My family is unfortunately familiar with hospital living. I was very sick after having Teagan and she was born at 34 weeks and in the NICU. At 14 months old Teagan got osteomyelitis that settled in the growth plate of her femur and she had two surgeries (4 total sedations including a picc line placement and MRI). I was placed on hospital bedrest for 3.5 weeks before the twins and the twins were in the NICU for 30 days and now cancer. I will say that throughout all of our hospitalizations there have only been a few (less than 5) nurses that we didn’t get along with. Was it a clash of personalities? Possibly. Were they having bad days? Maybe. Were they not paying attention to what they were doing and it made us mad? Sometimes. But overall, our nurses have been exceptional.
Our hospitalization for cancer with the twins has led us to meet more fantastic people, most of them our nurses. Now, it may be shocking to some of you that I can sometimes be perceived as “bitchy” (me?!). Add in a little stress sprinkled with lack of sleep and basically I’m the old step-mother from Cinderella and the nurses are Cinderella! (Not really – I do not boss them around, no hate messages please). Full disclosure, I have lost my cool a time or 6 on my nurse and not because they did anything wrong but because things that were out of either of our control happened. And in those instances they have always handled me with respect and kid gloves when I was most fragile. They understand that I’m not yelling AT them but rather the situation. (I always apologize!!)
Our nurses are there to answer constant questions about what they are doing, what med is being hung, how long should it last, is that a rash, do we have to do cap changes, did you wash that, don’t let that touch the floor, are you sure you washed your hands, is that the right med, is that the right baby for that med, and any other crazy question you can imagine.
Our nurses are there day in and day out. They are there when someone spikes a fever in the middle of the night, when the girls are puking feed after feed. They are there holding the girls down for procedures or for site care (and to cuddle them after). They are there for chemo and blood draws and antibiotics. They clean the girls up from vomit or explosive diapers. They are there for the pain cries and the itchy rashes. They advocate for the girls when there is a difference of opinion between the doctors and myself. They are there when the girls are happy and playing. For when they rolled over the first time and for when their counts came up. Our nurses have sat in a rocker rocking one of the girls all night so I could sleep. And have sat staring at them making sure they are breathing okay after a heavy amount of pain medications. They wash our clothes and help with dishes. They do all of these things to help take care of the girls, but I want to thank them for even more.
Our nurses have become a part of our story. A part of our family. They have sat with Aaron and I for hours talking about our lives, about their lives. They have kept me company when I’ve been lonely. Forced me to get out of the hospital when I needed it. They can tell if I’m having a rough day and do whatever they can to help make things easier on a mom who is fading. I can tell they truly care about the girls, when the girls have a tough day, so does our nurse. They celebrate our milestones and assure me it will be okay when we hit a low spot.
We are still in the trenches of our journey, but long after we are done with it, the nurses will still be a part of our family. I will never forget the friends I’ve made here and the people I’ve met. They have impacted our lives with their patience and kindness more than they even know.
So, to my children’s nurses, thank you. Thank you for putting up with my OCD momma-bear behavior, for answering my constant barrage of questions, for allowing me to watch you like a hawk without being a tad bit nervous, and most of all thank you for taking care of my babes like they were your own.
xo – Abby