christmas’ as I smile back and wave.
At that instant, I thought of my family in Cavite; they’re probably exchanging gifts and singing carols by now. I thought of my friends who might be already drunk and uttering incomprehensible greetings. I thought of my own station: it’s warmth and familiarity. For the first time in my life, I was not around people I know at this special moment that happens just once a year, I did not stare at the clock anticipating each minute to be the one to shout the loudest Merry Christmas: I was in a distant place performing an important task on Christmas day. But also for the first time in my life, I did not feel incomplete; in fact I felt none of those holiday glee are as important.
Due to the awful silence at the PICU, I recall praying and greeting Jesus Christ his due birthday greeting. I laugh at myself as I remember this; I mean that was a first, sheesh.
That Christmas was a revelation to me: I know there are a lot more that I need to learn. And I am in awe every time I discover new things in my job. It’s like being in a shop the whole day and still finding stuffs you missed the first look. I spent the 21st Christmas of my life performing my duty as a nurse: I’m not sure but I guess I just felt fulfilled for the second time.
Next stop, new year duty!