So another Christmas is flying past and I always feel a little meh at this time of year. The buzz, rush and excitement of seeing family, exchanging gifts, eating way too much and still trying to fit into your jeans is all a little too much take.
Then it's over and you await new year.
I have worked every Christmas (apart from last year) since I was 16. And I won't lie...I really enjoy it. Yes, it sucks that people are in hospital and yes it does suck getting up to go to work when people get to have a Christmas morning at home. But I'll tell you what I love about it.
When I work Christmas it makes me realise why I am a nurse and why (even on the crap days) I do the job I feel born to do. Two weeks before Christmas we had a patient who came in for extensive cancer surgery. Due to the nature of her aggressive cancer she needed the surgery ASAP, which probably meant Christmas in hospital. She had this lovely 10 year old daughter called *Mollie and all Mollie wanted for Christmas were two things; 1) Reindeer slippers and 2) her mum to be home for Christmas. Mollie's mum came through the surgery brilliantly and recovered really well. It was so AWESOME to tell her that she would be home for Christmas. All the nurses were sworn to secrecy not to tell Mollie as her mum wanted to surprise her Christmas day!
It really was the best feeling in the world to know we could get Mollie's mum home. The whole team were elated!
Then on the 23rd I got a message from my colleague saying Mollie's mum had turned poorly and that she wouldn't be going home. I was gutted, absolutely gutted, and I am so glad Mollie never knew a thing. I came into work Christmas Eve to do my late shift and Mollie had brought in her Mum's presents, they decorated her room and watched a Christmas film. I just longed for and hoped that Mollie could have her Mum for Christmas...even for just a few hours. So we arranged a plan that Mollie's mum could go home for a few hours. It was tight with all her medications and attachments but we could make it work...and it was all set in motion.
Then I came into work on Christmas Day feeling a little miserable that I couldn't be at home with my family. The consultant came to do his ward round and I explained we had arranged for Mollie's mum to go home for a few hours. What happened next was the best conversation...ever.
Me: 'She's doing a lot better and we have arranged for her to go home for a few hours.'
Consultant: 'mmm her bloods are good...not great but good. We can remove her lines and she could go home on oral medications. I don't see why she can't go home...but I'll let the you assess her mid morning and if you're happy then let her go.
Me: 'I think we can manage her from home and also you may have just made a little 10 year old girl's Christmas sir.'
Mollie's mum did really well all morning and when I told her she was over the moon. Mollie came in at 10am, with Reindeer slippers in tow, she didn't know her next present was coming. I went into Mollie's mum's room at 11am and told Mollie to sit with her mum. I said I had something important to tell her mum and not to say a word until I had finished. I went through all the discharge paperwork and Mollie's face went from a casual stare, to confusion and then pure enchantment.
"MY MUMMY IS COMING HOME. I THOUGHT IT WAS AWESOME THAT I GOT MY SLIPPERS...MY MUM IS COMING HOME...TODAY???? NOWAY! THANK YOU FOR GETTING BETTER MUM"
And I think that's what makes Christmas so joyous. This is exactly the reason why I do nursing. Yes it's great there is so much choice, so many clinical skills to learn and the responsibility that comes with it. Yet, sometimes just being able to do something good for another person is what makes you happy. I helped make a little girls Christmas this year...and I would work a thousand more christmases to see a reaction like that again.
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas this year.
*The name Mollie was used as an alias to maintain confidentiality