Thursday, March 6, 2014

When I was a little girl, I spent more time than usual in a hospital. My dad spent 3 months in the hospital after a terrible accident. I was Florence Nightingale.  For Christmas that year, I got a navy blue nurses cape, a medical kit (complete with candy pills), and a hat. I could not wait to get to the hospital and “treat” my dad. He was such a good sport. The nurses would take me on rounds with them visiting patients, going to the Pharmacy, the Lab. It was a fit. They loved me. I loved them. I just wanted to bring a smile to the face of someone who didn’t want to be there.  And I could!
In the last 4 months, my husband has had 3 surgeries. I am his Florence Nightingale. I am his nurse.  I love to anticipate his needs and deliver before he has a chance to ask. “How did you know?” he’ll say. I just do – I feel it. I don’t want him to have to ask. He is already in a humbled state. To have to ask is even more difficult, so I spare him. God tells me – I deliver. And then we smile.
The surprising thing is that when I was a little girl, the hospital was a place of healing.  A place of peace. We would go home at night knowing that our Dad was in the best care. My mother slept peacefully. The hospital was the cleanest, most efficiently run, safest place to be. And now in 2014, the temptation, is for it to be a place to fear. New strains of viruses that do not respond to antibiotics; nurses working 12 hour shifts for 3 days at a time (2 of them were pregnant); the fact that I would not sleep unless I was in my husband’s room on a cushioned cot that was much slimmer than I was uncomfortable (and that is being kind).  I knew if I was there his ‘button’ would be answered; the beeping IV machine would be silenced (because I did it and then called the nurse), everyone was ‘on their toes,’ because “the wife is here.” So be it. It was a small price to pay and the reward was (besides the achy joints) a grateful husband. 
Nurses, like teachers, do not make nearly enough. How do you compensate someone who is there in a heartbeat, giving reassurance, medicine, water, a blanket, food, a good word? How do you compensate someone who spends more time with your children than you? There isn’t enough money in the world.
I changed my mind. I decided that the hospital would once again be my friend. I noticed the pains taken to make it sterile, clean, peaceful, homey, safe. I decided to be thankful.
It is more than a profession; it is a calling. The answer is:  the compensation is more than dollars. It is going home after your long shift (or day in the classroom), bone tired but knowing that you gave it your all. My husband and I could tell the difference between the ones who met their calling and the ones who had chosen a career. It’s in the heart. The smile. The warm eyes. The extra mile. It is what pushed me all day today to do “one more thing.” Meet that need. It is what God has taught me my whole life. And the compensation is a satisfied soul. The acknowledgment that you made a difference. You are appreciated. And if not by the paycheck, by your Heavenly Father. “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

My needs are met.  I am thankful.  My husband is home. 

1 comment:

  1. This is so beautiful. Such a great post. -KBS ;)