hello, random question, but i was wondering where you found your owl scrubs. my best friend is going into nursing/occupational therapy, and i know she would love to have them. i read in your inspirational story where you helped the inmate that was being taken over by anxiety that you live in canada. i was wondering if i could still find those or get them shipped here for her :) thank you!
They’re Dickies brand, which is not Canadian, so hopefully that helps…when I bought them they were on clearance, so they’re probably a little old, but if you try googling Dickies scrubs + “owl you need is love”, you might be able to find them on ebay, or a clearance section on a scrub shop online. Good luck!
I had the guards pull him into the hallway, away from the other inmates. He had tears streaming down his cheeks, and a look of distress in his eyes. I recognized that look immediately, it’s one I’ve worn a thousand times. When your anxiety breaks that threshold and the panic sets in, your mind won’t stop racing. Your body betrays you, and one by one, you can tick off all of the horrible ways that the panic manifests physically. His heart was racing, he told me. His fingers and toes were numb. He couldn’t catch his breath. It’s too much, he told me. All I wanted to do was hug him, to put my arms around him and let him know that somebody in that building cares about him, somebody who knows exactly how he is feeling right now, someone who knows that he’s going to be okay because she’s lived that moment a thousand times herself. I’m not allowed to do either of those things.
He held up his hands, and his fingers were rigid. They’re not getting enough oxygen, Miss, he told me. Now this, this I can do. Give me your fingers, I told him. I took his index and middle finger into my palm and held them, told him to relax and breathe deeply. I showed him that his fingers could still move, and told him that they were still warm. I showed him how when I blanched his fingernail by pressing on it, the colour returned immediately, I told him that his blood was still pumping and reaching every part of his body, and his heart, although racing, was doing exactly what it was supposed to do.
I had him look into my eyes, and breathe deeply with me. I taught him to count as he took in air, count as he held it, count as he let it go. My fingers on his wrist, I felt his pulse start to slow a little. I told him so. His shoulders, so stiff and strained, slacked a little, and he told me that he felt better because I was there.
I tried to explain the best I could, the way our mind can play tricks on the body. How our thoughts can trigger physical responses. The way that stress can make you feel like you’re being eaten alive. The mind can just get so tired of fighting these thoughts, your body goes into survival mode, and it is so, so scary, but that there are ways to fight back. He nodded that he understood, and I promised him that he would still be alive when I came in for my shift the next morning. I hope that he sleeps. Please let him find sleep tonight.
One of the corrections officers had yelled at him, he told me, just the way his father used to yell at him.
He’s not an inmate in an orange jumpsuit. He is my patient, and he trusts me, a nurse, to try to help him to feel better. I’m just a baby nurse, brand new. But tonight I felt it. I am overwhelmed by his need and his trust, and grateful that I was able to find a way to impart my personal experience combined with my professional training, to somehow give him comfort, and help him to navigate a scary moment in his life.
Although I hope he doesn’t, I’m sure he will likely have more moments like this…in my experience anxiety isn’t a one-night show. I hope he can remember what I told him. I hope he can find a way to cope. I hope he can find the tools and the personal strength to face his inner demons, which is no simple task for any of us. I hope we can connect him with mental health resources if and when he decides that he needs it. And I hope he finds sleep.
And maybe it doesn’t sound like much to some of you. But tonight I felt like a real nurse, for the first time. And it wasn’t when I was pouring meds, or carrying doctor’s orders, or doing withdrawal assessment, or any of the other dozens of important nursing tasks I did in my 13 hour shift today. I gave comfort to someone when he was terrified, and helped him to understand what was happening to his body. That is by far the most important thing I did today.
You will be out with friends when the news of her existence will be accidentally spilled all over your bar stool. Respond calmly as if it was only a change in weather, a punch line you saw coming. After your fourth shot of cheap liquor, leave the image of him kissing…