I head up the hall on the fourth floor chemo ward. I notice a group of doctors outside my sister’s room. Anxiety builds as I walk toward them. As I approach closer, they begin to disperse, nodding at me as I enter the room. I take up my station alongside my sister’s bed. She is sleeping.
I have come to realize that hospitalization is a waiting game. Everything in the room is foreign, yet familiar. I glance at the IV bags, the electronic monitors and sensors. The various contraptions are impersonal and yet instrumental in aiding the patient’s recovery. Soon the nurse returns, and I feel a sense of relief. She says she needs to take my sister’s vitals. She smiles and assures me that my sister will be fine. The gentle words assuage my fears for now.
The unsung heroes of the hospital are the nurses. Much like teachers, these selfless souls are in the trenches of caregiving and are rarely paid adequately. These professionals are on the forefront of healing. From dispensing drugs, adjusting equipment, cleaning bed pans, sponge bathing, or moving a helpless body, the nurses become the crucial ingredient in the realm of medical practice, without them the system would implode.
I have watched, first hand, for the past six weeks, the daily routine of the nurses and nurse’s aides. They blend comfort with care. This perseverance and patience defines a better sense of grace. The patient’s fate is ultimately in the hands of those that are directly dealing with a patient’s needs.
I nod off in my chair. My sister is sleeping. An hour passes and nurse Lauren returns and starts to administer the care and love each and every soul deserves. I hear her soft and assuring voice whisper, “Come on, Jen. It’s time for your medications. You know you need to get well for me.” The words seem to drift from head to heart, and a new hope arises in Room 535.