Tuesday, April 16, 2013
I had excellent nursing care each of the three times I had a baby. I have also worked with nurses in a residential facility for adults with mental retardation and developmental disabilities. And, as I have not yet been involved in a play that starts with the letter "N", I could not have come up with a better topic for today.
The first time was in 1996. I went into the hospital for a stress test on a Friday afternoon. My blood pressure had been giving me fits and the doctor said it would be best to just keep me there and induce delivery. Saturday morning at roughly 9:00 a.m., my water broke. I called a nurse and she said, "Well let's just check." I'm sure they would have had to check anyway, but I kind of took it as, "You're not a professional ..." I was a first-time mother-to-be, older than most, and scared as all ... um, get out, yeah, that's the word. Most of the time I did not even know I was in the same room. Sunday morning, shortly after 5:00 a.m., our little son was born. After the main event, my first question was, "WHEN CAN I EAT?" I had spent nearly two days consuming nothing but ice chips and this mama was h-u-n-g-r-y! A nurse offered to help me get out of bed and walk to the shower and called my husband over to get on the other side. I was all like "I can do this." About one second after my feet hit the floor, I found out that I was very, very wrong. And the nurse didn't even snicker.
The second delivery was in Texas in May of 1998. By that time there had already been numerous 100 degree plus days. We lived in Fort Worth and my doctor was in Arlington. On Memorial Day, I started feeling "puny", as one of my husband's uncles calls it, so we went to the ER of a local hospital. My blood pressure was 191/109. They decided to keep me for observation. Several hours later, they decided to induce. I couldn't get an epidural this time, because of a squirrely test result. And, since it was Memorial Day, there was no one in my doctor's office. Those poor nurses. I know I said a few things that I can't reprint here. My poor husband. I dislocated one of his fingers from squeezing his hand so hard, and have absolutely no recollection of it whatsoever. And I should've bought that post-op nurse a new pair of shoes, because I'm sure she wore holes in the ones she had bringing me juice whenever I was thirsty.
The third and last baby arrived two months early in February 2003. I went into one hospital; they transferred me to another one with a bigger NICU by ambulance. Thirty minutes after I arrived, I went into surgery for an emergency c-section. I was in maternity and my baby was in NICU, two floors below. I was able to go down the day after (in a wheelchair). There were big tub-like hand-washing basins at the entrance to NICU. Our daughter was in "room 3" of four rooms, with the higher numbers being more serious cases. I could only stick my hand in through a little hole and touch my baby. One nurse had two babies to look after, so they got excellent, excellent care. I do cringe however, even now when I think of the poor nurse that had to clean up after me, as while we were leaving, I tossed every cookie I had ever eaten into one of those big tub wash basins. When, two days after the delivery, I had such a bad migraine headache that I had to have someone pull the blinds and keep the room dim, a nurse gently reminded me that the morphine drip was at my control and that I could get a dose if I was in pain. And the angel who came to take out my metal staples kept up a steady stream of soothing words while she worked ... I hardly felt a thing.
I literally cannot say enough about the nurses with whom I worked, women and men both. They had all the pressures of any nurse, plus some related to the population whom we served. And the administration? Don't even get me started. Come to think of it, these brave people deserve their own post someday, and this one is too long already.
What I've been trying to say is that nurses have extremely demanding and stressful jobs. If you know one well enough to give them a hug, do it. If you don't know one that well, give them a "thanks" and a handshake. Believe me, they deserve it.