Wednesday, September 11, 2013

A+ America 8

Followers of this blog will know that I am a cancer survivor. In fact, the type of cancer that I had is never truly spoken about in the past tense. My cancer is one that comes back every few years and I have been living in tension with this disease for about 16 years now. However, this post is not about that. This post is about the dozens and dozens of nurses that I have interacted with along the way who consistently blew me away with how well they treated me and how they viewed their patient interactions as more than just a job. At many of my appointments and procedures I was anxious and scared, and they knew just what to say and what not to say to bring me a great measure of comfort. I remember one imaging procedure that I went to where they needed to look for evidence of cancerous growths that might have metastasized in other parts of my body. What struck me is that each of the three nurses working with me that day either had a husband or child who had been diagnosed with cancer. Not all of their loved ones had survived. Yet even after living through such a painful personal experience, each of them made the conscious decision to specialize in dealing with cancer patients so that they could serve and bring comfort to those dealing with this disease.

I was reminded of the wonderful blessing that nurses can be as my daughter recently had surgery to have her tonsils removed. Each of the men and women who would be a part of her treatment that day came and spent time with her before the procedure began. Each spoke love to her and treated her as the special person that she is. They treated her with respect and patience. As they were wheeling my daughter's bed back to the surgery room, the head nurse, sensing my great concern, took me aside and told me that her team would do their very best for my daughter and that she would get the best care. This wasn't uttered as a glib, formulaic platitude. This was spoken as someone who deeply cared and truly understood the situation. So, to all of you nurses who make your work more than just a job, who put your heart and soul into treating your patients with skill, with love, with empathy, and with tenderness, I say A+ America.