The Conundrum of Consent, Care, and Disability
Emily Wolinsky

I love your attitude and writing style. I’ve been a nurse in one way or another for 25 years, from nurse aide to nurse practitioner, so I don’t know exactly what you feel, but I surely know how you feel. You may not always feel buoyant and funky, but a positive view point is vital. I teach my patients about what I call Mental Hygiene. It’s important for everyone, but more so with people with lesser advantages and greater challenges. Fight negativity with everything you have, because it can literally make the difference between life or death.

It’s not just vital for you, but it’s vital for us too. Nursing and other forms of healthcare can be very grim. Truly caring for people can be grueling and take a lot out of us. Although most of us don’t suffer to the extent that our patients do, most of us genuinely love them. It maybe a small or tremendous amount, but my heart breaks everyday and has so for over 25 years.

My father was diagnosed with gastric and esophageal cancer several months ago. Like you, he is effervescent and gregarious. He resolved himself upon the diagnosis that he would try his best to love people and brighten their day. He respectfully flirts with the females. He ribs and encourages the males. Although he is survival for now is completely dependent on others, he has chosen to serve others in the midst of his suffering. This instills a since of duty and purpose that helps his mental health and effects his physical health in remarkable ways as well.

People like you and him mean so much to those of us who provide care. Sometimes, that one patient that makes us laugh changes the trajectory of how we care for people for the rest of our lives. Those ripples of positivity continue on from person to person in countless ways.

You are my hero. Thank you for your service. I pray you continue to kick ass for decades to come.