Sunday, March 18, 2012

Guest Blogger Shelia Bolt Rudesill

The adventure of my life was my forty-five year career as a nurse. Most of my stories are written about people with unreasonable hardships—the people who survived horrendous odds. I have a library of facts that begins in a Jewish nursing school on Miami Beach. An elderly mama yenta reigned as house mother in our dorm. Tuition included free lunches in the kosher cafeteria where I was introduced to matzah ball soup, latkes, blintzes, and learned the difference between water and egg bagels. On Purim the patient trays were decorated with tiny plastic wine glasses with strips of shiny purple cellophane flowing from them. It was my first look at a culture different from my own. (I later worked in a NICU in Saudi Arabia.) The first death I witnessed was a young mother with three children and a handsome husband. I’d been jealous of her. It took quite a while to be able to look at myself in the mirror after her death. I learned about misconceptions and strength of character.

Most of my career took place in pediatric wards, then Pediatric Intensive Care, and finally Neonatal ICU. I kept moving on because of grief. After six years I left pediatrics due to the high death rate caused by horrible diseases like cystic fibrosis, leukemia, brain and bone cancer as well as life threatening congenital anomalies. I learned something from every child, every family, every sibling, and every grandparent. The sick kids were the heroes. By the time I left, ever one of the children with terminal illnesses I had met the first year were dead. Every family dealt with the illness and death of their child differently and I was constantly amazed.

Things didn’t get much better in PICU. During those years I experienced every form of child abuse and neglect, dysfunctional families, and even mothers who murdered their own children. The majority of the patients in PICU suffered some form of abuse.

Perhaps my greatest classroom was the NICU. I learned about AIDS, drug and alcohol abuse, teen pregnancy, stupid or just maybe naive social workers, arrogant physicians, corrupt CEOs, misplaced loyalties, liars, back-stabbers. I met a male soldier who sat by his preemie’s bed and crocheted blankets for all the babies in the pod. I watched strong men cry. I watched friendships develop between parents and nurses and doctors.

Nursing is an adventure. It took me around the world and back. It taught me how strong and resilient even the youngest amongst us can be. For more information visit Author Page

5 comments:

  1. I like your guest blogger concept! It is nice to see other writer's thoughts..

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  2. Shelia...Thanks for sharing your adventure and truly embracing the concept of writing what you know about and peeking behind the curtain of what you know about to find the greater depth of meaning.

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    1. I blame it all on my sister, Rick! I was so affected by the people I cared for and worked with that I'd come home and tell her all sorts of stories. She'd say, "You really need to write these stories down." Well, forty years later, I did just that.

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  3. Sheila, what a heartwarming blog. Thanks for sharing your adventure. Not many people could witness all that you have and continue to be such a giving person - I call people like you saints. Judy

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    1. Thanks, Judy! Like the key line in my novel, BAGGAGE, "What is, is." We can't sit around all day and feel sorry for ourselves--we need to accept our circumstances and move forward!

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