A recent visit with my parents reunited me with my lamb’s wool rug.
The rug was given to me by my first nurse, Mrs. Sweeney. She draped it across the foot of my hospital bed to soothe my sore feet after my spondylolisthesis surgery. Mrs. Sweeney’s kind face was there as I emerged from the sleepy web of anesthesia. She offered me minty mouthwash to swish away the cottony-dry after-taste in my mouth, and I will never forget her tender care during those initial, hazy post-op days.
Nursing is like any other occupation. There are those that just put in the hours, and those that go above and beyond the call. Mrs. Sweeney was in the latter category, and so were ‘Paul’ and Jeannie.
After each of my spinal surgeries, Dr. Keim prescribed 24-hour private nursing care. ‘Paul’ was my night nurse during my spondylolisthesis recovery. When we first met, she told me – with her beautiful island accent -- to call her Paul (her husband’s name) because most people could not pronounce her given name. Although I slept through most of Paul’s shift, she was always there when I needed her – encouraging, caring, smiling.
When I graduated to solid food after my scoliosis surgery, Jeannie noticed that I was no fan of hospital cuisine. I don’t like eggs, yet that seemed to be the default breakfast item and it was rare that I would eat more than one or two things from each meal tray.
“So what do you eat for breakfast?” Jeannie asked.
“Toast, with butter and grape jelly.”
“Peanut butter and jelly on toast.”
Every morning thereafter a plate of buttered toast with grape jelly graced my breakfast tray. And when the lunch menu was not to my liking, Jeannie brought me PB&J on toast. I thought she was requesting these “delicacies” on my behalf from the hospital cafeteria. But I later learned that Jeannie had bought bread, butter, peanut butter and jelly and prepared them for me in the nurses' lounge. And, if that weren’t enough, the night before I was casted, she smuggled two slices of New York pizza in for my dinner.
Mrs. Sweeney, Paul and Jeannie set the nursing bar very high. Now, at night, as my feet snuggle into lamb’s wool, I’m so thankful that they did.
11 hours ago