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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Books by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Nurse Stories, Part Six: No Time For Tears (Until Later) (By Genevieve M. Voisin, R.N.)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, July 13, 2004

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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A veteran nurse who has been on the job for nearly 30 years shares some of her most memorable stories and why she still remembers the events so many years later. She also shares a special bond with one of her co-workers, and the two have remained very close friends ever since Louisiana joined the nursing staff about ten years ago.

Call me an old softie if you must, but I am not the strong, tough woman you may see when I am caring for patients. I have a very vulnerable, soft, tender side that shows itself in ways that are not expected, and they seem to come up best when people that I am taking care of are dying or aren't going to get any better.

My name is Genevieve Marie Voisin, and I have been a nurse going on 30 years now. Before I came to Nashville, Tennessee, I was a nurse at a hospital near my old stompin' grounds of Breaux Bridge, Louisiana. But my husband, George, got transferred on account of his job, and so we packed up our things and moved up "north" to Tennessee, and I got a job at Nashville Memorial Hospital.

I have been there since. I am the original charge nurse after the first one that I replaced got sick and died; and I have since acquired a partner-in-crime, Louisiana Sandusky, whom I think makes a better charge nurse than me. One thing, she is a heck of a lot younger, and she knows her business, that is for DAMN sure!

I primarily work the night shift..that is, suffice to say, I work the 11 PM to 6 AM shift..; and Louisiana comes to relieve me at 6:30 (although there are many times she is there by six; she is always early!). She works from 7 AM until 2:30/3:00 PM; she leaves at three so she can pick up her kids from school or from their games and stuff.

I have enjoyed every minute as my career as a nurse; but there have been times when I have felt like hanging up my nurse's cap and leavin' it all behind because sometimes bad things happen, and no matter how hard you may try to save a life or try to help a person in need, they end up dying, even with your best intentions, and at times, the deaths can hit you pretty damn hard. It is especially true if a child or a teenager is involved, or a young adult. I have taken care of patients who died from complications from surgery or illness, and I have had to call codes on little bitty babies or young children who should have been full of life. I have also had a kid of 12 die in my arms of AIDS. His family abandoned him when they found out that he got AIDS, and they wanted nothing to do with him; so they up and left him at the hospital to die in agony, in which he ultimately did. He was a very cute kid, and he always seemed so sad and quiet; and when he died, I was holding him in my arms. I didn't cry until after I left the room; I tried to be strong for both the kid and for Louisiana, but I couldn't hold back, and the tears and pain bubbled out of me, and I lost it. Louisiana was crying too (but then she has always done so; she is just so damned tender-hearted and compassionate!). She took me into her arms, and we just both held onto each other and bawled like nobody's business! Oh, it was horrible! (This happened about a year-and-a-half ago, and I still can't get the kid's face out of my mind even now. Tears still prick at my eyes each time I see his face or think of him!)

I have also seen once active, vibrant people come to our hospital in critical condition, suffering from some insidious, terminal disease that snuck upon them with little warning; and I have had to tell their grief-stricken family members that they have since passed on, and nothing could be done to save them. I remember one such woman who had Lou Gehrig's disease who was on a respirator, and she lived like this for three years until she finally (and mercifully) died, a shell of her once former self. It still hits me right here, and I still can't talk about Karen without tearing up. It's like that little kid I took care of that had AIDS. I don't think I will forget of little Antwon or Karen as long as I shall live!

I also have had my husband come into the hospital on several occasions (he has multiple health problems), and sometimes he has come into the hospital in pretty bad shape. I have had times where I thought he was a-gonna give up the ghost, but somehow the ol' booger rallied, and he managed to survive yet another life-threatening crisis; and my old man is still around, years later, flummoxing medical science with his iron courage and will to survive! (My husband, he is a tough ol' Cajun bastard; he always has been!) Whenever George comes into the hospital, I am always allowed extra time to spend with him, in case something unforseen happens, and I am always glad for the extra time spent with George! I don't know what I would do if he were to die if I weren't around; I don't think my ol' heart or spirit could take it, no!

My co-workers see me as a crazy old Cajun woman with wild white hair and alligator-green eyes in a tanned, wrinkled face; but I am not as crazy as they think. I have my serious side; I just don't show it unless someone is not doing well, and then they say I am all heart, and they think that I have an iron will and can take just about anything. Maybe I can, but sometimes things call for tears or pain, and when things seem at their abject worst, I try not to cry in front of my co-workers; and I try to remain strong for them. But shut the door or have them leave, and I am a blubberin' my poor eyes out, and tears are just a pourin' down my face like a Louisiana rainstorm!

Now, I don't mind crying in front of Louisiana because she knows and understands the stress that we nurses face each and every day at our jobs, and at times, the stress reaches its breaking point, and we have to release it somehow; so we cry. She has enough worries of her own: she has a sick husband who has asthma and arthritis and other health problems (and he is only in his later 30's, just a young man!), and she also has a whole passel of kids with various medical and special needs; and one of them can get sick when one least expects it, and yet she faces each crisis like an iron butterfly and somehow gets through it and comes out of it, stronger and more determined! I guess it's the Cajun bloodlines and Cajun background that we both share (we were both born in Breaux Bridge, Louisiana); but there are times when even us tough old Cajun biddies break down and we have to have a good cry or have a good, old fashioned "mad" (hissy fit), and we let loose, Cajun-style! All I can say is that things have improved markedly since she joined our team ten years ago, and she is a vital and important member of our nursing staff! I have never met anyone quite like her, and I thank God each and every day for her and her skills as a nurse!


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Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 7/13/2004
You are a wonderful educator, keep up the great work
God Bless
Michelle~
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 7/13/2004
(((karen)))

touching, beautifully penned write--well done!

(((HUGS))) and love, karla. :)
Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 7/13/2004
Very interesting one this one Karen!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Sarah Tagert 7/13/2004
Wow, a very revealing write. Interesting how you used your own name in this one. Was there a reason for it?

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