It’s no surprise that doctors tend to get a lot of affirmation for their life-saving precision when it comes to surgery. The doctor who performed my surgery reluctantly received plenty of attention for saving my life. My case and the way he performed my hysterectomy have been studied both abroad and at home. He chose to take on the surgery (first of its kind) knowing the risks at hand. Even his wife knew of the concerns. She called her friends and they gathered to hold a prayer vigil while he was performing the surgery.
I still have him as my doctor and see him often. I can call him anytime I need something – day or night. He and his wife came to our adoption celebrations. We’ve exchanged Christmas cards and shared food together. Our families have stayed friends through the years and he knows that I hold no bitterness towards him or the Lord. Even still, he gets a bit weepy when we talk about my surgery. It absolutely impacted his life.
The reality is that it was not just his expertise and his hands that saved my life. There were many nurses who walked through that terrible sadness of my illness; yet, they did not receive the same type of attention and they did not get to watch me grow up and eventually become a mother.
To the nurses who worked the pediatric floor at the formerly called St. John’s Hospital in Springfield, Missouri and who had a hand in saving my life in 1983, thank you.
Thank you for carrying my family through a horrible ordeal. Thank you for holding my mother up while she nearly collapsed from the news and for offering my dad extra blankets at night because he just couldn’t leave. Thank you for wiping away tears, caressing my hands and speaking words of encouragement into my ears.
Thank you for holding my body down while the needles were sliding in and out of my veins. I knew it needed to happen and you did, too. Thank you for checking in on me all of the time and showing the utmost professionalism with the full measure of tenderness. Thank you for sneaking a friend onto the floor (even though it was against hospital policy).
Thank you for seeking my parents out to offer assurance that I was receiving the best care and for being goofy, smiling a lot and cheering my recovery. Thank you for putting up with my smarty-pants antics when you couldn’t figure out what was wrong with my IV machine but I could (and I told you how to fix it). Thank you for holding each other accountable.
I’ve often thought about the nurses on the pediatric floor who tended to my needs. Without them, I know my experience in the hospital could have gone a lot different. Even though it was a traumatic time, the love received absolutely made an incredible impact on my healing.
Nurses deal with anger, confusion, grief, sickness, bodily fluids, weeping parents and screaming patients on any given day. They are comforters, counselors, scientists, and mentors. They are teachers, advice givers, and hand-holders.
They intentionally walk into the trenches of sickness and trauma, sometimes even at their own risk. They put up with bureaucracy, policies, and politics and do so with their patients on their minds. Nurses do not get enough credit for the life-affirming and hope-dealing job that they do.
To the nurses who had a hand in saving my life in 1983 and to all of the nurses out there, thank you.