open letter to Professor Rogers

When I woke up on Friday, you did not exist. My world seemed large, my opportunities seemed limitless. I woke up and all was possible. I had just finished my shift. I was more than ever convinced bedside nursing was not for me. Long term care has become a last stop for unmanageable mentally ill patients, from Alzheimer’s to schizophrenia. It’s become increasingly hard to notice a change in condition when the baseline is always manic.

Now was the time to start working on my invention. I had seen too many patients with red streaks on their arms from the blood pressure cuff; heard too many complaints that the cuff hurts; wasted so much time getting vitals on patients because there’s only one machine and it constantly malfunctions. “This can’t be the state of healthcare in America,” I thought.

I thought about something that could measure vitals without the bruises, without the pain, without the wait. A patch. A vitals check patch. OK. I named it. I conquered the first few steps of an idea. The next step: run a search to see if it already exists. That step took weeks because I didn’t want to know. Didn’t want all of my dreams dashed. Didn’t want to know I had missed the boat again.

So Friday I searched. Friday I found you. Ever get that sinking feeling in your stomach when an elevator first takes off? Multiply that by 100. That’s what I felt: gutted. And it’s not like you beat me by a few weeks. You beat me by several years. And just like that, my world became small again, I became nobody, just another working stiff embodying the words of a Paul Simon song, slip slidin’ away.

Why should you care? Why should I, out of the tens of thousands who contact you, be relevant? I can’t answer that for you. I can only tell you that this was going to be ‘it’ for me. A product of rape, coming from poverty, winning a four year scholarship, getting a degree in Political Science, then Law, practicing as a criminal defense attorney for a year, quitting, becoming a massage therapist, then completing an accelerated 12 month nursing program to achieve my BSN and now working on my Masters to become a FNP, and most likely getting my Doctorate in Nursing before I die, plus taking violin lessons and learning French this summer, why should I be relevant to you?

I have no engineering background, no mathematical genius. Business acumen? Perhaps. Being knee deep in healthcare does give me an advantage, an insight your developers may not have. But this is what I know to be true: on Friday you did not exist. Today you do. But today, you now know I exist. I can’t help but believe that makes me somewhat relevant to you.

Rida-