Five years of yeoman service: ode to my working shoes

11-03-2013 09:52

My working shoes have been through a lot, but today after five years of work I'm going to put them in the garbage-bin 

I bought them as a second-year student: one of the "two pairs for 50 euro". They carried me when I took my first uneasy steps at the revalidation section where I started working as an assistant for basic daily care. The main reason why I was hired there was my age and my nurising internship: I had assisted with the patients' daily care for three whole days in a hospital. Despite of this impressive amount of experience, in the beginning of course I spent way too much time at every bedside: because I had forgotten to put on a compression stocking, because I slid the trousers of the good leg first so the affected leg couldn't get in anymore, because I forgot my washing cloths, because I made all clients turn around in bed for about seven times, because I didn't ask if they needed to go to the toilet before I'd help them, so I had to start again when I was just finished... 



In the first few years, my shoes only walked on the revalidation section's floor in weekends, but they was enough of a challenge for them already. Not only the many kilometers to walk left their marks on my shoes, also showerings (Nice! Letting people hold the showerhead themselves...), retchings that I didn't recognize in time, the heavy wheels of the wheelchairs, pancake batter, leaking wounds or incontinence. Luckily I could just put my working all star sneakers in the washing machine and to my surprise they always came out perfectly spotless  

A few cracks were visible on the edges of the soles when I started working a bit more. They witnessed how I learnt to turn on my compression stocking antenna while entering a room, how my beds were made less messy and how I spectacularly reduced the amount of times I had to walk back and forth aimlessly. And they tapped to the rythm of the songs that I played on my guitar on sundays at coffee time, because there wasn't much to do for the people and many of them would get bored. The singing nurse, the nurse without a pen, the nurse who was always looking for her keys and the nurse who didn't know until what time she had to work and when she'd be back again. . 

By the time I discovered the first hole in my shoe, I worked so many hours that most of the clients knew my name. I discovered that I could replenish the closets with sheets and towels myself, now and then I wrote something in the reports that could be of some use to my collegues, I resuscitated, I spoke with the people and sometimes I could even say something useful about the morning planning. Regularly I had my keys and a pen on me, and I didn't put the empty pot of applesauce on the kitchen dresser anymore because I knew where to find the bottle bank.  



A few months ago I counted the holes and I came to the conclusion that my loyal sneakers would maybe make it to the fifth year, but that I'd really have to throw them away at that pont. And it's a good moment to do so: by now I come in at time, I have a key, I sometimes help five people at the same time without complaints and my beds are made incredibly tightly :). I type requests for doctors visits, occasionally I remind one of my collegues of something that has to be done and yesterday the doctor came to me to borrow my pend... (?) My shoes do still fit, but in some way they don't anymore. 

Today there was coffee with cake to celibrate my fifth year at work. Perfectly in style: I was too late because of the snow and bus schedules, but most of my collegues had been busy just for long enough so it didn't really show. No one could find the team manager, I got chocolates and a sweet card: "eventhough we sometimes need stunts and acrobatics to make it through, with you it's always a little party" :), and I had a home made cake to avoid the hotel cake that's normally the only alternative provided. After the coffee I played some songs for the people in the living room for half an hour and I had a little chat with them before I took the bus back. I can't think of a more appropriate anniversary than this!   


This way I'd also like to say many many many thanks for all the patience and help that I received the past five years from my collegues, and for all the fun and informative moments that I think of with a smile on my face!