When other little girls played house, I lined my babies up and they were my patients. I remember when I performed surgery on my Holly Hobbie doll and was so disappointed to find white stuffing instead of a beating heart. When I learned the real deal on how babies escaped the confines of the womb and all my little friends were screaming in horror, I screamed too but I secretly was thinking, “Now that sounds really cool, how can I see a real live baby get born?” Obviously there was not “Baby Story” reruns on in 1975.
These memories hold a special place right next to my real life nursing memories…….
….when I started to pass out the first time I gave my lab partner a shot in school.
….the first time I saw a real live baby born. Most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
…….the first time one of my patients died. She died all alone in the nursing home. I cried as I got her ready for the funeral home to receive her. I wasn’t crying because I was sad, I cried because she was all alone and I knew I never wanted another one of my patients to be all alone when they died.
…….the time I held hands with a tiny old lady who simply refused to die. She was not in pain, she just kept a ridiculously slow heart rate in the 40’s for three hours. An older wiser nurse told me to go tell her it was OK to go. I bent down and whispered,” It’s OK to go, I’m right here with you.” And she did. Just like that. She let go and the monitor went flat.
…..working in public health and doing home visits. I remember visiting a new mama and baby and watching the chickens through the holes in the floor of her living room, stepping over the incredibly intoxicated father lying on the floor as I left.
……the first time a patient hallucinated in front of me. Scared the living daylights out of me. It’s chilling for someone to talk back to a voice you cannot hear.
…….the first time I told a patient they had HIV….the time I told them they had cancer….the time I told them they were pregnant.
…….holding hands with patients who whispered, “I’m scared” and yes I’ve said, “This won’t hurt a bit”, “Drop your pants” and “You are gonna be fine”.
…….there were days when I swore I was going to start selling real estate. There were days when I knew that I touched heaven just “doing my job”.
……I remember standing next to patient all night and praying for them not to die, or have a seizure, or wake up and fight me to get out of bed.
…..some people have called me an angel, and others have mistaken me for a waitress.
…..I have examined and laid hands on a little boy burning up with fever, asking God for healing because we were in Kenya and they were too sick and I did not have anything to give them. But God had everything they needed.
Every nurse I know and love has stories just like mine. We see and hear and experience things Dear Reader, that manners prevent us from sharing. People at their best…and worst.
Today I say: I appreciate you, my friend, the Nurse. You are pulling through a night shift. You are explaining to a family what the doctor meant. You are cleaning blood off your scrubs and documenting to save your butt in court.
I see you and I appreciate all you do. Happy Nurses Day!