a *much* needed bright spot in my not-so-great winter

  1. I had a brief encounter last night in a grocery store parking lot that helped me remember that there *are* people in the world who will help a stranger just because they can. it wasn't terribly dramatic, but it meant a lot to me.

    i'll give you a little background on my life right now; i apologize for the length, but i kinda need to vent.

    I worked for a few months in peds ICU- first job out of school. I was having some problems with my hip that started this summer, and got progressively worse. The stress and pain were becoming a problem, so i moved out to a floor/stepdown position where things would- theoretically- be less stressful. Turned out it was a *very* bad environment for me- i was ostracized from the start, and other nurses freely gossiped about my health issues and personal life, making up extra negative things to say, then reporting them to my manager. All the while, i'm in horrible pain by the end of each shift, and it's clear that nobody believes me.

    meanwhile, i'm spending pretty much every day off going to different doctors to find out what's wrong with my hip. eventually, surgery was recommended, but i had to find someone who could do arthroscopic hip surgery, as it's still an uncommon procedure. After several weeks of hunting, i found someone, and scheduled the surgery. Went to my manager, was told i had to take unpaid leave, pay COBRA while i was gone, and oh, by the way, they probably can't hold my job if i'll be out longer than 2-3 weeks. On top of it all, i was accused of *not* being up-front about needing surgery (i had given weekly updates on that) *and* of scheduling surgery right now so i wouldn't have to work christmas.

    so, i had surgery on november 30th. my mom stayed overnight, but after that, i was on my own. i had absolutely NO idea how hard it would be to do this on my own. a few friends offered to help, but their jobs made it difficult to get out here much. i know i could have *much* worse things wrong with me, but this has been really hard to deal with alone. i have to use crutches, which has made even the simplest task- like taking my dogs out to pee- quite challenging. when i needed groceries, i had to navigate that on my own, with crutches, then getting everything in from my car after parking five buildings over at my apartment complex (spaces were all taken).

    meanwhile, money is going out, but it's not coming in. i don't know when i'll be able to work again, and when i do, i'll probably need a new job. my fiancee is stationed overseas, but my online chats with him are my most valuable support. then i find out he's about to go out on a 90-day exercise, and we'll have very little contact. my closest friend, who is making the most effort to help, was diagnosed last week with myesthenia gravis, so he's having a lot of problems of his own. i feel like i'm sliding into a hole.

    yesterday, i went for my 2-week follow up. my recovery isn't progressing well, and there's a 50% chance i'll have to have the surgery AGAIN in another 2 months. My surgeon gave me strict instructions to only do sedentary activities for the forseeable future. so there's a good chance i'm looking at several more months of this, and i'm really getting to the end of my rope.

    so last night, i had to get groceries again (can't starve the dogs, y'know). I hobbled around the store on my crutches, but i still had to stop several times because the pain just got to be too much. as i was leaving, i got stuck behind a family that had 3 full carts of groceries, and they were taking a lot of time getting out the door. I said, 'excuse me', and weaved through them to get to my car. i was annoyed at them, but mostly just annoyed at life.

    a couple minutes later, they came out- and they came straight to my car. they insisted on helping me get everything unloaded, turned my cart in, and asked if there was anything else they could do for me. i was ashamed that i'd had ill thoughts toward them. i thanked them and said, 'you didn't have to do this, but i really appreciate it.' the mother said, 'don't be silly. you needed somebody to help, and we could. ain't a hard thing to figure out.'

    i cried all the way home. it was a really simple thing that family did for me, but it came at a time when i felt utterly alone, and it meant so much. i hope i remember how this made *me* feel the next time i have the opportunity to do a small favor for a stranger.
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  2. 13 Comments

  3. by   weetziebat
    Rachel, sorry to hear you are having such a crappy time right now. Scary when the money is going, the problems are sticking around, and help is scarce. Sure hope things improve soon, and you get to feeling better.

    Reading about your experience last night made me think about how a 'little' thing can really mean a lot. Last night, I was coming out of the doctor's office - have a 2nd degree burn from my shoulderblade all the way down my arm. The doctor said a plum size part of it looks third degree, and gave me a script for pain meds. I was in extreme pain leaving the doctor's office and, when I opened my car door it just 'touched' the door of the car next to me. The man sitting in the car opened his window and started yelling about how careless I was and I was going to damage his vehicle.

    It really bummed me out that my door barely touched his and he is screaming about it, then later read your story. People really do have a choice. I'm sure the folks who helped you not only made you feel better, but also feel a lot better about themselves than the guy who was so nasty to me. Not that he could have done anything to help me, but makes me hope I remember that it is just as easy to be nice to people as to be nasty, and makes everyone feel better!

    P.S. I'll keep you in my prayers.
  4. by   Jessy_RN
    I am so sorry about your situation too. You know, I have felt the same way you did. Sometimes, situations happen and people come across our path to show and remind us that there is good in people. There are people who care and that sometimes we get tangled in our own problems that we overlook that.

    Best wishes to you and you will be in my prayers. Bless that family too. :kiss
  5. by   traumaRUs
    Sorry also. With you being on crutches, can you get home health? Some of the United Way agencies have sliding scale helpers that will assist with routine non-patient care activities like errands. Another suggestion: in my area, the high schools require community service in order to graduate - contact a high school and see if one of their students lives in your area and can help out. Hope this helps.
  6. by   Catsmeow
    Man! Sorry we don't live closer to ya gal. Could drop you by some groceries 'n' stuff here and there. Spose TX is a bit outta the way though. I'm almost wondering if you woudln't do better to see if they will terminate you, and see if social services can come up with some help for you. Guess that'd wreck your insurance though. Sorry to hear of your rough time. When my Mother-in-law broke her knee, we moved her in with us. She never left, 5 years later. lol. No family you could descend upon for awhile?

    Cats
  7. by   Tweety
    Sorry you're in so much pain. Also glad to hear you realize it's not a totally evil world we live in. Best wishes.
  8. by   Katnip
    I hope you come across many more bright spots in the future. It's always so nice when someone does something nice at random, isn't it?
  9. by   Fun2, RN, BSN
    I'm sorry about what you're having to deal with.

    I'm sure you learned a valuable lesson, as well as they did. Many people are oblivious to their surroundings, and are rude until they realize how their actions are perceived by other people.

    I guess once they saw you having to hobble around them, they realized that they were taking a long time, making you suffer.


    Most people have a good hearted nature, but sometimes it just has to be brought out.


    I hope things start looking up for you. A special thanks and a prayer to your fiancé'.



    (This reminds me of a bitter, old lady whining in the lines of a check-out until I told her that the people holding up the line in front of me were evacuees from New Orleans. Her change of tone was immediate. It's sad that people have to feel pity in order to not be so bitter.)
  10. by   Roy Fokker
    I try to be as patient as possible too. Fact is that friends and family think I have the patience of a saint.

    Just that somedays, it's a literal fight between patience and sanity... and sanity ends up winning.

    It's sad no doubt. And immediately after I do something after I lose my patience, I regret it. Instantaneously. Every wound I cause is reflected on me.

    Wish there was something I could do about it in myself and in others. My girl (May she rest in peace) had a secret wish - "If I had super powers, I would become invisible and spank all the rude people in the world"

    So sorry you're going through all the pain and emotional difficulties. :icon_hug:
  11. by   arciedee
    Quote from Roy Fokker
    I try to be as patient as possible too. Fact is that friends and family think I have the patience of a saint.

    Just that somedays, it's a literal fight between patience and sanity... and sanity ends up winning.

    It's sad no doubt. And immediately after I do something after I lose my patience, I regret it. Instantaneously. Every wound I cause is reflected on me.

    Wish there was something I could do about it in myself and in others. My girl (May she rest in peace) had a secret wish - "If I had super powers, I would become invisible and spank all the rude people in the world"

    So sorry you're going through all the pain and emotional difficulties. :icon_hug:
    That's a great super power wish, Roy! You girl sounds like she had a wonderful heart and sense of humor.

    Rachel, so sorry for everything you're going through right now. I do hope that things look up for you and that there are more people like those at the grocery store who will be willing to help you out right now. My thoughts are with you...
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Wow, what a great thing, your finding a silver lining in all your troubles....I wish you healing, health and happiness, Rachel.
  13. by   rach_nc_03
    Wow- thanks, y'all, for your wonderful words of support! (Somehow i wasn't subscribed to my own thread, so i didn't realize anyone had responded until i checked just now...oops! )

    Last night i made the mistake of hobbling down to the dumpster at my apartment complex on one crutch- was trying to multitask with taking the dogs out, as we had freezing rain, and i wanted to minimize the trips outside. today, i haven't even been able to get from one room to the other without my leg totally giving out. i've been really frustrated by that, but when i read the replies on this board, i felt *so* much better knowing how many people care.

    The HH and high school volunteer ideas are wonderful...i'll definitely look into that. And if i *do* have a second surgery, i'm going to insist on getting a HH referral...i think i didn't do it last time because i couldn't stand the idea that i *needed* home nursing care. pride goeth before a fall....literally, in my case! :chuckle

    seriously, you guys are so great- good thoughts and prayers from people all over the world make me feel less alone, and i thank you!
  14. by   webblarsk
    I am so sorry you are having such a difficult time. I wish I lived near you so I could help out. I am glad you got a little "pick me up" from that family. Its so nice to hear about "good" people still out there! My thoughts and prayers are with you!

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