I do wish Tank was here. I could use a could joke right about now.
We need to pray ya heard! God is telling us to wake up world! I believe there is a bigger message beneath COVID-19. I’m a big believer in prayer, I have battle wounds, but I’m still standing. Long-suffering is my assignment. This is what I have learned through my storms. I have learned we can’t choose our battles, but we can be content in any state we find ourselves in. To be happy is a choice, and I chose to be happy, even if things don’t go the way I planned.
We nurses also have an assignment, we took and oath to never abandon our patients and above all “do no harm.” If we can’t do anything to help our patients, then we certainly shouldn’t do anything to hurt them.
My daddy always said I cared too much. It’s probably how I got into nursing. I miss him so much, but I don’t have enough room to talk about how much he meant to me. I figured for this space, I wanted to tell you about my brother. Lord knows, between my daddy and my brother, there’s enough love and suffering to last two lifetimes.
I started as a nurse almost 11 years ago.
I come from a good family. Sometimes in New Orleans even the families who “made it” get caught up in things they shouldn’t. My dad and mom are college educated, we lived in a nice house.
But, my brother got caught up with the things he shouldn’t have. I don’t even want to say it, but the things you’re thinking are probably correct and what I’m about to tell you is what you’re probably thinking too.
That doesn’t make it any easier.
He got shot, I helped take care of him. The bullet paralyzed him. He was my baby brother, and y’all, what will family do for one another? Anything. I know it, I lived it. My baby brother’s paralyzed and every day is a struggle, he’s gotta shower, he has bed wounds so you get comfortable with the uncomfortable real quick. He ended up passing away peacefully three years ago surrounded by his family.
We called him Tank. He was so funny. A classic joker, comedian. He has one of those smiles. You know the ones. It took up half his stupid face when he’d crack up at his own jokes.
If he was alive right now he’d be knocking me for sure: “Chantrel, you book smart, you ain’t street smart.”
But, he never saw me at work. I am street and book smart, and I’m notorious. I’m notorious because I care so much, and nurses like me? We serve people because we’re doing something bigger than ourselves. I am notorious for challenging physicians on behalf of my patient, but all in love cause I care and try to question when something is not right. I challenge all nurses to do the same. We are their advocates and sometimes their only voice, so we have a higher calling to be a voice to the voiceless. At the end of the day I have a conscience and the big Man upstairs is always watching. And at the end of this journey I want my mansion, robe and crown.
Now, with COVID-19, there's more tragedy. In 10 years, I've never seen anything like this in the ICU. I’ve never seen the severity of an illness like this. But once I'm there, I feel like I have a job to do. So, I'm driven by taking care of these people. I think my love and desire for wanting to care for patients overrides the fear. This is very fitting, the scripture says, perfect love cast out fear, 1John 4:18. We took an oath.
We’re experiencing a long suffering now.
What’s it mean to me? We’ll suffer long enough to understand the message God wants us to learn. We gotta be patient, because we don’t know what’s next. It’s a long suffering, and the time we have our hope might dwindle.
We might struggle with our faith, but we must remain steadfast in the suffering. The hope and the faith will be re-kindled, as long as we lift up our eyes to the hills, which cometh our help, our help comes from the Lord- Psalm 121:1.
I do wish Tank was here though. I could use a could joke right about now.
I gotta also give a shout out to my Tulane Family, each and everyone of you, you know who you are. You helped me bear these burdens and you also felt my pain, my family’s pain. I am forever indebted to you.
Chantrel Reimoneq Gauthier