Reprinted with the kind permission of Barbara Keddy and Women and Fibromyalgia…Living with an Invisible Dis-ease
“The greatest heroes are those who do their duty in the daily grind of domestic affairs whilst the world whirls as a maddening dreidel.” ~ Florence Nightingale ~
A dreidel is a four-sided spinning top. I loved the above quote but knew not what that word meant. It makes so much sense to me now as the world is certainly spinning out of control, and it is the hyper-sensitive, traumatized person who suffers the most, especially if she or he works in a high stress environment.
This week (May 12) we celebrated the birthday of Florence Nightingale, and I am reminded of the many nurses who write to me on this website suffering from fibromyalgia. There is little doubt that Nightingale herself was plagued with this condition. Those who do their work as a responsible caring person live with the daily suffering and the trauma of others. While absorbing the pain of their patients, they are often living with their own.
Those of us with fibromyalgia have an over-abundance of empathy. It is not easy to disregard the emotions of others; we always anticipate the needs of people in real or perceived distress. Nurses are at the forefront where fear and anxiety are paramount, and living with fibromyalgia intensifies the daily challenges. As patients suffer from anxiety, their struggles are inter-meshed with their own. Oftentimes, it is impossible to separate the two.
I have just completed a book about nurses in training in the 1950s, and it is currently at the printers, due for release in June 2018. This book describes the lives of student nurses who worked under harsh conditions while working / studying to become RNs. They are stories of the difficulties these women experienced during their three-year training period. The devotion to their profession and the uncomplaining ways in which they did their duty is awe-inspiring. Nurses exemplify the best of human qualities. But sometimes their own emotional capacity is overwhelmed and too anxiety provoking. While this book is not at all about fibromyalgia, nonetheless, it does exemplify the intense devotion to the caring work of those who make up the vast numbers of health professionals. Nurses are unsung heroes and heroines.
About the Author: Barbara Keddy, BSc.N., M.A., Ph.D., Professor Emerita, School of Nursing, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, has lived with fibromyalgia for more than 40 years. Barbara has been interested in social justice issues throughout her professional career, with particular focus on women’s health, resulting in her book Women and Fibromyalgia: Living with an Invisible Dis-ease.