We all know that nothing on TV is real. Even those ubiquitous so-called reality TV shows, game shows, documentaries, not even the news. *sigh*
Everything is just so easily manipulated and crafted to make you believe what you want to see and hear and feel. What the public wants, the public gets. If you want blood, you get blood and gore. If you want sensational news, you got it! However, sorry, this is not going to be a political or a current events post. My blog is not the platform for that kind of nonsense. You all know me better than that.
For the past couple of days, I have been compelled to write about a TV series I discovered on Netflix that I have recently watched and felt a strong connection to. Let’s get it out in the open first. I rarely watch TV. In fact, I’d rather read or be on my computer than sit in front of that wide screen absent-mindedly flicking channels with the remote control. That is my hubby. He can be mesmerized by a TV ad, stop mid sentence and forget that I am in the same room with him while I am a totally non-TV person at all. Yes, we are complete opposites.
So what is this fascination about a Netflix TV series?
I don’t “Netflix and chill” like most young people do these days. (Errr, or is it just young people?) You have to click on the link if you don’t know what Netflix and chill means!!! I admit I misunderstood its meaning at first until a 15 year old boy corrected me. Oh dear…
Anyway, I got addicted, so to speak, to the TV series Nurse Jackie. I have heard of this show sporadically from nurses and friends, but I didn’t really take a keen interest on it that time. I had it grouped together with the likes of Grey’s Anatomy or House MD, which I watched the first few seasons of and then lost all interest.
To make this long story short, Jackie is a seasoned ER nurse in New York City who is battling drug addiction. She is a really great nurse but sucks in all other aspects of her life. Her husband, children, co-workers, lovers and friends are all victims to her lies and manipulation. Boy, does she make one really good liar! I am not an expert in addiction so I am leaving out my opinions and just telling it like the TV show does. So I binge watched all seven seasons in just about two weeks. How is that for addiction! Ha!
In several episodes, it shows her caring greatly for the homeless, the drunk and the drug addicts. She bathed a homeless and alcohol-abusing former nun and in the last episode of the final season, she washed the feet of a heroine addict. There’s lots of allegories here but of course, this was not without her gaining anything from doing these things. You can almost say that she was selfless and selfish at the same time. Well, I would say mostly selfish.
But what am I getting at? I have been a nurse for almost ten years. I have seen, heard and done stuff that most of you would not want to see, hear nor do. Blood, sweat, tears, urine, poop, mucus , vomit do not faze me anymore. I will take that than dealing with homeless people, drug addicts and ETOH’ers anytime.
Why do I say that? Aren’t nurses supposed to treat everyone equally with compassion and respect? In a perfect world, yes. The truth is, being in this profession can make you jaded and cynical and tired after seeing and dealing with these kinds of people. They know the system. After being in several different hospitals countless times, they know how to manipulate and make the system work in their favor. They know how to push your buttons (not just the call button). They know how to make your shift hell. And I am ashamed to say, I was becoming that jaded, cynical and tired nurse.
I stopped looking at them like persons. I stopped listening to them. As long as they got their drugs as ordered by the doctor, tried my best to make them happy by giving them food and warm blankets (with patient satisfaction scores in mind), I was okay with that. In the end, I stopped caring.
But Nurse Jackie undid all of that for me. I know it was just a TV show and I told you in the beginning that they aren’t real. Yet, somehow, it stuck in my subconscious. I recently had a patient who was a polysubstance abuser and a “frequent flyer” (one who likes to visit the hospital frequently) and instead of going through my usual motions when dealing with these kinds of patients, I realized I had a breakthrough moment when I was talking to him. I empathized with him, thought about his situation, gently and thoroughly applied ointment to his leg wounds, kindly offered him snacks the way I would with my other patients and actually looked him in the eye! I was so surprised at myself that night! I couldn’t stop and think about what Nurse Jackie would do in this situation. I know, it is just a TV show…
One that actually influenced me to change my behavior to a positive one. One that made me realize how everyone’s story is different and that we have no right to judge. One that unsuspectingly dismantled my cloak of cynicism and refreshed my tired jaded eyes. Yes, I am that much affected over a TV show.
In a good way.