I was in the hospital for 11 days. For pretty much the entire time I was in pain, uncomfortable and totally dependent on the nurses and technicians to help me with just about everything I needed to do. I have always had the utmost respect for nurses knowing that there is no way I could ever do what they do and this experience certainly confirmed that.
Each day when the shift changed the new nurse and technician would come in, introduce themselves and write their names on the board. I can honestly say there was not one who wasn’t friendly, encouraging, gentle, understanding and compassionate – as well as extremely competent and knowledgeable.
My “favorite” nurse, Aileen (only because I had her 4 times in the 11 days) had been a nurse for 30 years and had a wealth of knowledge. She was so comforting and made me feel everything would be all right when I felt most overwhelmed and frightened about how I would be able to handle things myself.
Many of the technicians were younger women who were nursing students. They were bubbly, enthusiastic and brought a smile to my face every day. There was one male tech who was from Jamaica (I loved his accent). He would come in to take my vitals and we would have the best conversations – he even sat down and scrolled through his phone one evening because there was a funny video he just had to show me. On one of my most down days he said – I’ve seen people much sicker than you and they left here and are fine and you will be too. It’s amazing what a word of encouragement can do!
When I was apologizing to one of the young techs for having to clean up a mess no one should have to – she said, “Don’t worry about it – that’s my job – and you make it easy to want to do things for you. Some people are so nasty it has shown me I don’t want to continue doing this.” She said she was in her senior year of nursing school and loved helping people but decided to take a job out of state in health care but not directly working with patients. That’s truly a shame on one hand because she was so wonderful but I’m happy for her that she will not be dealing with ungrateful or nasty people.
The visiting nurses who came and helped me at home were equally wonderful. They were comforting since having to do these things for myself at home was stressful. I worried about having to change the ileostomy bag myself and whether I could do it properly. But they were so reassuring and told me that I could just wait and do that while they were here so I had another set of eyes to be sure I did it right. What peace that brought.
I just thank God for all the nurses and technicians who spend their days making life a little easier for people who are sick or in pain and frightened.
If you know a nurse – take a minute and thank her for what she does!
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