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  • Katherine Reese Kusza

How Does This Story End?

"The time has come," the Walrus said, "To talk of many things: Of shoes—and ships—and sealing-wax— Of cabbages—and kings— And why the sea is boiling hot— And whether pigs have wings."

~Lewis Carroll


I admire anyone who can write fiction and poetry.


I have tried. I’ve studied it. I went to the University of New Hampshire in the early 90s and even took a class with Charles Simic who won the Pulitzer Prize. I love the sound of interesting words rolling off the tongue.


Some writers have a gift. Whitman, Angelou, Shakespeare, Twain, Austen, Lewis, Wilde, Walker, Tolkien -- I know if I had all day more would come to me. I am a promiscuous reader.


My graduate portfolio has some really bad poetry in it, but most of it is short stories. They were ok, but what 22-year-old can really write about anything? You have no life experience at that age and you are trying to write stories that grown ups want to read?


Everyone in my courses was going to write the Great American Novel. Sure. I used to read the Alumni Newsletter to look for the names of people I went to grad school with to see if I recognized anyone who had been able to publish. After a few years, I gave up.


I’m sure someone has and I just missed it. I never published anything other than articles for small town newspapers. I've been trying to write a novel for years, but the minute I put something or someone fictitious on paper the words die.


I couldn’t even get a proper teaching or professional writing job with a Master’s Degree in English and Creative Writing (it wasn’t some fluffy bunny MFA back in those days). I can’t even get people to read this darn blog!


I work at a community college and I can't teach. Anything. Not even CNAs or Paramedics or EMTs. I don’t have the right credentials. My Masters in English, my Bachelors in Humanities and my Associates in Nursing and 17 years as a first responder don't mean squat.


Now, if I got some BS in nursing or a Masters in more shit or a piled higher and deeper from some fake, online university, I could teach all sorts of things. Go figure!


Yes, I am a little bit bitter that some 25-year-old who just graduated with a degree from a woke school and didn’t do anywhere near as much work as I had to do 27 years ago can walk into any college and attempt to edumacate the next generation of English majors or nursing majors or whatever.


They don’t know much about English or nursing yet, but I guess experience doesn’t matter anymore. Just follow the curriculum and who cares if the students learn anything useful?


However, it won’t matter much longer to me because where I work has mandated Covid-19 shots for all their employees and students and I doubt there will be any true exemptions because some bureaucrat has no understanding of Civil Rights.


I do immunization compliance all day long as part of my job and I know the law. You cannot discriminate against people because of their religious beliefs or their medical conditions. It is against the law even if there is a flu going around.


Eventually, it will make its way up to the Supreme Court (if we still have one in three years), but it will be too late for me and many other decent, hardworking people. I won’t be a nurse anymore.


All the nurses with integrity will be gone. They will have been fired from their jobs because they couldn’t take a shot of medicine for health or religious reasons and they stood their ground and were punished for it.


So many of us worked for months with no shot and we never got a patient or a coworker or anyone else sick. Why would we now?


We know how to wash our hands and put on an Oompa Loompa suit. I can get into my PPE in 30 seconds if I need to (a minute if I really want to be sure it is all on right). It is not that hard! It just takes practice.


You need old fart nurses to teach young nurses how to be good nurses. Otherwise, you just get little selfish witches who are just doing it for the money and don’t care about their patients. They don’t know when to stop trying for an IV line and torturing little old ladies.


It is ok to say, I can’t get it, I need to get another nurse. There is no shame in it.


Without strong, ornery nurses you get the abuse of patients for money. You get people dying alone in hospitals without their family members at the bedside.


You get nurses who got the shot and didn’t get fired, but refuse to go into a patient’s room to check on them because they are too lazy to put on the Oompa Loompa suit for the umpteenth time.


You'll have nurses with college degrees and book learning, but no experience at the bedside. They can talk about theory, but they can’t do a patient assessment. They haven’t seen enough patients! Sometimes the numbers look ok, but the patient looks like poop!


You want people on the job who have convictions and common sense and morals and aren’t just mercenaries. You want nurses who will talk back to the brand-new doctors (because they aren't afraid of them) and keep them from killing someone!


Do we really want to get rid of everyone who won’t comply? Who will advocate for patients in the future if they won’t advocate for themselves?


How do you think this is going to end?



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