I Can’t Always See It, But Keep Smiling

I’ve been a nurse now for over 20 years. About 22 years to be exact. I haven’t worked as a nurse for the last 10 years, but I am still a nurse. This is a title I am very proud of. It took a lot of hard work to get to be one and my hard work lead to a wonderful career geared towards taking care of people. I do not work as a nurse currently, but I still work in the medical field just on the medical device sales side of the equation. My role still gets me into the areas I used to work in as a nurse and I love that. I still get to talk the talk with the nurses in the Cath Labs I go to in my current role as a Clinical Specialist.

I worked three years on a general floor which leaned more towards the geriatric population. The floor I worked on was also the oncology floor for the hospital. At least it was before the outpatient cancer center opened up in town many years ago. I was chemotherapy certified and did administer it to patients. You really get to know someone while doing this type of a role. I really enjoyed the people I got to meet during my three years in this role.

I eventually took a job in the radiology department of the hospital which also doubled as a role in the cath lab. Not the cardiac cath lab side, but more the peripheral vascular and neurological side of the arterial and venous system. This role lead me to where I am today in the medical device sales industry.

I help promote products which aid in opening up the arteries and the veins in the peripheral vascular portion of the bodies “plumbing” so to speak. Basically, I promote and educate on plumbing equipment for the bodies pipes, being the arteries and the veins. A blockage is seen on x-ray within the arteries or veins, and I have the tools to essentially unplug the pipes and keep the blood flowing as it should.

We could do a deep dive into an anatomy lesson, and I would love to do it, but it’s not the point of why I bring up my nursing and my current job here. As I nurse, one of my big roles was establishing a connection with my patients. Yes, I took care of them and helped them to feel better, but in order to really do this you need to establish a connection with the person you are caring for. You wanted this person to trust you. To trust you that you know what you are doing and also to trust that me, as a perfect stranger, has your best interests in mind.

In my role early in my career, and especially in the cancer treatment side of it, you typically got to know your patients very well. You saw them a lot as they came in for treatment and you got to know them and their families. The way you establish a connection with them is way different than how I did it in the Cath Lab. I had time to spend with these patients and you tend to spend your time talking about anything and everything. You also, over this time, get to know some of them on a much deeper level. You have serious life type of conversations. You really become invested in their lives.

The Cath Lab was different. A role in a department where procedures are done is different. Usually these patients are outpatients. They arrive the same day as they go home. If they end up staying, they go to one of the inpatient floors. You do not get a lot of time with these folks. You have to establish a connection with them quickly. It was a whole different ballgame.

I enjoyed the ballgame. I enjoyed the challenge of establishing a connection with my patients over the few hours I get to spend with them. They are nervous about their procedure and most have never been through the procedure before. You had to get them admitted into the system at the same time you were trying to establish a connection with them. It truly is an art form. You have a lot of prep work to do before their procedure, but you also have to establish a rapport with them during this time.

You establish this rapport and typically people calm down a little bit and are less nervous and that is one of the goals. They begin to calm down because they now trust you, again I’m a perfect stranger, with their lives. It’s an honor so to speak, but it is a level of interaction in where you have to do everything in your power to be successful.

Why did I go through all of this? You get to know me a little better. You’ve been reading my stuff for a while now and why not get to know me. Really though, it’s about establishing a connection with people. We may not realize this every second of the day, but we get to establish a connection with people in our interactions with others. It’s not always a conscious act, but we are constantly doing it in our interactions.

Through this pandemic and the Great Masking Of The People movement. I have realized there is one basic human interaction I miss. I miss it especially with strangers who I pass. I miss the simple connection a smile provides between people. Even people we don’t know.

I never realized how much I crave it until it was taken away. Yes, we do get to see people close to us without masks and we can smile at them for days and we should smile at them for days, but I find I miss the simple action of smiling at a stranger and they smile or say “hi” back.

We go to the grocery store. A place where we pass strangers all of the time. Are you someone who likes to give a simple nod of recognition you are both crossing each others life paths with a smile? I know I do. And it gives me joy. It is a simple act, but is a huge connection you can make with a perfect stranger who you pass by.

Enter the mask. We wear our masks out in public when we will be around others. Namely, the grocery store. The interaction of the smile is gone. Here’s the real question. Do you find your self still smiling when you pass somebody?

I do. I can’t help it. That person probably thinks I’m just some creepy dude looking at them, but I am throwing my smile out there even though it is hidden. It is a habit of mine. I guess I do it a lot as it’s something that’s been on my mind lately.

Is smiling a habit of yours? I feel we should make it a habit. We should make it a habit regardless of the fact people can’t always see it. Why? Simply because it makes me feel good. That person can’t see it, but I will always try and smile at someone. When they can see it, I hope it can be the type of interaction that can brighten someones day. We are all in this game of life together after all.

Even if they can’t see it, do it. They can’t see it, but you can feel it. It is proven that smiling gets the happy juices flowing. Smiling is a simple act and it is literally good for us!

And that’s what it’s all about. Smiling makes science happen. Good science. Smiling improves our moods and makes us feel better. The awesome thing about a smile is when you can do it as an interaction between two people, it can make both of you feel better. Unfortunately, we still are living within a time where we have to wear a face mask so we don’t get to brighten someone else’s day with a smile as much. But we can brighten our own days always by performing this one simple act of muscle memory. Smile on.

Your eyes speak a lot. Our eyes are not covered by the masks. At least I hope not. If your eyes are covered, pull that thing down a bit😊. Let your eyes speak the smile to someone else. Smile even bigger at someone so they can see your eyes squint down in that obvious smiling at you glance.

Maybe this can be a positive take away from the ongoing mental health onslaught the pandemic has provided us with. Smile bigger than you normally do. Your eyes can translate a message that can change someones day. At least for a moment when hopefully they can throw a masked smile back at you.

Smile! Smile big! It always will be of benefit to you, but a nice big smile, where your eyes can’t help but smile too, is an awesome simple life improving gesture we can make to one another.

You got this! I got this! We got this! Let’s keep walking this path together!

Have a great day!


Hot off the press!! I have started a website which combines my blogs, podcasts, and other methods of dealing with our mental health and provide inspiration and hope. It is meant to be a relaxing place to stop by and refuel. So far, it is basic, but I have ideas to make it grow into something much bigger. Please check it out!

Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health


Feel free to jump over to Facebook and join the group I’ve started:

Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health


This group is meant to focus on an “everybody in” type of focus. I share my music and also this blog there amongst other things. The music I share is instrumental (I am not a singer). I try and attach a positive message to each tune. I also encourage others to share their hobbies or anything that they like to do that makes them happy. Or share anything that is working for them. A place where we can get away from things for a while. A group approach to improving each others mental health!

I’ve also started a podcast in hopes that my desire to spread mental health awareness can reach more people.

Jason Kehl’s Basement Of Jams: Rocking Mental Health


Also on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google, Amazon Music, and Pandora

Please check it out and feel free to share it as well.

Published by Jason Kehl

Nurse, artist, musician. One I have done professionally and two I have not😉. I enjoy creating art and music as a hobby. I do it mostly because it helps me to feel better or express something that I feel inside. I am a believer in Mental Health Awareness. My goal is to throw myself out there in hopes that someone sees it and can gain the strength to seek help or keep working on themselves. We are an unfinished product! That's OK!

6 thoughts on “I Can’t Always See It, But Keep Smiling

  1. I would agree! Smiling has always been important to me(although when I was younger i was extremely shy, it made such a difference when a stranger smiled), and although harder with a mask on, I’m glad that there’s someone else who’s still smiling for others!
    (I took a listen to your music and thought it was amazing 😊)


    1. Thank very much! The music is fun and helps me get some junk out.

      I’ve always thought of myself as a usually nice and pleasant guy. I can’t say the smile happens all of the time, but I try. It wasn’t until the masks hid our faces from others that I really started thinking about the effect the smile had on me. Whether I’m throwing it out or someone is throwing it back at me😄

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: