Many of my compatriots, from all walks of the nursing profession, have histories of finding their true love in a hospital bed. But not all achieve happily ever after status. There are many failed marriages or dysfunctional pairings among caregivers.
I’ve given this a lot of thought over the years (having been there myself) and I think part of the cause for those broken relationships is the very reason we became nurses in the first place. We want to help people. We want to make things better. We look at those wonderful but flawed men who attract us like moths to a flame and just know that with enough love and understanding we can erase those flaws–or at least minimize them.
Naturally it’s much easier to see the flaws in our partners than those in ourselves. I mean, theirs are always much worse than ours, right?
I once read–don’t ask me where, it was too long ago–that men marry women expecting they will never change and women marry men expecting that they will. Both inevitably are disappointed.
Don’t misunderstand me. I don’t think it is the nurse who has no flaws and is always the heroic figure in any partnership. While he or she may be staying in what would be seen from the outside as an intolerable situation, they may be acting as an enabler and instead of helping their situation, they reinforce the very behavior they’d like to banish.
Of course there are lots of happy, healthy marriages in the medical field, and I salute those couples for the effort it took both partners to do the work and gain enough understanding of their mates to form a lasting bond. For the rest of us, though…
Patients, especially those destined for a long hospital stay, have an easy ‘in’ to our hearts as care-givers. After all this is what we trained for, right? Hopefully we can fix them. Heal them. Send them back into the world all shiny and new. Of course it doesn’t always work out that way, but that is the goal we strive for from the very first instant they become our patient.
If it turns out they have more than a simply grateful appreciation for our efforts, the professional distance we are expected to maintain becomes more difficult to achieve. And let’s face it, if the patient is a male who’s hotter than hell, and who pleads for continued visits, keeping that distance becomes an heroic struggle.
But I digress. Now that I work in nursing part-time, I also write contemporary romantic fiction. Since medicine is still dear to me, I’ve written a book titled ‘Rehab for the Heart’, which is about a woman who didn’t get the chance to make her marriage work–although it’s doubtful that more time might have made any difference.
Initially Gwen sees herself as the cause of her marriage’s catastrophic failure and so decides she’s better off single. She resists her best friend’s persistent attempts to push her back into the social scene and pours all her pent-up affection on the small menagerie she has somehow accumulated. But her resolve weakens when fate figuratively thrusts an attractive man into her path.
Thus, Nick becomes her patient following his serious auto accident.
Nick and Gwen both have trust issues burned into their hearts by former partners. Initially they are both wary, but their attraction continues to grow. Eventually Gwen succumbs to Nick’s allure then finds out it is easy to fall for a man’s charms but much more difficult to trust his motives.
Once discharged from the rehab facility, Nick is challenged to find a way to spend time with Gwen and replace his patient persona with a much more intimate one. Unfortunately his plan, developed on the spur of the moment, involves some subterfuge.
So the question for Gwen becomes: can caring for, wanting, and even loving a man be enough to bet your future on? Or is trust the key ingredient to a happy marriage?
What’s your opinion?
–Not that I haven’t used a character trait or two compiled from my thirty-plus years in the medical arena…