Tie my hands by CJ Calliero

CJ CallieroTie my hands.

Tie them tight. Tie them behind my back so I can’t do anything else. Tie them so I am useless. So I am ineffective. So that I cannot do my job. Use zip ties or rope. It still hurts the same. My wrists will be okay, but my heart will break.

Tie my hands.

It’s so frustrating, how many times I have to use that expression. “My hands are tied.” It means that I have nothing left to do. My hands cannot help you even though I am here, living, breathing, and capable. I can’t do a damn thing for your suffering. I can’t save you. I can’t fix you.

My hands are tied.

It happens at work. I can’t obtain an order that a patient or a family desperately wants. I plead and beg upon their behalf. I get my ass chewed over and over again. But I get refused. I’m not trying to say that all doctors are terrible. I’m not trying to say they are cruel by not giving in. What I’m saying is that sometimes, over the phone, they don’t grasp the situation. They can’t see it. They don’t see the pain, the fear. They don’t feel the helplessness that I do (granted there are some that do because they wade through the trenches with me and together we both fail).

Sometimes my hands are tied when they shouldn’t be. Sometimes they’re tied because there is simply nothing left to do. They both suck, but it’s the latter that breaks my heart more than the former. The former only turns me into a rage monster. But having nothing left to do, well that breaks a little part of my heart.

Yes. My heart breaks for people that a complete strangers to me. My heart breaks for people that I may only take care of for a few hours. It breaks, and it breaks over and over again. Because I want to do something. I want to try something. That’s why I am who I am, because I HAVE to help. But when I’ve tried every drug and method at my disposal, there’s nothing else I can do.

You might as well tie my hands as tight as you can behind my back.

But even without them, I still can’t stop caring. I still can’t stop trying other things.

I hate watching. I hate not being able to do anything. And it doesn’t just apply to work. It applies all over the place in my life. It applies to friendships I’ve fought hard to save. Things that I gave every effort to fix, but now they’re still crumbling before my very eyes. I’m out of options. There’s nothing more that I can do especially not when I’m getting hurt in the process.

My hands are tied.

My heart breaks. But I don’t stop fighting, especially not at work. With my hands tied so firmly behind my back, I give the rest of my energy. I give everything I have left.

And you wonder why I cry in the shower sometimes after work.

It’s the reality of it. The grim face of real life.

I’ve been a nurse for 10 months. I have cried several times. I have fought hard with and for my patients. In 10 months I have learned so much about myself and the world. I’ve had some of the best conversations at 3 in the morning. I’ve given advice and I’ve taken it from people who have many years on me. I’m learning to do more, even when my hands are tied. Because there’s always something left to do.

Even if it’s as simple as holding someone’s hand.

I will not be useless.

CJ Calliero is a newly qualified nurse from the United States. You can find her blog at http://misscalliero.wordpress.com/


One thought on “Tie my hands by CJ Calliero

  1. HI CJ,

    As a nurse myself I absolutely can relate to your article (as I’m sure can many others from all areas of health and social care). It’s both interesting and a little depressing to see that our American cousins fare no better than we do in UK when it comes to workload and the frustrations of ‘the job’.

    Thanks for letting us publish this in Care To Share.


    Stuart (Ed)

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