In my lifetime I have met a plethora of nurses and here’s what I have learned. Nurses know how to calm you down but be prudent with their words. Nurses know how to make you comfortable, immediately bringing you heated blankets, as many as you want, while you await a procedure.
Nurses can put an IV in your arm while distracting you – “Small sting, how are you handling this hot weather?” – while also managing the tape that keeps the needle in place. I think they have several sets of invisible hands.
Nurses can look like the slinky cartoon blonde in the 1988 movie “Who Framed Roger Rabbit.” One such nurse glided into husband Dan’s hospital room a day after his surgery. Dan and I flashed a look, “A gorgeous nurse for our youngest son?”
The vision of loveliness opened her mouth and said, “Honey, have you peed yet?” That same hospital stay, a male nurse came into the room pre-surgery to shave Dan’s chest and back. He took one look at Dan’s chest and said, “Oh Lordy, you’re a Silverback!”
A longtime nurse friend, Lorene Goodlin, has somehow almost always been working and on duty in whatever hospital we’re in. The long, long day Dan had heart surgery, Lorene was working, but found time to drop by the waiting room to give updates. When the surgeon came in to explain his findings and procedures, Lorene was there, her shift long over, but staying to explain to an overwrought me what had happened.
The day of my recent cataract surgery, I woke up with vertigo. Determined to go ahead with the procedure, I inched my way into the waiting room, moving as smoothly as possible to accommodate my spinning head. There was Lorene, at the door, ready to guide me slowly to the surgical area. Lorene found a doctor to prescribe medicine to help my vertigo. I was so glad to see her.
There is an ancient Irish blessing that, with apologies to the unknown author of this blessing, I have altered:
- May the road rise up to meet you.
- May the wind be always at your back.
- May the warm rays of sun fall upon your home,
- And may the land of a nurse always be near.
Cindy Arp, teacher/librarian, retired from Knox County Schools. She and husband Dan live in Heiskell.