Blurred Lines


More times than I would have liked, I have been cast into the role of oncology RN for family friends or close neighbors. I have always prided myself on my adherence to HIPAA (aka TZL: Tightly Zipped Lip).

Today, the tables were turned a bit on me. I attempted to take a mid-morning break from my nursing duties and enjoy a quiet hour of sipping my 64 oz radiopaque contrast medium.

I was settled into my waiting room chair, novel in my lap, when into the otherwise empty room walked the spouse of one of my patients. As I was taking my first dram, our eyes met; the day was taking an unexpected turn.


There was a moment of confusion; I was dressed in a vintage PBS t-shirt and craft fair scarf. But my casual dress was not a deterrent, nor was the conspicuous hospital ID band around my wrist. This family knew me, trusted me, relied on me. Their loved one was in for a 90 minute diagnostic evaluation prior to Radiation and Chemotherapy planning, and there I was. Alone in the room, there was no escape, and really: no need. I sipped, we chatted. I comforted, and in doing so was in an odd way comforted myself.

I kept the normal boundaries; I was there for a medical exam of my own, but no details were disclosed. The focus was on my patient’s family. It’s Christmas time, for fuck’s sake. Cancer never takes a break. Nor does Crohn’s disease, I suppose.

Here’s wishing a good night’s sleep to them, and to myself. Hoping for speedy and optimal test results, and adequate insurance coverage.
#fuckcancer #fuckcrohn’s  #empathy #livingwithit







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