The Country Club

By Debbie Moore-Black, RN

If mommie dearest only knew.

Here I was sitting in the banquet room. A room full of retired nurses celebrating with upper management. They were praising us for our retirement. Praising us for our blood, sweat and tears, massive overtime hours with little to none potty breaks., praising us for our missed time with our family like Christmas and Easter and Thanksgiving to name a few.

It was nice.

Waiters, with their white gloves serving us tea and coffee and a fine meal with adorable desserts on the side. Crystal chandeliers hanging above at each table.
A long termed chaplain to pray over our food.
A Senior Vice President cheering us on.

It was nice.

But maybe I’m what Prince use to sing:
Maybe I’m just like my mother… she’s never satisfied…
Mommie dearest use to call this Country club: “The blue bloods”
Dad moved up the corporate ladder. We had the big house. And the lake house and boat. And the private school.
What we didn’t have was the acknowledgment of alcoholism, as daddy eventually became a non-functioning alcoholic.
Mother would have done anything to be a member of this elite country club…

As this upper echelon group talked to us praising us, they interjected how we could volunteer to help the nurses in the hospital like give out dinner trays to the patients, assist in feeding some of the patients, assist in turning and repositioning patients…. And loads of other “opportunities” to volunteer for the corporation. The list was endless.

It was nice.

As they each gave their speech, my mind drifted off…..
How I was so tainted by several hospital systems. How I dedicated 46 years of my life to nursing. Emergency Department Nursing, Surgical/PACU Nursing, Surgical Trauma ICU, ICU, CCU, Behavioral Health Nursing…

Nurses week would come and go every year. And we were honored by a cookie, shoestrings, a rock, half eaten pizza, lifesavers….

I reflected back on all of my trauma and triumphs during this career.

Management attempting to write me up for calling out sick while my husband was dying,
because I had to call out sick frequently before leave of absence was initiated for me.

Mandatory overtime.

During Covid there was nurse desperation, while travel nurses were paid over $100/hour, we were offered an extra $5/hour… maybe.
My list is long.

There was sadness in my heart.
Sadness for the little old lady in ICU who lived on borrowed time but wanted to teach me how to knit. And so she did.

Holding the hand of a near catatonic mother as she starred at her dead daughter in ICU who had just plumaged 5 stories to her death.

The mother that called me relentlessly of her son paralyzed from the neck down. Drugs and no seat belt.

The little 6 year old girl brought into the ER. Long blonde hair with eyes black as coal. Catatonic after being molested by her momma’s boyfriend. While momma was out playing bingo. My heart shred as I still tremble inside.

Or the time a daddy that had a near fatal heart attack, but survived from a CABG and ECMO and cardiac rehabilitation. Survived in time to walk his pride and joy, his daughter, down the aisle on her wedding day.
My list is long.

I have survived any tragedy that comes with nursing.
The good nurses. The bad nurses. The bullies. The good management and the bad management.
I am a survivor. I am resilient.
But I am human.

Thank you for this fine meal.
The memories will always be engraved in my head.

I was escorted out to my car by an attendant.
A beautiful bouquet of flowers in my hand.
A lifetime of memories.
And yes…. I will “volunteer” for your corporation…. For $50/hour not including differential.

Mommie dearest would have been jealous that my final destination in nursing was…
The Country Club!!!!
It was nice.

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