My Father's Daughter

Why I love (and hate) nurses

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I am not the same woman I once was. I am short one appendix. No one knows why you have an appendix. Did you know that? I mean, I knew they could be removed, that they didn’t really do anything, but no one even knows why you have it. Why we would ever have it. Isn’t that weird?

Weirder still is the fact that for some people, for one reason or another this useless organ suddenly becomes so inflamed it must be removed before it bursts. Why? Why did my appendix do that to me? I fear I may not be a good candidate for true suffering — if I’d had any money I would have told the triage nurses where it was after the first, I don’t know, 2 – 3 hours of being in the ER. If I were Catholic I would insist that purgatory is an emerg waiting room – especially while you are groaning from the affects of appendicitis, with CNN muted on the TV in front of you so that you are reminded of the grandiose worldwide suffering, while someone who is “differently abled” mentally complains about her own, self-diagnosed appendix troubles that you know haven’t brought her to this ER for the first time as she seems to be a regular, and two chipper university students prattle on about hair dye and parties and boys and classes and exams and housemates. Not the most fun seven hours of my life. Those mean triage nurses – I don’t think they truly “got” my pain.

But all the nurses after that, those nurses I love. The ones who spoke kind words and offered me help and comfort and gave me the morphine! The ones who treated me with dignity and kindness while helping me in and out of hospital gowns. I think nurses are under appreciated. I think that has to be one of the hardest jobs. You see a lot of people at their worst and must continually respond to them with care and concern. Wow. I think if I treated the people I interact with on a daily basis with the same kindness that the nurses who saw me at my worst did it would make a real difference in my life. It sure made a difference to me in my suffering. And since I don’t know what kind of private suffering those around me might be in, it’s just good practice to treat their hearts with nursely care.

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