I was 18 when I first began my Nursing Career. So young and very naive about the world and all it can throw.

During that time I witnessed horrible things and absolute miracles. Experienced heartfelt sorrow and wide-eyed wonderment. Watched as parents suffered watching their sick and irreparably damaged children and fed elderly people gruel and wiped their faces of spit and snot.

I saw people die – babies as well.

Asked about photos beside the elderly women’s beds wondering who they were and discovering that the beautiful, graceful woman dancing for the camera was the same as the wizened old woman now bedridden and in constant pain and confusion.

I shaved old men’s faces and wiped food from their chins, put their dentures in for them.

I fought with Doctors and Senior Nurses, worked in eye surgery with Prof Fred Hollows, witnessed a sex change operation and saw a 7yr old girl die from rape injuries.

It was amazing and sits at the core of who I am and what I believe in.

But I will never work in another hospital again….ever.

There is one thing that is missing in the hospital system and it’s not caring and it’s not knowledge. It’s giving the people, the patients, the knowledge to help themselves.

This was at a time when my 6 kids were still very young and my stress levels were going through the roof. Learning about what was causing my ailments brought to the fore the lack of basic knowledge for the patients.

work in a hospital

I would see kids and adults come in with thrush throughout their body which is an indicator that something just isn’t right. The magic pill would come out to get rid of it which would be washed down with the exact foods the thrush is feasting on.

The same thing with young kids suffering brutal gastro bugs. Given sweet drinks and biscuits – exactly what the body is trying to get get rid of.

There seemed to be no one listening to what was going on here, witnessing obvious discrepancies in common sense. It was one-sided towards the magic pill or injection or X-ray or anything else they could find except the obvious.

They ate rubbish old dried out food with plastic butter and sugar-filled jam, scrambled eggs made out of a giant tin of yellow powder, the cheapest and harshest coffee possible, dinner and lunch consisted of sandwiches, pasta, dried out meat and soggy veggies. And of course the sweet biscuits, jelly, weird wobbly desserts and occasionally a piece of fruit.

I listened to a lecture today by Geena Roth and one of the things that stood out for me was

The way you eat is the way you live. The food on your plate is what you believe about nourishment, shame, joy, self-trust and how much is enough

Geena Roth

I watched people come and go for 15 years.

They would come in very, very sick. Drips would be put in, Peritoneal Dialysis would be commence for those who’s kidneys had failed, Cardiac Catheters would be prescribed for kids with pulmonary edema, X-rays, Pet Scans, bed-rest, ecgs’ would be done, lumbar punctures performed, restricted diets of only white food or protein diets or salt free and of course more pills.

They would get better and be well enough to go home.

Two months later they would return worse than when they arrived last time.

This cycle of bad to better to worse to bad to better to worse again continued until they simply died — and not one word was ever uttered about the importance of food, the importance of joy and love, the importance of fun and laughter, the importance of looking inside. No one ever asked them how they felt or what they wanted. My job as a nurse was to serve the Drs orders and make sure they didn’t die on my watch.

It was a brutal way to learn about life, death and loss of choice.

There were people who were surrounded by love, joy and laughter – in-spite of crap food – and recovered from absolutely impossible situations. For example the young man who had a horrific brain injury, couldn’t speak or move was surrounded every day – EVERY day by family who told jokes around his bed. This man’s first response took weeks and it was a smile.

He smiled, then laughed, then opened his eyes, fed himself, got angry, cried, learned how to speak again and last time I saw him he was walking one of the roads in the hospital with people who loved him so much they believed he could recover even though an entire Temporal Lobe was gone from his brain.

Witnessing these things – and there are so many more occasions – how on earth could I turn my back on the important things in life. The true reasons we live, the habits we form, hates and criticisms that overwhelm our common-sense can be overcome and the reality that we are in charge of our life.

There are time when we do sabotage it and we also create the wonderfully impossible.

The duality of existence.

What I learned from the hospital system is.

  • We all have our own truths and mine might be different to yours – if fact, I’m sure it is.
  • There is no one rule that fits all. We all feel differently and have unique ways to help ourselves.
  • The answer really does come from within
  • Clean food, lots of vegges and getting away from the habits of a lifetime isn’t easy, but so worth it when improving your health.
  • People want to be heard, they have a story to tell and a life that’s been amazing. Yes, that’s every person including you!
  • Depression and anxiety comes from our environment, our expectations, habits and our fears as does high blood pressure often.
  • A hospital is a great place to be when things really go wrong because it can save your life, you just don’t want to make it a habit.

Originally published on WholeFoodAlchemy.com because I LOVE what I do – stay well!