Stories and thoughts about family and life


on May 22, 2015

I’m in the hospital with my mom this week.  As I’m walking down the hall to get a drink for my dad and me, I watch these young nursing students bounce down the hall behind their instructor with the enthusiasm I would expect at an amusement park.  They’re bright-eyed, taking it all in, and hanging on the every word of their instructor.

This prompted me to text my friend Steve, and tell him how much I appreciate him, nurses, in general, and anyone who cares for people in this type of setting.

I never imagined I would be a “caregiver.”  Not in my wildest dreams.  I didn’t want to be a nurse, or a teacher, or any of those professions who had to watch for people over the course of a day.  Shoot, I wasn’t sure I even wanted kids until I was approaching 30.  I guess I just don’t have that “maternal” gene.  All I can say is God bless those of you who do.

My mother isn’t feeling well, as is true of all the people in the hospital.  She doesn’t want to be here.  Shoot, I don’t want to be here either.  She’s not comfortable, and the more she fidgets in her bed, or complains about her IV, or rolls her eyes when someone comes in and wants her to offer her arm up for one more blood draw, the more I feel her pain.

My friend Steve laughs as he texts me back.  He says I just need to remember that nurses are seeing people on their worst days, and they just want them to feel better.  I take that in as I sit in the room and watch the next flurry of people:  doctors, nurses, someone to clean the room, someone to change the bed, now another doctor, now the person to give out morning meds, the person handing out meals, etc.  It seems even busier today than it was yesterday, honestly, and it was pretty busy yesterday.

There isn’t a person we’ve encountered that hasn’t been respectful, helpful, and tender in their delivery.   If they get sidetracked and it takes them a minute to come to the room, they are apologizing for the delay.  They offer to take care of me too, and the thoughtfulness is certainly not lost on me.    As someone sitting in the room of a patient, you become tired and irritable.  Your routine is upset and you’re scared to leave the room and miss a doctor update.  You’re tired and you can’t explain why.  You shouldn’t be so tired, you tell yourself.  You’ve just been sitting all day.  I’ll tell you, though, it’s exhausting.  I don’t know why, but it certainly is.

As I watch this flood of people walk in and out of the room, or I encounter them in the hallway as I did this group of bright-eyed nurses this morning, I realize how sometimes we don’t understand why we choose the professions we do, but luckily I wasn’t drawn to anything like this.  I feel blessed to be surrounded by people who care so much, and it’s not that I don’t—I just don’t think I could do it daily to the level these folks do.

So, take a minute and hug a nurse today.  Tell them you appreciate them and all the people who carry the torch.  You never know when it will be you sitting in a hospital room or caring for a loved one, depending on a nurse to keep you informed and take care of your needs.


One response to “Caregiving

  1. Tammy says:

    Shirley, I know right where you’re coming from and I completely agree. My husband was in SVI here in Hot Springs for a week earlier this month. All of his nurses were great, but one in particular made us feel as if we were friends chatting in the living room. And that’s hard to do when one of you is in a hospital bed attached to all kinds of things, and the other is in the most uncomfortable chair ever!

    Thank you nursing staff!

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