They are molded into sterner stuff. Layers upon layers of softness pressurized into something solid and strong. The ensuing flexibility which is created belies the strength of their makeup. We come to depend on them when weariness saps our lives. They become like an old friend…comfortable, reliable, enduring… and there when we need a cushion from the reality of our suffering.
I have spent a lot of time with healthcare professionals lately, especially LPN’s and RN’s…. I watch them as they come and go to work and from the exterior they look as any other employee might look; dressed in their work clothes, toting their backpacks and lunches, most with smiles for their fellow healthcare warriors at the start of each shift. Nothing paints their exterior any different, but it is the makeup of their natures that is so very unique. The crinkled worry lines, the oft time sadness and frustration in their eyes, the walls that they must build to stove off the emotional heart-strings which sing at their doorsteps on a daily basis……… How do they learn to cope?
They watch people at their worst, patients crying in torment with pain of their own or friends and family members raging at whatever powers that be, over the inequity of the suffering of a loved one. These professionals weave and watch, follow progress and lapses, their slow and steady words of encouragement no less vital than their quick reactions in the face of crisis…….How do they not whither under the strain?
Daytime hours in a hospital are when everyone is in hustle and bustle mode. Doctors making rounds, procedures being done, well-intentioned family and friends coming and going. There is always an underlying hum of anxiety in the air, an undercurrent of worry mixed with powerful emotions. Angst often shows itself in startling ways, from a woman sitting alone at a cafeteria table, cell phone in hand, crying to someone..” She’s going fast, what will I do?” to the family huddled in the waiting room, faces solemn, eyes not wanting to meet in fear of breaking the dam …. hands being held with whispers of prayers for salvation………How do they steal themselves from these waves of sadness?
At night the quiet resounds off the walls. The beeps of the machines, steady and routine, signaling all is well. Crepe soles walk the halls, checking a temperature here and blood pressure there. Overworked, understaffed and often under appreciated. Waiting room sofas become cots for the worried weary and the warriors continue their watch over the ones that are in pain ever vigilant even through their own fatigue…… How do they not succumb under the pressure?
I have watched them and have come to know them. They are the same in each hospital that I visit. I have sat in their waiting rooms and worked out of their break rooms and I have seen these Medical Warriors in action. They are a marvel, one and all, and I am glad that they do what they do… because it is for us that they continue in this service to the sick. They are our Crepe Souls.