My admiration for nurses began when I was 5 years old. I was brought to the hospital to have my tonsils taken out. I remember three things most: being in a room with several shiny cribs, that I was the only little girl in the room with other pediatric patients were, and my nurse: Nurse Kelly.
It was the first time I received anesthesia and I remember Nurse Kelly standing at the top of my bed; her head was upside down to me and she probably was telling me exactly what was going to happen. But at 5 years old I’m sure I didn’t pay too much attention — I simply thought the coolest thing about her was her name!
The next nurse that I have a particular fondness for is the nurse from our family doctor’s office, Fran. She ran that office like clockwork. I can barely remember having to wait for any amount of time before we got to see the doctor; unlike the offices I sit in as an adult. Fran would greet us with a smile and a familiarity of a long-time friend. I think the occasional lollipop was received after annual flu shots, too.
I have nurse friends and nurse co-workers whose dedication to their profession is simply unmatched by so many others. But the nurses who’ve impressed me the most are the ones who took care of my Mom during her more than three-week stay in the hospital.
A trip to the ER the night before Halloween for some extreme stomach pains turned into a major surgery, nineteen days of hospital food and roommates who should have had a private room. But what made it all bearable for Mom was the nurses! My Mom has tried to remember to write their names down so she can send a note to the hospital. For me, their names are a blur; TJ, Alyson, Maureen, Dee Dee… For me, their names are irrelevant, except for one: Nurse Carol.
Carol took care of Mom post-op in the CCU. She was there as the anesthesia was wearing off. She managed the troops of us who streamed in and out of the room that I’m sure had a limit on the number of visitors. Carol held Mom’s hand and calmed her as three doctors tried to talk to her at the same time. When the epidural was removed and the new drugs to regulate her heart were hung on the IV stand, she looked into Mom’s eyes to help her focus the pain away. Carol explained everything once, twice, and then as many times as Mom asked. She forced Mom to do her breathing exercises and to eat (drink) her meals to get stronger.
You may think this is all normal nurse behavior and maybe it is, but wait, there’s one more thing. When Mom was transferred off the CCU and to a “regular” floor to continue her recuperation, Carol came to see her at least once a day every day she was working. Carol went above and beyond any expectation we could have had of the nursing care we wanted for Mom.
While nurses are celebrated for week and day every year, my Thanksgiving Thank You goes out to Nurse Carol. Thank you for taking care of my Mom!