Inspiration: My Doctors & Nurses
After reading the title of this entry, some of you are already probably a little skeptical. Maybe you’re far from a fan of those whose work has them donning scrubs or white lab coats. As someone who has spent countless hours in hospital beds, sitting in clinic chairs, or laying on examination tables, however, I would beg you to reconsider.
During my six months of cancer treatment and all the ensuing appointments, tests, and follow-ups that continue to this very day, I found a new level of respect and admiration for those in the medical field. Nurse after nurse, doctor after doctor, I felt like I wasn’t just being seen as a number or as part of someone’s work day. I was treated as a person who mattered. I was cared for as if I were their daughter, sister, or friend. When I felt sick, they did everything they could to make me more comfortable. They went above and beyond over and over and over again.
Some things were as small as bringing me extra ice, or remembering that cranberry was my juice of choice. Other things, though, were much more intricate, like allowing me to have my puppy (our only “child” at the time) come and visit me while I was having extended hospital stays, or buying me presents to celebrate my last day of chemo treatment. My doctors and nurses became my friends. Today, five years later, we chat on Facebook, visit each other, and talk on the phone. My doctors and nurses beam when I come to visit them now, so happy to see me 5 years later, healthy and thriving.
I’ll never forget a very special visitor I got to my hospital room, the day after my first son had been born. I was so happy to have been admitted to the hospital for a much more joyous occasion, especially considering the hospital I now lay in with my newborn baby, was the very same one I had once laid in with poisonous bags of chemo flowing into my body. Sitting in my room, staring at little Joey, a knock on the door drew my attention to a new guest. It was Norma. Seeing her there in her white nurse scrubs, gray hair cut short as usual, ID Badge boasting the title “Boss Lady,” I saw a look I had never seen cross her age-worn features. You see, Norma was what I like to affectionately refer to as a “tough cookie.” She was the nurse that all other nurses simultaneously feared and respected. She didn’t pull any punches. She wasn’t uncaring, but she was no nonsense. I remember her at my very first round of chemo, hanging a new bag on my IV and informing me that this would be the bag that would take my hair. She meant business. When Norma walked into my hospital room that day, though, and held a one day old Joey in her arms, tears filled her eyes. She looked at me and simply said, “This is why we do what we do.”
I will never forget that moment. These people give their lives day in and day out to help sick people, and often, they know their efforts will not bring about anything more than a prolonged ending. Still, they treat every patient with love and dignity, and as an individual. For me, it is a privilege to get to go back and thank each and every one of them now. To bring my boys to visit and show them that their efforts matter. The doctors and nurses inspire me to step up my game. To treat each person I come across as a life that matters, and to give each person my best.