It’s National Nurses’ Week. Too often we overlook the hard work and dedication that these wonderful people do. So in honor of them, I am going to tell you about two nurses whom I will remember forever. I met them both on the worst day of my life. I can’t tell you either one’s name – one I never knew, the other is buried in the recesses of my memory.
Several people rushed to Chad’s aid after he passed out in the truck. Most of them were Menard’s employees, but there was one woman who was dressed in regular clothes. I heard her tell one of the other people there that she was a nurse. She took control of the situation until the paramedics arrived. I didn’t speak to her much – I mostly stayed out of the way, only getting involved if someone asked me a question. The nurse relayed the information that I had given her to the paramedics then stepped back, but didn’t leave. She stayed until Chad was being moved onto a stretcher, and before she left she came over to speak to me. She hugged me briefly then looked me in the eye and said, “Good luck.” I never got her name – no one did – so I can’t thank her for everything she did. I wish I had.
Once at the hospital, the nursing staff tucked me into an empty exam room until they could get the family room cleared out for me. I had just gotten into the room when I was joined by a woman, in her early 60s (I’m guessing), in a white lab coat. We chatted about trivial things, anything to keep my mind off of the questions that I really wanted to ask. Questions that she didn’t have the answer to. A few times she pulled a ringing cell phone out of her lab coat, spoke briefly, and returned it to her pocket. I assumed that she was some sort of volunteer. As we chatted, she had me smiling (even laughing a couple of times!). She helped me redirect my fears and nervous energy into positive thinking. She stayed with me until after the doctor came in to tell me that Chad had died. She held my hand as I heard the words I had been dreading. She gave me her shoulder to cry on when I didn’t have anyone else. To put it simply, she helped me retain my sanity in an impossible situation.
I saw her a few more times that day, never for very long. I found out later that she wasn’t just a volunteer. She was (at the time – I have no idea if she still is) the director of nursing at this fairly large hospital. This wonderful woman probably had a hundred other things that she could have been doing that day, but she willingly stayed with me. It would have been easy to come and go, checking on me occasionally. She didn’t do that. I’m sure she introduced herself to me that day, but it’s lost in the haze of that afternoon’s events.
These two women, along with thousands of others just like them, work hard to give comfort to so many people. So this week I just want to remember all of the wonderful nurses out there, and say thank you for doing what you do, saving lives, and taking care of our loved ones when they need it most. You are all amazing.