The Mighty Logo

To the Nurse in the SpongeBob Scrubs

The most helpful emails in health
Browse our free newsletters

To the nurse in the SpongeBob scrubs,

It was 2005, and I was 8 at the time. Terribly frightened at everyone who approached me that day. I sat in the waiting area with the white medical bracelet squeezing my stuffed monkey, waiting to be admitted for another surgery.

From there, needles and IVs, pre-op prep, gross medicines and scary doctors with white coats filled the room.

I remember tears of fear filled my tired eyes. I didn’t understand much, I was just a little kid. I didn’t know the depth of how serious this day was. Heart surgery #2, one of the longest, I would undergo. The only thing I distinctly remember is being mad that morning that I couldn’t eat my usual breakfast of cereal and milk in the morning with orange juice and had to wake up at 5 a.m. to travel to the hospital. That drive, it always felt so long, but that day it felt extra long.

After I got admitted, through the tears and the chaos, a nurse I vaguely remember wearing SpongeBob scrubs appeared.

She kindly walked over to me, and saw how upset I was. She took the time to play with me and sing songs as we waited for the OR to be ready. We colored and I cried a little, but she assured me it was OK, wiping my tiny tears with the softest tissues.

But I continued to cry and cry. Then she did something that was simply amazing. Something that an 8-year-old who had no concept of that day’s events could remember years and years later…

She took off her SpongeBob scrub jacket and gave it to me to wear. Complete with a hospital ID badge and special flashlight pen in my pocket. I vividly remember sitting in the pre-op area spinning in the wheely chair, in the full scrub outfit. For a moment my tears dried and I was actually smiling and laughing.

For that moment, I forgot I was in a hospital, awaiting one of the biggest surgeries of my life.

To the nurse in the SpongeBob scrubs:

Your kindness and love took me out of the hospital setting and back into being a kid for just a moment.

It’s nurses like you who change people’s lives.

Thinking back to that day today, I wish I knew who you were so I could say thank you. Even though there are no words for all you did…

Thank you for going above and beyond and being the one person who brightened my day 13 years ago. For letting me just be a kid.

Thank you. From the bottom of my mended heart .

Whoever you are, just know you were one of the people who gave me courage to fight on all these years, through this long dreaded disease of CHD.

The last thing I remember from that day was taking the sleepy medicine, in my SpongeBob scrubs. The medicine began to make me giggly and I can still remember it to this day, and as I closed my eyes you and my parents were beside me singing the SpongeBob theme song in my ear as I slowly fell asleep.

Follow this journey on Eileen’s Instagram support group.

Originally published: May 8, 2018
Want more of The Mighty?
You can find even more stories on our Home page. There, you’ll also find thoughts and questions by our community.
Take Me Home