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At the absolutely saddest and scariest moment of my adult life, a nurse was by my side.
She held my right hand in both of her hands whenever she could. She stood next to my hospital bed to be as close to my face as possible. She read my body language, reacted and kept her cool as the gynecologist on call at Chilliwack General Hospital told me I had cancer.
She did all of this while helping the doctor and it was only a matter of minutes, but the impact of her compassion lasted with me throughout my treatment.
And then she wrote a note to my family, in a doctor’s prescription pad.
“To whom it may concern: orders the Dr, mum needs some special love and attention for Mother’s Day. Please comply!”
It’s not the best way to spend Mother’s Day, but it made it better.
The keepsake hit my Facebook timeline this morning, and it reminded me of all the TLC I’ve received from the hands of nurses in my lifetime. This event took place four years ago, so the following months were filled with caring nurses at the BC Cancer Clinic in Abbotsford. The chemo ward nurses are top notch and the brachytherapy nurses are literally lifesavers.
I always carry a token with me that a nurse gave me at the end of my treatment and I often think of her.
The end of National Nurses Week in Canada is just around the corner, and I’m just one person. Notice that I had a lot of interactions with healthcare professionals due to cancer. But it’s actually not that rare. Most of us will have some sort of health issue in life that will put us at the mercy of others.
Whether it’s cancer, a difficult pregnancy, chronic illness, serious injury, or end-of-life care, our lives will eventually intersect with an on-call nurse.
The note in my journal today reminds me that the nurses care about us when they send us home. They may wonder about us, whether it’s every once in a while or a passing thought during their next shift.
They have these intense but quick moments with us, in our most vulnerable moments in life. And then they send us out into the world again.
I don’t know the name of the nurse who wrote this note. She signed it “Mother’s Day”.
But if she is reading this, and if any of my former nurses are reading this, I assure you that my family has given me the sweetest care I could hope for.
I hope you all receive the same love and care.
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