“Stay The Hell Out Of My Way”

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Author’s Photo — Artist Unknown

My sister gave me this placque. And truer words were never spoken.

I’m a nurse. An OR nurse. An OLD OR nurse.

Throughout my career I have been besieged by bright and cheerful medical students and interns asking me — What can I do to help?

My response is always the same.

Stay the hell out of my way.

Because you are not here to learn to be a nurse — you are here to learn to be a doctor — so doing my job is not a skill you need to master.

By trying to help me — I have to teach you what I am doing — thus slowing down the entire process. And did I not just mention — you don’t fucking need to know how to do this anyway? Stop wasting my time and let me repeat — stay the hell out of my way.

I say it sincerely, and as gently as I can — with a smile… that I hope reaches to my eyes because in the OR I wear a mask and my eyes are all you can see.

But on the other hand, I do mean it.

Just so we’re clear here — Nurses…NOT angels of mercy. Not now, never have been. We are tough, very tough. Have you seen our job description? So do not expect warm, fuzzy shit from us. We save that for the patients.

And that brings me to my main point of this story — being chronically pissed off. Because I am.

I attended a yoga workshop this weekend and according to my teacher — my anger issuess relate directly back to a wound in my third chakra. And as you can see by the first paragraphs of this story, I get can get triggered fairly easily on a bad day.

Or is it that I am a fire sign — Sagittarius? Or that I’m half Italian? Or that I’m post menopausal and just don’t give a shit anymore? Or is it that my job sucks my soul dry and I have nothing left to give newbie MDs? Or is it that I am tired and worn down and haven’t been able to do the things I need to do to take care of myself? Or is it that I need a pee break and a cup of coffee like most other humans get to have at their J.O.B.s?

Or does the why of it even matter?

The third chakra’s element is fire and the internal flame of my third chakra has a hair trigger most days.

But the trick isn’t to extinguish the flame, it’s to tend it well and not allow it to flare up without your permission and let it burn you.

We all need our internal fire. We need the passion of a great good cause, the ferocity of a She-wolf to protect our young, the strength of a warrior to defend our boundaries, and the confidence of our ego to not apologize for being our Real Selves.

But we also need peace. I want my flame to be more like a warm and welcoming campfire. Something I can live with every day. I want the people in my life not to have to wear fire retardant gear in my presence. I want to save the energy of my flame for the big things — the things that truly need to be burned away — and not always live on the edge of starting a wildfire.

Where do I start? Where we all start. With a conscious effort. With awareness. Without judgement. With an “atta girl” when we catch ourselves and can breath it back down to embers. With a “we’ll do better next time” when the flames “climb high into the night”. With mending the broken parts with gold and letting the light shine through the cracks. With accepting our Real Selves for who we Really Are. With yoga. With mediation. With love.

Peace is worth it. We are worth it.


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