Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Angels of mercy

There was a nurse trainee at the clinic today. She was probably in her 50s so she certainly wasn't new to nursing and patient care, but she had a sweet, fresh-scrubbed look about her - all rosy cheeked and earth-mothery - that was so welcome. And so very needed there.

Don't get me wrong, the nurses at the clinic are all very nice - very polite, professional and competent - but when the new nurse smiled sweetly at me and said "good luck" as she was leaving, I knew she genuinely meant it. I wasn't one of hundreds of assembly line uteruses to her. I was also a face and a heart and carrier of dreams. And she knew it, and acknowledged it.

I wanted to cry right then and there.

After being anonymously probed and stabbed for the last two months, someone finally really showed me something beyond clinical courtesy.

I think people in the medical professional sometimes underestimate the value of breaking down that patient/caregiver barrier. It made an otherwise burdensome visit (which included a very uncomfortable probe by a tech who had a lot of difficulty finding my left ovary - seriously, it's like she was digging for clams) just that much better. And when you're feeling vulnerable and unsure, that much better is priceless.

Lise and Nadine, two nurses who cared for me after Thomas was born and died, were those kind of nurses. My Beloved and I were lost. We were both in shock and I was sick. We were alone and adrift in a strange, sad and very, very frightening world. Lise and Nadine were our anchors. I mean, we relied very heavily on our families who gave us constant and unwavering support, but Lise and Nadine were our lifelines at the hospital - that scary, sterile, anonymous behemoth. They took care of me - of both of us - as though we were their own. They talked to us, sat with us, laughed with us and quietly left us when we needed to cry. We were terrified, but they weren't afraid of us. They knew what needed to be said - even when it was to ask about funeral arrangements - and did so without flinching, and with a kindness I thought you needed a lifetime to cultivate.

I often think of them. I have no idea if they remember us, but one day I will find a way to make sure they know how they somehow managed to save me from drowning during those first terrible and totally unreal days.

What a priceless gift indeed.


Nikki said...

Im glad that the Nurse Trainee was able to make you feel a comfort and warmth it is amazing how something so simple by someone else can mean so much to another and I agree if sometimes they could put down that barrier they would see how much it can change a persons mood for the whole day. Im sure that the Nurses who comforted you during your darkest hours would remember you both as well as your precious Thomas and they know in there heart of hearts how much it meant to you.
I hope all goes well with your upcoming cycle and Im praying for a wonderful miracle to come upon you and S (((((HUGS))))

Jennifer said...

I'm so glad you got that breath of fresh air from the new nurse today. Sometimes, in the rush of knocking down tasks, us nurses can forget that at the very heart of nursing is what you experienced today. Presence. Nurturing. Compassion, and support, and TLC. That is what was at the heart of Florence Nightingale's work in the very beginning. I'm glad your nurse today was able to be all of that for you.

I also want to reassure you that your hospital nurses have *not* forgotten you or your beautiful Thomas. It is an honor for me to be present to all of the families I work with, but somehow it is always a special honor to provide care to a family who is grieving. I'm not sure I always do a very good job, like the nurses you mention clearly did, but I sure hope to be like them when I grow up.

Like Trainee said to you, "GOOD LUCK!!" :) I'm praying for you every single day, so so hard. May a miracle be yours once again.

miraclebaby said...

Isn't it a breath of fresh air when someone makes an effort to understand... and even if they can't, to care? I often think of becoming a nurse so I can help people like that.

Rosemarie said...

Health care professionals like that are few and far between. I'm glad you were lucky enough to find one. You certainly deserve it.