When I go to the hospital for ECT, there is the most amazing staff of nurses. The salary and benefits must be excellent, because there appears to be no turnover rate amongst them. Of course, there is the possibility they simply love what they do and stay for that reason alone. I’ve had the same nurses the entire 18 months I’ve been doing ECT. They are the Goddesses of Comfort and Care (GCC).
The GCC look like they should be dressed in floor-length gowns, all aglint with sequins and gemstones. A kind of glow follows them around the recovery room. a halo? Im not eliminating that possibility. They remind me of a smarter version of the game show host’s ever-smiling, ever-lovely assistant. They move seemingly without taking a step; instead, they appear to glide across the cold tile floor of the ECT department without making a noise. They are, every one of them, extremely attractive. Perhaps it’s because they’re always smiling, an attribute I personally find very appealing. But I secretly think its because George Burns and Ted Danson (see my previous post, “Shocking……”) prefer to be in the company of attractive women. (And one attractive boy intern, Opie – see previous post “What NOT to say….”). The GCC can guide an IV needle into a vein seemingly without looking, they always remember that I like two warm blankets, and they make sure my Johnny gown is tied all the way up the back to discreetly hide my floral undies from the other patients’ lines of sight. They speak softly, and they look me in the eye. I never realized the importance of being looked directly in the eye by someone with whom I’m having a conversation until the topic became about my disease. Trust me: you’re no more likely to “catch” my disorder by looking at my cowgirl boots than you are by looking in my eyes when we speak. So extend the courtesy, will you?
Anyway, back to my girls. I have much more interaction with them than I do with George or Ted. They are the ones who give me my memory tests and administer the “depression index” quiz for my “Beck score”, they medicate me and insert the IV needle. They take my blood pressure and help to calm my anxiety. They always remember the names of my kids (a quick route to my heart), and my drug allergies. They hold my hand and wipe my tears on the days I feel particularly scared. On occasion, they even have to clean emesis basin. They protect my modesty and my ego. They re-dress me into my street clothes following the procedure, and hug me when I leave.
They care. They care a lot.
And the entire time, they are smiling.
But sometimes I have to wonder if the reason the GCC are constantly smiling is because the whole time they are secretly thanking God that they are not bipolar.