Tuesday, May 9, 2017

A Tribute to Nurses...

I often forget what it was like, having to lay flat on my back for three months while my spine and pelvis healed.  I remember thinking to myself  How on earth am I going to get through another day?  Those of us who are or have been patients know what it's like to feel needy and hopeless, grasping for any shred of mood-elevating human connection to help bring us back down to earth.  I remember well being a patient on the trauma floor, and despite being quite sedated and groggy from the morphine, I distinctly remember the relief I would feel every time I felt understood by my nurses, who were my life-savers during that time.   Truth-be-told, I was one of "those" kinds of patients who did all of my research and was ready to ask every question I could think of of any medical professional who came into my room regarding the upshot of my  injuries or prognosis.  (After learning this, my surgeon even gave me strict orders to direct all questions his way.  Oye, I must've been a real treat!  😉)   I wanted knowledge and I wanted answers....but more than anything, I wanted to know that I still mattered, despite feeling like a broken lump of bleeding flesh with a questionable future.   I was super fortunate that my nurses tended share my love of dark / gallows humor, that they were highly skilled and exceptionally compassionate....(even the time when my then four year old son couldn't stop poking my foley catheter.  Yikes!)   I had the chance to see first-hand how difficult the job is, physically and emotionally....and thought to myself many times,  I could never do this job, but forever grateful for those who do.

This is Nurse's Appreciation Week...a time to reflect upon how touched we have been by those with a passion for caring for people's bodies, minds and hearts.

Today I stumbled upon this TED talk.  It caught my eye because I happen to know the woman on the cover photo (a smiling nun holding the two adorable baby goats). Our family grew up going out the the Villa Loretto Nursing Center to visit and came to know all of the sisters--especially the head nurse and woman featured in the middle of this talk, Sr. Stephen.   It's a great video highlighting the nursing profession...I highly suggest watching it!


 Of course, my sister and I thought Sr. Stephen was super cool because she was the nun with the roller skates AND a motorcycle!  I think her compassionate spirit made a deeper impression on me however, as I chose Sr. Stephen to be my Confirmation sponsor in 1985.   Fast-forward 33 years later...who ever woulda thunk that those lasting impressions would have wiggled their way into my heart after an extended stint in "patient mode?"  Not only have I always deeply appreciated wholehearted folks with compassion and dedication, but especially people who extend themselves in the medical profession, where the stakes can be high and the pain profound.   These are special folks, indeed.

10/13/85 (Looking very "eighties", two-legged and saintly. 😇 )

Sr. Stephen and all the nurses in my life ....you have left lasting footprints on my heart, and the hearts of people everywhere (whether you know it or not!)   Thank you all for your dedication to caring for us in our darkest hours, for tending to our troubled minds, restless hearts, and tired, aching bodies.  Thank you for being there for us and for choosing to stay when the going gets rough.  Believe me, we know the going does get tough. 

This week and always, truly, WE THANK YOU!