I grew up with a nurse for a mother. This meant that if one of us, my sister, brother, or I fell and scraped our knee, it was tough love we were going to receive. It meant that dinner conversations would include blood and guts. And it meant that if anyone in the neighborhood needed stitches removed or a medical consultation, all they needed to do was knock on number 1228’s door.
My mother would work long night shifts at a local hospital and then have to come home to three children who needed constant interaction while her husband went off to work. She would take us to a movie, local pool, or to the park with little to no sleep under her belt.
I just recently found out that the movies were her favorite choice of entertainment because the darkness allowed for her to catch up on some of her sleep without our knowledge. Looking back now, I can’t say that it mattered if she slept or not. She was there with us; that is what truly mattered.
It was probably my mother’s conversations about her patients that stick out most in my head. No matter how hard she had worked, there was always a patient that would put a smile on her face and make getting up and heading to work a little easier. This is probably the reason that years later I became a nurse. It was listening to her get excited about when someone very sick did well or see her emotion when one did not.
Today I found out that a pediatric patient of mine received a new heart and that the surgery went better than anyone expected. I now share that same excitement my mother showed me long ago. Thanks to the woman who, during her summer vacation at the beach, did CPR on a stranger who had a heart attack, performed the Heimlich maneuver on my classmate in second grade, and stitched my brother up after jumping off the porch thinking he could fly like Mary Poppins, I can proudly say that I am a nurse.