Night Shift

Despite all the dangers of social media – once you post anything on e-mail/Facebook etc it is there for ev-ah even if you think you’ve deleted it – the net truly is one of the wonders of the modern age.

Take last night…

I was on Facebook around 4.30pm Calgary time when my friend R from my Student Nursing days put up a post in Scotland.

What are you doing up at that time of night? I asked.

Unable to sleep.

Minutes later, the third member of our trio, B, also in Scotland, posted – Looks like we’re all working nightshift tonight.

And you know, just for a minute, there we were, the three of us stepping onto the dim, quiet wards of The Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh at the beginning of a night shift.

Eidnburgh royal

There’s something special about working while the rest of the world is asleep. Most nights were quiet – routine obs, turning patients q4h, changing drip bottles – interspersed with both scheduled and fly tea breaks and the occasional moments of panic.

I still remember the terror of my first junior nights when the nurse in charge (a second or third year student nurse) went on her break. Left alone with only an auxilliary to care for up to thirty patients, I tiptoed from bed to bed, shining the tiny beam from my miniature torch onto my patients’ chests to make sure they were still breathing.

Now, all these years and thousands of miles later, those days have taken on a rosy glow and I’ve forgotten the hard times the three of us experienced on those wards: having a child die on Xmas Day; a ward sister hurling a bottle (of something you don’t want to know what it contained); sitting behind the screens with a patient holding their hand so they wouldn’t die alone in the dark.

And yet there were magical moments too – great moments of joy and friendship –  and that’s what I felt last night as we whispered to each other across the silent net.

Thanks, guys!


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