On occasions I really miss the person I used to be.
When I was a child I was fearless. If I wanted something nothing stood in my way. I had no mental barriers telling me I couldn’t. No thoughts which urged caution. For me the way was simple. Yes you can.
But I wonder?
Today I think before I act. I wonder is it worthwhile? What will others think? Should I?
Is it the right thing to do?
The more I think the more likely I am to do nothing.
Maybe it is a safe way to get through life but it sure is very different to how I used to be.
I miss the old me.
I remember as a twenty year old coming home from work. I was a student nurse at the time. My father was dying from Motor Neurone Disease and was very unwell. His temperature was high and he had a chest infection.
My father had had to have surgery to implant a tube in his windpipe so he could breathe properly. A tracheostomy. However he could cover it and talk. We had had many discussions about his illness and his dying. The one promise I had made is that I would ensure he could stay at home.
This particular day as I arrived home I realised we were in the middle of a crisis. My Dad was very unwell. He was unable to cough effectively as his chest was slowly becoming paralysed. All part of the disease. As a result he was very congested. He urgently needed a suction machine. We had applied for one but had not managed to get one.
I was enraged. If I could get a suction machine Dad could stay at home. To make matters worse my Mum told me Dad was to be admitted. A new public health nurse was returning within the hour to reassess him and would call an ambulance if he was no better.
I went into my Dad, but he was gasping. His colour was dreadful and his chest was bubbling. I kissed his forehead and in a moment of clarity I knew what I had to do.
Without thinking I roared to my mother as I left the house, that I’d be back soon. I went out and I remember slamming the door very very loudly. My mum came running after me, asking me what was I going to do? I said with certainty “I’m getting Dad a suction machine”. My Mum looked at me and said “Patricia”. A name she calls me when she is exasperated or mad at me. I will leave you imagine her tone of voice. She, however, was unable to stop me.
I arrived at the hospital about a half an hour later and my feelings were unchanged. I had had no second thoughts, no wondering what to do, no caring what others might think.
Without an appointment I knocked and walked into the Matrons office. It caused a bit of a stir but she agreed to see me. Did I want to sit down? No definitely not. I had no time for chit chat. I told her straight out I needed a suction machine and I needed it now.
As I think back to that moment I sometimes smile, at other times I cringe. We were a very busy hospital. All suction machines were badly needed and were hospital property. However I saw none of that. My Dad was drowning and I was not ready to lose him.
She asked me to wait outside. I looked at her and said, “If you don’t get me one I’ll find someone who will”. She held my hand and said she’d make a phone call.
Five minutes later I walked out of the hospital with a suction machine. I can remember my mothers reaction a half an hour later when I arrived home with it. I think she was convinced I had robbed it!
The hospital never once asked me to return it. My Dad recovered from that infection without a hospital admission and lived for quite a number of months afterwards, thanks to the matrons generosity.
As I think recall that impulsive, nothing would stand in my way, devil may care girl, I wonder where she went?
She was definitely a handful. But I can’t help missing her.
Older and wiser? I’m not sure. Just a lot more cautious. A little more careful, and certainly a lot less spirit.
Maybe it comes to us all?