To My Patients, With Love

Here she is, on the brink of a new adventure.

She withdraws from herself, attempting to escape the subjective and view the situation objectively, as someone who does not know her inner sentiments. Someone who has no clue about the delicate balance her life has become, someone who is ignorant of the weight of each role she plays must surely have more sound advice than her own.

From the outside looking in, everything is in place. It looks routine, it looks almost dull and burdensome. Each day as the one before, carries on, labors on and ends just to start again tomorrow.

But from the inside… oh, from the inside looking out, the view could not be more different. 

The problem with thinking objectively is that you miss the details that give life its color. You miss the smell that accompanies the rose, the coolness that accompanies the breeze.

Her experiences shape her, have made her who she is now. They have changed her in more ways than they will ever know. She cannot relay to someone else what they’ve never experienced. Someone else could never see what she’s seen or feel what she’s felt.

Like a blank canvas, she began with naïveté, but also enthusiasm. Her lack of experience did not hinder her, however, and she dove in without a second thought.

From the very beginning, she loved them: each and every one, each in their own way and for different reasons.  She spent her days learning them, studying them, earning their trust and loyalty.

She had much to prove, and she was determined to prove it. Little did she know, they would change her.

What she had learned would change; her methods would be adjusted according to each ones needs and wants. It wasn’t as black and white as she’d been taught. It wasn’t as calculable and clear as she’d been made to believe.

She knows the wrinkled brow when something’s not right. She senses their hesitation in choosing which route to go.

She understands the subtle but embarrassed stance and shifting of feet when what they have to say isn’t so pleasant. She feels the hurt they feel when someone’s let them down, or someone’s gone, never to return to them.

She knows the beats of their hearts and the sound of air passing through their lungs.  She knows their secrets, good and bad, and she keeps them. Tucked away inside her, their secrets dwell, and she guards them.

She hears their fears and cries with them when she has no answer to relieve them.

She laughs with them to help break the tension when it’s too tough to bear, and embraces their joys as if they were her own. She triumphs in their victories, no matter how big or small.

She knows the names of their children. She knows their work schedules and how well they sleep. She hears about their spouses.

She remembers loved ones she’s cared for and smiles through the tears with the ones who remain.

She knows things about them that no one else does, or even wants to, for that matter.

When she took the job, she never imagined she’d become so attached. What once were total strangers became more than friends, but different than family. A relationship so unique it’s difficult to articulate, and so profound it’s difficult to comprehend.

A relationship of total trust and deepest risk, it is a bond that can never be broken if both parties commit.

She is their nurse practitioner, and they are her patients.

She is changing again. Her canvas will change as well, but this time it is not blank. Its colors represent them, and they are as vibrant and powerful as the stars of the sky. It will be ever-changing, but it is they who laid the foundations upon which her masterpiece will be completed.

She hopes to make a difference; she hopes she has made a difference.

She is leaving a piece of her heart with them, because it is to them it belongs.

A privilege above all else, it has been mine to serve them.

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