In gardening, nature gets pretty angry when you plant the same crop in the same place for too many years in a row. That’s why we end up with things like tomato blight, and why our ancestors developed the rotational crop system. Different vegetables take and return different things to the soil, meaning that over time the earth becomes saturated with some nutrients and totally deficient in others. That is, unless we change our crops regularly.

It sounds odd, but I’m starting to wonder whether the same thing applies to hospitals. The one I work in is a rather new construction, but statistics show that though it was built on the principles Florence Nightingale set down, the outbreaks of MRSA and c.diff are significantly less than in older – equally Nightingaled – buildings. Logically, I can’t see why it would make a difference – we transport waste off site, the place is well-ventilated and we’re not taking anything from the earth in that particular place*. Still, is there something about having so many sick, dying people in one small area for such a long time which nature detests? I guess no matter how well you clean something, you’re always going to miss some kind of bug, and because wards are specialised you tend to get a lot of the same viruses in the same place. Is our health service just badly gardening diseases?

I digress, though.

Work is starting to get to me now. I still love the job, but I’m finding it harder and harder to put distance between myself and the work at the end of each day. In the bleakest possible terms, it’s like being haunted by all the things you couldn’t do. Despite the fact I’m going to do my nurses training next year – which will allow me to offer more help than, ‘I’ll get another blanket/bed-pan/wheelchair/nurse/doctor/priest’ – I know it won’t be enough. I’m not God. I can’t make it all better with a wave of the hand and of all the hard lessons my post has taught me, this is the hardest. People are going to hurt, going to die, in spite of my – and everyone else’s – best efforts. Even though I know it isn’t true, right now it just feels as though every day is a big fat fail. I need to start forcing myself to see the positives, rather than the things I have no control over. Learning how to do that though – well, it’s going to be tough. I hope I’m strong enough to stick it out.

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*Even the laundry is done off-site.

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