Let me start this one by saying Lia is going to have a special place in my heart for as long as I live, long after I am no longer her Nurse. I know, boundary issues. But it is what it is.
I can’t say that our relationship was love at first sight, because it wasn’t. Or maybe it was, and I just didn’t know it at the time. Kind of like that one scene in Twilight (I’m not a fan, I just happened to be watching with someone else, so I can’t remember names, and I don’t care enough to look them up), anyway, that one scene where WolfGuy is going in to terminate VampBaby, but ends up looking into VampBaby’s eyes and he imprints on her. That one look, and he is compelled to do whatever it takes to serve her and protect her.
When I arrived at her house, Lia was sitting on the sofa in what I would later learn is her favorite position – the full lotus. When Mom introduced us, Lia didn’t respond, she just did this little tic thing where her hands shot up near her face – palms out, thumbs forward, and the dorsals next to her cheeks, but not quite touching. I had read in her chart that she was nonverbal, so I wasn’t really expecting her to say anything. And then she looked at me. I was immediately struck by her big brown eyes and blurted out, “She’s beautiful! Look at how beautiful her eyes are.”
While Mom gave me the 411 on all of Lia’s problem areas, and the things I would need to watch for, Lia just sat there, like she was taking everything in and waiting to see where it would lead. I can almost imagine that she was thinking something along the lines of, “Another one. Let’s see how long this one sticks around.”
As Mom continued to speak, an auditory Tag Cloud appeared out of nowhere and I started to hear tags like “scratches”, “hits”, “tantrum”, “throws her bowl”, “control”, “poke your eye”, “wets”, “vomits”, and my head started to spin a little. What on earth had I gotten myself into? I have a very low tolerance for bad behavior in children, and I was about to spend the next seven hours with this one. Have mercy!
That’s what was going through my mind when Mom said, “Do you think you’ll be OK with her?”
To which I replied, “Don’t worry, we’ll be fine.” I am an experienced healthcare professional, I got this.
I will share more details of that first day with Lia in a future post. For now, let’s just say that by the end of my shift I was physically and emotionally drained. I had every intention of calling my scheduler as early as possible on Monday morning to let her know that I wouldn’t be able to help with this case after all. That whole low tolerance for bad behavior thing. After only seven hours with her, I could not imagine myself coming back for more.
I would soon learn that I was not the first to feel this way about working with Lia, nor would I be the last. In retrospect, I can’t help but wonder how this made her feel, to have so many people show up and then leave, never to grace her presence again.
I wish she had the words to tell me, but she’s nonverbal… supposedly.