“How was your day?”
This is the simple question that my family asks me every day when I arrive home from work. It’s a tradition, to ask this of each other; just something simple we do to show our concern for each other.
Unfortunately, that simple question never has a simple answer in my case. How was my day? Long story or short?
I was cussed at, called a “dirty son of a bitch” by a woman who is convinced I kidnapped her from her parents…that’s bad. I was told by another resident that I am an angel sent from God to ease her final days…so that’s great. Said resident is dying…that’s not so great. I didn’t get to Mr. S before he soaked his pants and got fussed at…not good. We had enough staff today…that’s nice.
When I run through the list of all the details that made up my day, they fall into two categories: good and bad. Most days, it’s a pretty even blend of “this is why I’m an aide” and “oh God, why me?”
But even labeled like that, it’s not really a spread sheet or a scale into which I dump everything and see if the good outweighs the bad. The details are just fragments waiting for a form. What determines if my day was good or not are the impressions, the emotions I pick up and the emotions I put out.
Used to be, my day was more colored by the emotions of others and even now I’m still highly sensitive. The moods of others still affect me strongly…but after several years on the job, I am learning balance. I am learning that good days don’t just happen: more often than not, you have to make a good day.
“How was my day?”
Well, my day was interesting, a kaleidoscope of relationships and personal interactions. My day was a journey through the human psyche, heightened by the presence of pain and feelings of helplessness. My day was filled with impossible expectations and precious people. Today I have been happy, sad, angry, frustrated, stressed, overjoyed, content. I’ve run around like a chicken with my head cut off and I’ve been told: “there’s my little girl”.
In the end, all of my days as a CNA are bittersweet. What changes is how well I handle it.
But days are the same as moments: just threads in a tapestry. When I get to the end, and I am able to see the completed work of art, I hope I am able to say: “Yeah, it was pretty good.”