I've never been much of the spiritual type. Moreover, I've somewhat scoffed at people who claim to have or "understand" some alleged connection between kink and spirituality.
But I get it now.
I try not to let my two lives interconnect much. I have a tendency to drop my profession from the moment I walk out of the hospital doors. That's not to say that I don't like my job; on the contrary, I can't imagine doing anything else. I put my heart and soul into my work, I have a true passion for my practice as an RN, but once the timeclock is punched, I go home. I drop it all. I move on with my life, and, more often than not, onto kinky weekend adventures.
HIPPA says I can't talk about my work. I can understand that; I don't know that I would want my own story plastered all over the internet if I was ever in the hospital. You'll have to excuse the lack of details I can actually write about. Suffice it to say, I had a case from five or six months ago that was really tough. Dealing with life and death issues with families, i.e., the decision to continue fighting or to withdrawl support and move to comfort measures only, is usually not too emotionally draining. But never before had I seen a patient like J, so truly sad, so torn, so sorrowful that she wanted to end her life.
J wasn't getting any better. She likely would spend the rest of her life in the hospital or a nursing home. Her family loved her dearly - I could tell with everything they did. But she didn't want to live this way. And she didn't know how to tell them that. Instead, she told ME this, at 2am, alone, while she was in tears. All I wanted to do was hold her hand and cry with her, and let her know that it's alright, and I'd help her tell her family. That she needs to do what she needs to do.
But when you're the nurse, you can't cry with your patients. The moment that you shed that tear is the moment the patient, their family, and everyone they know loses faith in you, the hospital, the system, and life. The nurse is supposed to be the confident, professional, caring, intelligent beacon of HOPE. Patients and families look to nurses for direction, not for emotions. Nurses are supposed to be guardians and pathfinders.
Generally I don't get overly emotional about my work. This particular morning, I was finding it rather hard to stuff my emotions behind that wall, but I did. J's family was in the hospital around the clock. I rounded them all up, and we had a talk, right then and there, among us all in my ICU at 2:30 in the morning. I passed out kleenex like candy. I facilitated the conversation. And in the end of it all, I kept my shit together. J passed away later that day.
I never let it in. I left it all stuffed behind that wall.
Fast forward five or six months. I'm at Inferno, the annual run of the Chicago Hellfire Club. Due to....leathermen, I am not allowed to divludge many details about this event either. Looking around like a kid in a candystore, I try to think of what I want done to myself. Thoughts tumble through my head. What I want done turns into what I need done. Those bricks and concrete holding up that wall in my mind is getting rather heavy.
"I want to be flogged, Sir."
I took off my shirt and climbed up onto the St. Andrew's Cross. My Sir fitted me with wrist restraints and attached them to the top of the cross. I leaned forward, resting my chest against the wood, exposing my back to it's ensuing punishment. As the blindfold slipped down over my eyes, I thought to myself, "J, this one's for you."
It hurt like hell. He flogged and flogged. It was familiar this time, since I've had it done before. Slowly, one by one, they started to hurt enough to make me scream. Sir stopped for a moment and reached up to remove my restraints. He could tell I was getting close to my limit. "I don't want you to stop, Sir," I said.
"I don't want to break you, boy" he answered.
"I do, Sir."
He went back at it. It didn't take much more, maybe 10 or 15 cracks at the most. One last hard, loud thud against my back broke that wall crumbling down. I screamed at the bottom of my lungs as that piercing fire cinged into my back. I broke. Sir took me down from my restraints and held me. Even though I was broken, I sobbed, "I don't want you to stop." But stop we did. I cried really, really hard, for J, for myself, and for my back.
I walked through those hospital doors tonight with a renewed sense of hope. Not just for my patients, but for me.
Maybe there IS something to be said for all this spirituality crap.
My b-day pre-party and the Eagle on 9/11 were really really awesome. Thanks to everyone of my friends who made the celebration extra special. Inferno was an experience unlike any I've ever had. More details to come. It took me a while to recover from these events, so sorry for the delay.