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Today... today I am your nurse.
I have seen a lot of tragedy and triumph over the last 37 years. Some days I feel as if I have seen too much. I have seen a husband come into the hospital and watched his wife walk out of it a widow. Every time I see a daughter or a son lose their father I remember back to the day I lost my dad. When I see a child lose their mother I hurry home and call my mom thanking God and so grateful for one more day with her. Our hearts hurt just like yours. Sometimes, our coping skills are terribly misunderstood. To hospital visitors it may appear we laugh at inappropriate times, and we do. Trouble is we have to. It’s not because we don’t care. It’s because most of us care too much. We know that one day we will be where you are today. It’s how we survive. This invisible wall we erect keeps the heart from breaking and the tears from flowing uncontrollably. It’s how we wake up tomorrow as nurses and face another day and another and another.
It hurts my heart to know that the laws of this great country prevent nurses from praying with their patients. I do not believe it has always been that way. I think our forefathers had more sense than we seem to have today. These silly laws may prevent me from praying with you but it does not prevent me from praying for you. You don’t have to know but God knows and He listens and hears and He answers. Sometimes the Healer of our souls says no. Those are my hardest days at work. Letting go is never easy. Necessary, but never easy.
One thing I can promise you is that I will never give up as long as there is one ray of hope left. If there truly is no hope our focus as nurses changes to allowing you to leave this world with dignity and as little pain as possible.
Some day’s life makes no sense and some day’s death makes even lesser sense. Why do we fear death so much? Not all of us do. Death is a final declaration that the party is over. There is no turning back. The choices we made in our lifetime suddenly take on tremendous significance. You are now accountable for your life. There are only two ways to die: with Him or without Him. If you have lived your life on your own terms, living as if God doesn’t exist, then you have every reason to be afraid. I would be too. To those of us of faith, death is a part of life. It is not the end. It is a transition not to be feared. Why? Because God says don’t be afraid. And I believe Him. One day you close your eyes on this earth and open them up to the glory of God’s heaven, only to discover you are home… for all eternity. You look up and there He is, holding His arms open to receive and welcome you and you notice there are nail prints in those precious Hands. Nail prints put there by man. Yes, it was all true. It happened just as God said it did. The words of the Psalmist become a reality. “Yes, even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death I will not fear, for You are with me.” How comforting to know we don’t have to take that final journey alone. Yet, there are those who will only because they choose to.
For now, death is our enemy. Not until we come to the end do we realize how precious life really is. Death is a very hated enemy, especially when it comes too soon. Parents aren’t supposed to bury their children. But death never has been a respecter of persons. I know one day we will all die, but I hope when my time comes the physicians and nurses caring for me are tenacious in trying to give me one last chance at life. Why? Because sometimes we win. Sometimes we send the angel of death running. Sometimes we beat the odds and the end as we know it is saved for a later time.
Knowing that we can win makes it possible for nurses and physicians to return tomorrow and the next day and the next.
How do I know sometimes we win? Right now, as I sit at my computer writing, my little twin grandsons, Cody and Austin, who are now three years old, are trying to crawl up in my lap and hit the delete button. I hug them and they squeal. Their little voices are music to my ears. To see them today you would never know how close to death they both were.
When my grandsons turned one year old, my daughter and I sent some See’s candy to the nurses and the doctors at Woman’s Hospital of Texas which read, “I know your job is hard and some days you might feel like giving up…but here are two good reasons why you can’t.” Enclosed was a picture of my grandsons in their Superman and Batman costumes, hamming it up for the camera, “my lil Texas peanuts.”
Always remember to never give up and never stop praying because there are days we do win.Those can far outweigh the days we don’t.
Each new day beckons us to take one more step closer to the Lord and to make a commitment to Him more serious than the one before.
With God there is no such thing as just an ordinary day.
You don’t have to give up unless you choose to.
Today... today I am your nurse.