For those who do not understand Kiswahili, the title translated is ‘Story, Story’ and ‘Hadithi Njoo’ means ‘Story come’.
Around us are special people who love to tell stories. Grandparents and god-parents. Parents. Anyone we lovingly call Auntie … or Uncle.
Tales of what it was like to be a child in the [late] 1900s. Escapades of situations they once were in. Funny stories. Sad stories. Stories loaded with wisdom. Some scary stories.
Moreover, great stories are told by gifted playwrights. Directors with a visionary eye can bring us to tears or crack our ribs and give [some of] us nightmares.
In medicine, there are inevitably stories everywhere. All you need to do is get into the life of any student during their ward rotations and lectures.
In first year, lecturers would give us teasers to what goes on in hospital by sharing their, hopefully, true stories.
“In the end, my patient had to have a facial surgery.”
“This is what can happen if you, as a nurse, are ignorant of potassium levels …”
“I have seen some strange things on the operating table…”
“…because of that tragic incident…”
“Be careful when you stop on man-hole covers. I once had a patient who did this and…”
Throughout the following years [of life really], the same goes on. However, we start to be witnesses as we walk through wards. We see for ourselves the details of diseases that were described in class. In hospital we are put under experienced nurses. They too have their stories. The countless times they had to think at insane speed to save a patient’s life. The peculiar incidents that have landed a patient in their care. Sad stories of mistreatment and times when they lost a patient. Incidents of disrespect that infuriate you… I have come to deeply treasure such for the lessons I have drawn from them. My views have been changed and my vision has been broadened.
“SAY OUR STORY”
In my first article, a lady and remarkable nurse I can dearly call “Auntie” encouraged me by saying, “we don’t always tell our story, don’t stop there.” This statement immediately had me thinking, “Why not? Why don’t nurses share their stories?” Many people know nurses as individuals who are mean and easily angered. If that is not the case, they are seen as meek angels who serve the patient and next to the doctor have no say of their own.
Nurses get tired [Surprise!]. Nurses working in the public sector often have more than 50 patients they have to care for. They do feel pain when they lose a patient. Nurses’ shoes pinch them sometimes. Their heels hurt and their hearts ache. There are days when they think they could have done more…
But they will be at the nurses desk during visiting hours to answer your questions. They will sit down with relatives and explain the medical condition of their loved one. Nurses will lobby for the prompt treatment of their patients. They will change the linen and give the drugs. They will be kind but firm with patients just to see them recover.
BUT… I’M NOT A NURSE
Stories are everywhere and in every one of us. Therefore, why don’t we share? Is it that we are waiting for something BIG and DRAMATIC to happen to us? Are we afraid that by sharing some of the experiences we have gone through, we subject ourselves to the cruel scrutiny of the world’s keen eyes? Withal, do we hold back from expressing ourselves because we are afraid we do not know how to?
We cannot claim that stories are a thing of generations past. Proof: Tap on Instagram, Pinterest, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook, even Telegram. Social media today is based on the ability to share stories. You may not write but you draw or compose music or play an instrument or thrive in photography or are a brilliant comedian. Your skill may be in cinematography or simple eloquence. The point is, there is always a way to share your story.
Your story will: Encourage someone. Heal someone. Inspire someone. Teach someone. Entertain someone. Correct someone. Direct someone.
If you do not tell your story, who will?