Saturday, September 25, 2010

The Dream...or Nightmare

I had the dream again.
THAT dream.
I dreamed that I was working as a general duty nurse, an RN, on a nursing unit - maybe a hospital, maybe a nursing home, could have been either, or both....knowing my dreams.

I was in charge of the unit. I'm always in charge in the dream - I was the Charge Nurse, the Unit Manager. But I didn't know how to divide up the staff and the patients...I was having problems making the assignments for the shift. I can still see the paper in front of me...I can still feel the frustration of trying to assign residents to staff.

First off the staff weren't wearing name tags. I couldn't tell if they were RNs, LPNs or aides.
And then I didn't know how many patients I had. How big was the unit? How big were the rooms? What was wrong with the patients? All things I needed to know to make an assignment. All things I didn't know but was trying to figure out.

In my dream I decided to "make rounds" - I walked from room to room. Actually it was ward to ward - many patients, 6, 8 or 10, in a large ward. There was no running water, no bathrooms, little privacy.
My nightmare hospital ward was populated by patients with IVs, tube feedings, oxygen. Patients were dying, they were confused and restrained, they were in pain. People were crying, yelling. Their linens were soiled. I was in charge of this hell. I was frantic with the responsibility because I was "in charge".

Somewhere in the back of my mind, I realized I was dreaming. I made myself wake up. My heart was beating fast, tachycardia. I laid a hand on my chest and I could feel the pounding. I had to meditate to bring the rate down.

I have this nightmare at least several times a year. The nightmare of returning to general duty nursing, a job I never really wanted, but one I did for more than 20 years.

Of course the nursing ward from hell is not a reality. But the work and the overwhelming responsibility is.
Thank goddess it was a dream.
I never want to return to the reality.


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