Even if my publishing career takes off?
Well, yeah. These past three nights on have broken me.
There is no way that I can do this indefinitely. I am actually in shape now (thanks to serious yoga) for the first time in a long time, and my back is still killing me. Every day when I wake up I feel frail -- and I am not a frail person. I try to explain to my husband what it feels like, but really there are no words. The yoga's improved my recoup time -- I feel almost human now, for instance, I'm not down for a whole day like I used to be -- but it's just too much. I need an exit plan, because I cannot do this for the next 30 years, at least not on my floor. No matter how ergonomically I work or how in shape I am, I just can't. Moving people day in and day out will destroy me, and I don't want to be in pain when I'm older.
We have this one patient who weighs over 300 lbs. I've done their dressing each time I've been on, most times more than once (because I work a 12, I get to be the dressing tech on PM shift) and for a few weeks I got to do it 3 times, because it wasn't just each shift, it was every 6 hrs...so I'd get to do it at 7 PM, midnight, and six AM. They've been with us for two months. They'll probably be with us for 3-4 months more.
I have to do it, since when you're tech that's your job, and because so many other people on my floor/weekend have back/shoulder problems (irony!) or are pregnant and have no business hauling huge people around. (We have lifts, but we can't use them because of where this person's injuries are -- and they just installed the lifts last year, heh. I think I've gotten to use them all of twice, on bariatric patients, on other floors :P.) I get to be the muscle. Which is fair, because everyone's taken turns being the muscle in the past. I just don't want to wind up on disability in the future because of it.
I remember the first time someone I knew there got hurt -- they were moving (pre-lift days) a 660 pound person. I had that person the shift after they'd had to go downstairs to emergency after something in their shoulder snapped. I went into that patient's room and they asked me to do the same thing that had gotten the nurse before me broken. She was out for a whole year, and her shoulder's never been the same.
I look around my floor. There's only one person there who is over sixty who isn't on the schedule and is just extra help. One person in their 50's. Very few in their 40s. Not like on med-surg floors. No one makes it that long here. You get broken, you get washed out.
Other friends of mine at work who are my age are trying to get into nurse anesthetist programs, or going back to school to get masters degrees, etc, so they can go into administration. I don't want to do either of those things. (And besides, unlike them, I'm just an RN, I don't have a bachelor's in it -- I'd have to do that, first, which time-wise and drive-wise I'm unwilling to do.)
I became a nurse so that I could afford to work part-time and have time to write. That part of my plan is going excellently. I just didn't realize how much I'd need the book-thing to work to save my back, heh. I want the book-thing to work. My spine need my books to work.