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To the Nurses Who've Seen Me Through the Best and Worst of Times

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During my time at the Mayo Clinic, I’d always pass a sign that said, “To our patients, Mayo is another word for hope.”  Some days I was honestly convinced Mayo was another word for Hell.

During one of my worst days there, I went to the ambulatory infusion center to get my IV, and luckily, I got one of my favorite nurses.

She greeted me with a huge smile, and said “Hey Taylor! I sure have missed you!” (She was convinced I looked like Taylor Swift, so since the day I met her she always referred to me as “Taylor.”)

We talked as she put in my IV, I poured my heart to her about how crappy my day had been, and she came back and talked to me whenever she had a break.

A couple hours in, she let me know when she was leaving for her lunch break, since my IVs typically run up to four hours. When she came back, she handed me a Kit-Kat and said, “I know you don’t have any dietary restrictions. So when I saw this candy bar I thought it might make your day! Remember you are the ‘Kit’ to my ‘Kat.’”

When I thought truly everyone in the medical profession, and maybe in this world was callus and cruel, that little act of kindness literally restored my faith in the humanity.

While I’ve seen multiple posts lately about cruel things nurses have done, and I have had some less than pleasant experiences, I’ve been lucky enough to come in contact with some amazing nurses (like that nurse at the Mayo Clinic).

Ones who made me laugh on days that I thought were doomed to be full of misery.

Ones who have gone out of their way to make sure I was OK.

Ones who have held my hand during the toughest times in my life, and have left a lasting imprint on my heart.

One of my absolute favorite memories was when a nurse came in to check on me, and I must have looked pretty bad, because she looked at me and said, “Sweetheart are you OK, you don’t look very good!” I looked at her and responded with a sigh, “No I am not OK.” Her eyes widened with concern because I never say I’m not OK. She tenderly asked me what was wrong, and with a pain-filled sigh I revealed to her how a guy I liked didn’t respond well when I told him how I felt through text.

The rest of the time I was there getting my IV, that nurse, and a couple of other nurses heard what was going on, would come in when they had a free moment, and help me decipher what this boy’s text messages truly meant, and then give me advice on how to respond to him.

From the many hours I’ve spent in the hospital, I’ve learned nurses are always ready to help no matter what the situation — and some of them are fantastic dating coaches!

Nurses also see us at our absolute worst.

I’ve often wondered how nurses keep their cool during some of the not-so-pleasant situations they are put in, and how many embarrassing moments they witness.

One night in particular, I had my most embarrassing, non-drug induced moment in the hospital, and I was so grateful for the nurse that got me through it.

When I came to the ER, I was extremely sick — dizzy, nauseous, and very weak. The doctor wanted me to get some CT scans done of my stomach. So the nurse helped me into a wheelchair, and wheeled me to the changing room. I got sick, and let’s just say what I put into the empty “used gown” garbage can definitely wasn’t a used gown.

The nurse knocked on the door and asked in a concerned voice if I was OK. I responded that I was, but I apologized profusely. I was so embarrassed that because of me they were going to have to clean the “used gown” can. The nurse chuckled and assured me it was fine, telling me not to worry.

I was really embarrassed and I knew the X-ray technician was right there, so I didn’t want want to say out loud what just happened. My cheeks flushed bright red. As I opened the door just a crack, and motioned for the nurse to come closer, I said to her as quietly as I could, “My bra is all tangled up in my IV pole, can you help me?”

I could see her trying to choke back laughter as she came into the little room and spent about six minutes untangling my bra. Then with a smile on her face, she helped me up from the little bench, and let me balance on her until I got to the wheelchair. At the CT machine she helped me get up and on to the bed. During the whole time, she and the technician talked with me about life, helped me feel comfortable, and acted as though nothing out of the ordinary had even happened.

You have no idea how grateful I was for both of them that night. Especially for that nurse. I am a very proud girl, and that night I was so scared, so sick, and filled with embarrassment.

In all honesty, in many unforeseen situations, and in many different ways, nurses have helped me get through my hardest days.

Sometimes it’s the little ways, like giving a Kit Kat, or when they helped me and my friend Rachel schedule our IVs at the same time, and then did an “IV photo shoot” to help pass the time.

On one special day in particular, I felt awful medically. All I had gotten that day was bad news about my health. That day, I felt the exact opposite of brave. It wasn’t like usual, where I told myself that even though this is hard, I can handle this. On this day I didn’t know if I could take another step my medical journey.

I forced a smile as I gave the nurse my IV order. As she walked me to my room, she smiled at me and said, “Megan I admire you so much. Even with everything you go through, you smile and remain positive. You never give up. ”

She will never know how badly I needed to hear those words that day.

Nurses have a very special chance to touch people’s lives. While doctors play an important part in medicine, nurses are often the ones who are right by patients’ sides during some of scariest times in their life.

We rely so much on nurses during our worst moments, that I think we often forget they are human. Sometimes there’s going to be mistakes, or they’re going to say the wrong thing.

But in the end, the love most nurses put into their work is extraordinary.

To the the nurses who have greatly impacted my life, thank you for letting me vent. You have so much going on in your life, yet you still take the time to listen, and show me that there still is a lot of good in this world.

Thank you for sharing stories about your life, so that for a brief moment I could escape the fear, pain and illness was consuming on my mind.

Thank you for reminding me that even though my situation is tough, and the furthest thing from fair, that I am strong and will get through this.

Thank you, despite all you have to do, for being there.

Thank you for showing me you care.

Throughout the years, patients might not always remember who you are, or what you looked like, but I promise they will always remember how you made them feel.

Thank a nurse. They truly deserve it.

Smile on.

Originally published: October 5, 2018
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