A chance encounter 3/7

By Drum Digital
02 June 2014

A good nurse should never get emotionally involved with her patients

And I thought: I must pull myself together before sister comes back. She’d be sure to notice and  wouldn’t be happy at all. It wouldn’t be the first time that a sister reprimanded me.

Two weeks before, Sister Mbau had called me into her office.

“You’re a third-year student now, Nurse Ngobo. I expect you not to get too involved with the patients. You know you won’t make a good nurse otherwise. You have to learn to detach yourself.”

And she was right. I knew that detachment was the only way to survive. You’d end up a patient yourself if you carried everybody else’s pain around with you. When I first started at St Georges Hospital, I’d often made the mistake of caring for each patient on the ward as if they were one of my own family.

But after a while I’d learned that if I were to carry on that way, I’d never make a good nurse. The strain was too great.

But I couldn’t help having a few favourites, though I tried never to show it. I still got depressed whenever we lost the battle to save a patient. Then I consoled myself with the thought that we’d done everything possible for them.

But now here was Mrs Gxowa in our ward. And everything I’d taught myself went flying out the window.

I cared about Mrs Gxowa with every fibre of my being. I stood looking down at her, so shrivelled and tiny in the huge hospital bed. Somehow I felt that I knew her! But that was impossible. I had thought that I was moving forward before I was transferred to the geriatrics ward. I vowed to myself that I would learn to distance myself from these old dears.

It was about that time that my adopted mom Tina told me: “I can see that you’re not going to let this go, Neo. We’ve never kept it hidden from you that you’re adopted. But the woman who gave birth to you is dead. She died about 20 years ago.”

To be continued.....

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