I walked into my patient's room, waving a copy of her lab work in the air. Her white blood cell counts were finally high enough for her to leave the hospital. It had taken her awhile, and this was her third try at chemo, but finally she'd reached the magic number that would get her a ticket home.
Fish out of water is an overused metaphor, but a good description of how I felt when I started working as a nurse. I’d been an English professor, accustomed to meditative talk with colleagues over coffee, to the security I got from books, to the knowledge that whatever my failings as a teacher, no one’s life was on the line.
At my job, people die. That’s hardly our intention, but they die nonetheless.