My angel on the night shift did not work nearly often enough for me but those few nights she did were the best of my hospital stay. Maybe because I learned to trust she could actually help me when everyone else failed, I could feel my body begin to relax when she first entered the room.
Not all nights began as that first night had. I remember one night particularly when in her cheerful way she asked me, "Would you enjoy a bath?"
Even though by this time my hospitalization had been at least two weeks, I probably had only had a sponge bath or two. Only requiring someone to draw water in a basin and fetch towels so I could do it myself, nurses so short staffed they were not meeting other basic needs meant a bath was practically unthinkable. The only time they happened was on the rare occasion a nurse looked at me long enough to realize I was pretty disheveled AND that nurse actually got the chance to get the components together before she was interrupted. With that kind of record, I jumped at the chance to get clean, have my hair washed, clean clothes and bedding.
Careful to assure I did not get chilled which would increase my pain, this nurse reshaped and rewrapped my warm cocoon in such a manner she could expose one part of me for washing while still protecting everything else in healing warmth.
She was so proficient at this task she effortlessly and quickly sailed through rearranging and moving on from one portion of my body to another without me ever experiencing even a wisp of a cold air or draft. How she managed to do this while including a thorough massage of each exposed area still eludes me but I remember the tension that accompanies extreme pain melting underneath her fingertips.
I really thought washing my hair would be a big obstacle but a waterless, rinse free shampoo cap with built in conditioner, warmed first in the microwave, made for a luxurious hair cleaning accompanied by a thorough scalp massage. The whole process left me feeling not only clean but thoroughly pampered.
My nurse even offered to blow dry my hair but exhausted from the bath I opted to have my wet hair carefully wrapped in multiple layers of warm towels so I could drift off to sleep before the tension of pain reclaimed the extremities of my body.
I remember as I lay there drifting off to sleep she was still bustling around the room putting things in order. All the while she sang softly to me, checking from time to time to see if I was asleep. If I wasn't she would ask if I had song requests. I don't think there was a single song or singer or group that I requested that she could fulfill and her voice was a beautiful as the rest of her.
Later I would think about this nurse and the manner in which she accomplished so much, in so little time and find myself wondering if her mood and efficiency were not somehow a little bit manic. However, that was never a concern nor a criticism for me, only me wondering how she managed to accomplish so much, in so little time and still be so cheerful.
Regardless of how she did it, I will be forever grateful. I learned some very useful tips to help minimize the effects of the ravages of extreme pain that have plagued me. She has helped me survive when those responsible for my care have let me down. I will never forget her.
To be continued......
Trying to Get Home