I had a Panera lunch with Adriana yesterday. Adriana both 1) went to nursing school with me and 2) was Edda’s afterschool caregiver around 2016-2018 and she left to become an ICU nurse at the UMMD in Baltimore. We haven’t really spoken since then, but we had a long, 2 hour catch-up session yesterday. She did end up overlapping with me at Holy Cross Hospital for about 2 years (2020-2022), but I never saw her – she was in the SICU and Covid ICU units while I was on the med/surg unit. I took care of Covid patients for only 6 weeks, but she ended up taking care of them for over 18 months! We both quit our bedside jobs at about the same time, she took a nursing job at a stand-alone outpatient surgery center making about 40% more than a bedside nurse and it’s weekdays only, all holidays/weekends off and you can work any four days during the week, you get to pick whichever weekday off you want every week. And it’s super boring and not challenging, but she needed a break, as did I. I asked why in the world did she take the Holy Cross job at the height of the pandemic and she said that 1) the commute and 2) she wanted the experience to go to CRNA school (nurse anesthetist) – one of the most coveted nursing positions out there, incredibly hard to get into the limited programs. But she said that after seeing the CRNAs in the operating room of the outpatient surgery center, she didn’t want to be a CRNA because it’s even more boring than being a post-surgical nurse at an outpatient surgery center. You put the pt to sleep at the beginning and then you are stuck in a cold operating room for five hours, just looking at monitors with (hopefully) nothing to do. And you do that 3-4 times a day – forever.

Anyways, it was fantastic to catch up. We talked about how, at the end of the bedside-ness, the patients became unbearable. Well, not that they themselves were unbearable, but that every request, no matter how reasonable-ish (could I have a glass of water? not this old water that I already have, I’d like fresh water. And warm, not too hot & not too cold and then after you come into the room with the warm water, they say – oh! I need a straw too.), became a source/flash for anger and irritation. And then you question yourself – I am a nice person, right? Why am I angry all the time? And I am angry all the time. Hmmm, I wonder if this is a weird manifestation of my underlying depression. If it is, it’s showing up in a new way.

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