There are firsts for everything and today, actually last night and this morning, was my very first last day on an assignment. Northern Navajo Medical Center sees so many travelers it is a wonder that they allow themselves to like or get attached to anyone coming through. With that in mind, I feel privileged to have had the chance to get to know and be encouraged by so many of the staff who work in Labor and Delivery. The shift started off on a busy note, as I had a fresh delivery and a triage pt. It was plenty to keep the minute hand on the clock moving at a pretty good clip, which I appreciated very much, as I was a tad on the tired side and find it much easier to be busy than to fight sleepiness all night. We snuck in a group photo for my “trip” memory book. I don’t think the ladies at work will mind if I share it.
A multip walked in shortly after I finished getting caught up from the first part of the shift, even though she wasn’t mine, it provided an opportunity to be helpful and do something to keep the tired eyes at bay. This night had both come too soon and not quickly enough, and it was going by too fast and dragging along. I found myself both ready for the next adventure and knowing that the new friendships that I valued here won’t be able to come with me to the next place, making me want to drag my feet and take in each moment for at least two or three. Barb surprised me with a beautiful necklace which will always remind me of my time at Shiprock, NNMC, and the Navajo people. I wore it all night.
As morning drew closer my carpooling buddy, Valerie, asked if she could take me to breakfast, which sounded like a great idea to me. The mommy delivered, we rushed around being all efficient and focused, and every once in a while the midwife that was on would note, when I set out to find the answer to a question she would ask, you probably don’t really need to know for your last three hours of working here. What a thought. This is over just as abruptly as it started. The shift drew to a close, and I gave report for the last time. Can I really be not coming back tomorrow? Next week? The manager had filled out a performance evaluation for me and noted that I was welcome to extend and that they would love to rehire me back anytime. Chad and I have talked about that possibility, but since we are travel nursing to travel with the kids as part of their education, we really feel like we need to move on at least for a few more assignments, but possibly returning in a year or so. Report was over, Valerie turned to me and asked if I was ready for breakfast. I most definitely was after having a busy night to work up an appetite. I followed her into the break room to grab my lunch bag out of the fridge and….surprise!
The unit had planned a surprise goodbye party/breakfast for the end of my last shift. Really? For me? I couldn’t believe it, Valerie that little trickster was totally in on it. I was all the sudden glad I didn’t ask her why she brought 1 1/2 dozen eggs to work.
(Kelly hiding behind the lid to the hash browns)
Thank you Shiprock (NNMC) L&D for everything!
It was fun to eat and joke in the break room for the next hour with the mostly day shift and providers who were there to party with us, and I left feeling thankful, loved, and sad all at the same time. The drive home was uneventful, besides the constant reminder that I should have heeded my bodies warning and gone to the bathroom before leaving the hospital, so when we got to Valerie’s house she offered her restroom and I totally took her up on it. When I came out of the bathroom she was burning some cedar and gave me a Navajo blessing with the smoke as well has a pot/vase as a goodbye gift.
We hugged goodbye a couple times as we talked and encouraged each other in life and in striding towards our goals. I got in my car and turned towards home and it dawned on me that I did not pray a blessing over Val. Lord bless Val and keep her, make your face to shine upon her. Thank you for bringing her into my life. The two or three blocks to my apartment were quick. I was glad to see my family and tell them about my day.
Chad was already knee deep in packing.