My Appreciation for Nurses

nurse looking in child's ear In honor of National Nurses Week, I thought I would take some time to reflect on my own personal experiences with nurses. If you follow this blog, you know that I have written extensively about the challenges we have faced with our son, Owen, who was born with a multicystic kidney and tracheal esophageal fistula (TEF).

It was a nurse who first suspected my son’s TEF. While we had known about Owen’s multicystic kidney prior to his birth, we did not learn of his TEF until about 36 hours after he was born. It was a very astute nurse who put together the clues and suggested that the resident get an x-ray in the middle of the night. Her hunch was right. And, I am grateful that he was diagnosed as early as he was.

It was a nurse who helped me put Owen’s medical situation into perspective. After Owen’s TEF diagnosis was confirmed, he was transferred by ambulance to our local children’s hospital. Once the frenzy of his transfer died down, I found myself shell-shocked, staring at his little body in the hospital crib thinking, “Not one major birth defect, but two?! How did this happen?! Did I do this?!” Just as I was lost in my thoughts, his NICU nurse leans in and says, “Look around. Your son is a ROCK STAR. He’s over 8 pounds and you will be leaving here with your son. Many parents here aren’t that lucky.” And, like that, I felt like I could handle this.

It was a nurse who made me feel like an actual mother for the first time since Owen was born. During that first month in the NICU, Owen had 2 surgeries and a tough time getting off of the feeding tube and learning how to feed by mouth. When he was finally transferred to a step-down floor, I walked right past him when he was in a stroller. It never occurred to me that he could go in a stroller. He was too fragile! He had things wrong with him! He just had two surgeries! But a nurse new better. She bundled him up for me to walk him around our floor. It was a normal motherly activity. I never thought we could be like that –like everyone else. And, I cried as I proudly walked Owen in circles around the unit showing him off to anyone who looked remotely interested.

It has been many nurses who have taken care of me. During Owen’s many hospitalizations, nurses have often told me to eat, to get some sleep, to go get some fresh air, you name it. Clearly, my care does not fall under their jurisdiction, but so many nurses have also kept a kind, caring eye on me. And, I am appreciative.

Thanks to all of the nurses out there!

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