As I approach the Cuba Pod to discontinue my patients treatment. Beside me is my coworker Ashley. Now let me tell you about Ashley. She’s fairly new to Dialysis approaching her First Year. Sheesh it’s been moons ago since I started my career. That’s in another comic of mine that will be coming later this year. Ashley has been with our clinic since March and I must say she’s a vibrant young lady. I can remember when I first met her coming to this clinic and she always appeared bubbly and full of life. I just assumed she had been at this profession for a while. I say this because as I noticed from afar of how she moved and carried herself with a positive attitude. Having a positive attitude is important in the Renal World let alone for the whole World itself . Today was different though. And what I mean by different is she seemed a bit down. I could just tell by her demeanor. I see her anxiously racing against the clock with trying to answer alarms, update vital signs in the appropriate time frame and to prevent a possibility of her patient bleeding. Meanwhile still holding her composure. As she sits down on the stool next to her patient Mrs.Baykonberning( We nicknamed her Bacon Burning) , holding her arterial site ( lower portion ) of her patients fistula site , I notice from a distance a glare in her eyes with a piercing sparkle . Yet it’s the holding back of tears with despair. Granted during this time of the COVID-19/ Coronavirus Pandemic we are fully covered at all times. Meaning even though with the visuals that will be displayed within this story , we are using defined universal precautions and suited up with PPE to the max. So when I say I can see the piercing sparkle of held back tears in her eyes through the KN95 mask , uncomfortable face shield gripping her head around her temples , her contacts which she has mentioned before giving her slight trouble causing discomfort and the sweat pouring down her back from the gowns that feel like soaking wet trash bags. I feel as though something else is bothering her. I can see Mrs. Baykonberning give her hope with mere hand gestures by saying ,” It will be okay!”, “ You’re doing fine!” Ashley drops her head down as if she wants to give up hope , but still pushes through. As I walked by them both I noticed a sudden silence . As if it were a paused time warp. All the beeping suddenly went silent and every foot step was mimicking heavily off of the tile floor. As I look to my left while I’m rinsing my patient back . Ashley urgently races to the scale where her previous patient starts to bleed slightly from their access. Thank goodness she finished holding Mrs. Bacon Burning’s arm site . I hear Mrs. Baykonberning say ,” Go ahead ,I’m right behind you and I’ll get my post weight and write it down for you !” As she’s walking behind Ashley slowly with her cane with a slight limp. She notices a folded piece of paper that fell from Ashley’s pants pocket. As she reaches down to grab to give it to her. She feels obliged to open it and here’s what it says:
This is a poem/ reminder of what Ashley experiences on a daily basis from her preceptor and those around her who have previous dialysis experience, but lack the patience of someone new. Those of us in this profession must not forget how it was when we were new. Processing is key. Dialysis is very overwhelming and intimidating yet deceiving. If you’re reading this. Do you remember your first time working in Dialysis? Did you ever want to give up or quit? Did you ever feel like the whole world was on your shoulders? If so , imagine that while having someone’s life in your hands and you’re trying to maintain your composure meanwhile being ridiculed. I live by this saying,” Follow your moral compass!” We at the KidneyTrails.com are here to Teach and Build.
Ashley “Smash” McGinnis
Dialysis Patient Technician
Fresenius Medical Care, North America