My Third Shift Wise Woman

Recently, I spent two and a half weeks in the hospital. While there I had two major surgeries; one to repair and hopefully improve my spine, the second to stabilize the work from the first.

Needless to say, I was in a great deal of pain, unless I was knocked out with pain killers. However, I didn't want to rely on them too much. They messed with my head and made me violently ill. The latter's never a pleasant condition, especially when you're cut open and sewed up, front and back. What I found unfortunate about my hospital stay was my condition led a few who were caring for me to dismiss me as a thoughtful person. To those few, I was a lump of meat with a patient wristband.

Anyway, while there I met my most recent Wise Woman--a third shift RN with years of experience and a heart so generous she brightened the night-darkened room whenever she entered. Tiny, a red-haired sprite, unafraid to wear her slight smile wrinkles with pride and let her compassion for those who suffered show in her eyes.

On a night after a misery-filled day, made worse because of my altercation with a day shift nurse when I had no one to advocate for my needs other than myself, this generous woman listened to my tale, washed my face with warm water, made me comfortable in bed with clean linen on my pillows, and sat with me until I calmed down.

Her manner told me she understood my concerns. She felt my pain and believed I wasn't a patient with a number/code and diagnosis but a real human being who understood what was going on around her and didn't appreciate some of it. She promised she'd do what she could and this situation wouldn't happen again. (And it didn't.)

She made me feel strong again, or stronger. And more in control of my environment.

She of the reddish hair and wise ways knew more of helping patients to heal than her education might indicate. I believe my true healing began that night. I learned the wise ways of comforting words, gentle actions, soothing words to get a person back on track and feeling in control. I learned from others on the floor that this woman was all I thought she was and more. Her wisdom and experience was appreciated by her patients as well as the professional medical staff. How lucky for that floor and its patients that this Wise Woman chooses to continue in her profession.

How lucky for me, she crossed my path when I needed her most.

Mary Jo

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