Supporting an extended family, my parents have had to work double shifts for as long as I can remember. As a child, I barely get to see them because they leave the house at dawn, before I wake up for school, and then they will not get home until late in the evening, after me and my brother are fast asleep. They were very hardworking and goal driven to provide a good life for me and my brother. With most of their time spent on providing for the family, my grandmother had had to take care of me and my brother as we were growing up-and SHE was wonderful.
She was just so soft and gentle, never raised a hand or voice on me and my brother. She was always there when we needed her. We shared a bed, we shared everything. We even shared a common birthday, and this is really special to me because we always celebrated together with a big bash and with all of our relatives in attendance. She was just everything to me, my cornerstone, my knight in a soft cotton dress. When she got really sick with kidney complications due to diabetes in early 2003, I really didn’t know what to make of it.
She’s always had the disease but she knows how to monitor her blood sugar levels and takes her insulin shots herself. So I kept expecting her to bounce back to her usual gaiety. I even accompany her to the dialysis center for her sessions, believing that this is just something she needs and that if we keep doing it, her health will be maintained. When it became obvious that she was having such a hard time with the dialysis, the family had to accept her decision to stop the treatment. I knew then that she will deteriorate and that the medical condition will worsen.
I just didn’t expect that she will suffer as long and as much as she did. She stayed home and we had somebody taking care of her round the clock. I know I should have been the one seeing to her needs instead of a hired help. But I just didn’t know how to handle the situation. I visited her often, talked to her, but sort of detached myself from the sickness that was taking her from me by not getting involved with her care. When she died on December 2003, I thought that I would be devastated, but the tears didn’t come until months after her burial.
With everybody in the family aware of our close relationship, they expected torrents of tears coming from me, but no one was more surprised than I was when it didn’t come as readily as it did for them. It was puzzling at first, it even made me feel guilty for a while, but I realize now that it was my way coping with the situation. After that I just kept seeing her everywhere. Every time I see an old lady crossing the street or a grandfather playing with his grandchildren on the yard, I just find myself relating to them as my grandmother.
And when I see them suffering from an illness, I just want to be the one to take care of them. This is the legacy that my grandmother left me. She might not have been responsible for my education or my bread and butter, but she gave me my heart. The compassion and respect that I have for the elders in our community is just so overwhelming and self fulfilling that I do not see myself becoming anything else but their care givers. And when I become a nurse, I plan on doing just that.
I plan to gain all the knowledge that is necessary to understand their physical and emotional condition so that I will be equipped to provide them with the best possible care. Furthermore, I also want to specialize in dialysis nursing, an area which is just as equally important to me as geriatric nursing. I believe that I have a lot to offer in both areas and whatever skills I am lacking, I am willing to acquire through further education. In the end, I just really want to share myself with them as my grandmother has shared herself with me.