Today I got a chance to walk down memory lane as I visited a patient at the same hospital where my mom was a patient 33 years ago. As I got out of the elevator and turned to head toward the patient's room, it hit me. "This is the floor mom was on. This is the corridor I walked down the day I rushed to the hospital after finding out (from a phone call from my dad) that her cancer was malignant." I walked past room after room, my head buzzing with the memory of that day, of the emotions I felt, and of the nurse who cared for my mom. It was her care that lifted me up, reassured me that she cared about my mom, that she understood what I was going through–even at the tender age of 23. She made a difference to me.
Fast forward to 2014. I've been a nurse for 28 years now. Every day I think of the impact that I, and other nurses, can make on a patient, on a family member, and on their experience in the healthcare system. And occasionally, like tonight, I think of Marsha, my mom's nurse, and I thank her. Not only for caring for my mom during her diagnostic workup (back in the days when they did those types of things as an inpatient), but for letting me know that she cared about me. That when I arrived on the floor that day, she saw me, knew what I knew, and made sure my mom and I had a quiet, private space to be together.
Such a simple gesture, but 28 years later, I realize what a huge gesture it was.
Three month's later, mom was dead.
Never underestimate the power that one act can have on someone's life. I was reminded of that tonight.
Thank you again, Marsha.