Over the past several days since returning home to Charleston after my ‘Last Hoorah,’ communication and it’s importance has come up for me several times.

No one is a mind reader. We all know that and yet we still expect some people to know what we are feeling or why we choose certain actions.If you want your feelings to be known then use your words. Realize that the reaction you receive may not be what you want. But we don’t know unless we try. Have patience and be open minded to others opinions and views.

Since returning to Charleston, recovery has been slow but I am up and about. Yesterday was my first day back to work and in the back of my mind I had a feeling that it was going to be a difficult day for many reasons. Only a week post-op and I was going to pull a twelve hour shift on my feet. Call me crazy, I know.

Only four hours into the work day and I was beyond uncomfortable. Determined not to let that get in the way of helping the patients and their families, I kept my calm and continued on. When my boss came onto the unit she took one look at me and the expression on her face was one of utter confusion. Considering the amount of bruising and the ridiculous bandages on my arms to cover the scars, I can see why. She had completely forgotten that last week was my surgery. With the amount of chaos on our floor lately, I can completely understand.

She then asked my favorite question, “How are you doing?” Now the old Kristen would have simply smiled and said, “Fine.” But she deserved to know what was really going on so I told her; I was hurting, a lot. Looking ahead to Thursday and Friday, I wasn’t sure that I was going to be able to work two back to back twelve hour shifts. Her response was not what i had expected or feared. The result: I got Thursday off AND rather than use all of my vacation time I was able to use my extended sick leave. Who knew!?

Withholding my pain and discomfort from my friends and family is also something I was very good at (notice my past tense). After this last procedure I made it a point to be clear with how I have been feeling; even it meant feeling truly sad when I had to drop my mom off at the airport and bursting into tears in front of all of my friends at the Homewood Suites in West Palm Beach. It happened. But I allowed those feelings of sadness in and then they left. A couple hours later, I had a (true) smile on my face.

Today, start communicating your feelings and needs and then continue to do so. It makes a difference. Promise 🙂


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