The commute

She got in the car weary from another week at the frontline of NHS mental health care and muttered a quick prayer thankful for the strength to have made it to Friday once again. She used to refuse to say the term ‘front line’ as we weren’t at war but goodness some days this feels like war now, front line captures those clinicians wearing their NHS armour to help them protect themselves which in turn allows them to protect others.

Once in the car the radio goes on (along with the air con on full) and she tries to sing the day away, she has had some bad news today so that isn’t easy. Thoughts of each person she has met are punctuated with the drive time presenter introducing the next song or sharing a brain teaser which distracts her momentarily. What is the link between those words? Oh heck red light must stop!

Wow she is half way home, autopilot do you reckon? Her mind is going as fast as her driving; what will she cook for dinner? What’s her daughters school report like? Is it even today its due? Heck, did she write up that phone call that she fitted in earlier because she didn’t want that person to feel unsupported but simply couldn’t fit a visit in. She is bound to have written it up but wonders whether to turn the laptop on and check when she gets home? Bad idea, once it is on…

Her commute is long, up to an hour, but that time is precious. Her commute is time to process the day and plan for the next. Today she wonders what Monday will bring? Calm or chaos? She doesn’t mind really she just wants to help, she wants to support people the way they supported her when she was poorly.

Her husband rings, can she stop for veg on the way home? She quietly thinks hmmmm she could stop for wine (and veg!) so agrees readily. She looks around the supermarket and wonders if everyone else has had a commute like hers or if this is a commute special to CPN’s? Does everyone else worry on their way home about that phone call they wish they made or the conversation that didn’t feel right?

She didn’t relate to many people in that supermarket at all; nursing is an absolute privilege. And supporting people as a CPN well there isn’t a word for that.

And home, key in the front door, pick up the post (fingers crossed no speeding fine!) and the nurse is not left behind the door but certainly hung up with the coats until Monday. She is mum. She is wife. She is friend. She is Sunday school teacher. Like a stick of rock though cut her in half and it says nurse and come Monday she will hop in the car, turn on the radio and head in fresh to do it all again.

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