Friday, November 28, 2014

A Tribute to Past Patients

I love being a nurse.  I love the interaction that I have with my numerous patients, though, as I’ve stated before, I’ll always have a soft spot for those with Alzheimer’s. 

I honestly can’t even count the number of patients I’ve had that have touched my life.  Starting as a CNA, I began to realize how much these people influenced my life.  They made me look at life in a whole different way, and they gave me perspective.  Since it's the day after Thanksgiving, I thought I'd say thank you in the only way I know how.

So here’s to the older couple that taught me true love.  The husband always held his wife’s purse and oxygen while she pushed him in the wheelchair.  And they always ordered a dessert to split because they were just as in love as they were as newlyweds.

Here’s to the Doctor who always respected me because I was a nurse.  Even though he was technically my patient, he never failed to tell me that his career wouldn’t have been so successful without his nurses.  He showed me what a true relationship between Doctors and Nurses should be.

Here’s to the sweet lady who reserved her most brilliant smiles for me when we sat together for dinner.  She taught me the importance of slowing down and really enjoying every moment. 

Here’s to the man who believed he ran our facility.  He believed I was part of his staff, and he always told me how much he appreciated me, and he always offered to help me with whatever I needed.  He taught me what a true supervisor should be, and I try and follow his example now.

Here’s to the man who reminded me of my own father.  He made me realize that each one of my patients are related to someone else, and that each of them deserve the respect I would want my family to receive.

Here’s to the woman who told me stories while she ate.  I loved hearing them, even when they were the same stories every meal.  It makes me want to remember the important moments in my own life so that I can pass them on someday.

Here’s to the Engineer who never stopped fixing things.  Even when he couldn’t walk, he still knew how to use a screwdriver.  As someone told me the other day, “If you do something, you’re good for something.  If you do nothing, you’re good for nothing.”

Here’s to the little old lady who spoke to me in English although it wasn’t her primary language.  She was willing to learn and speak a foreign language, and she loved to teach it.  She taught me the importance of respecting culture, even if it’s from the same country.

Here’s to the older woman who fed her cat so much that he got fat and his extra dandruff gave her asthma.  She taught me that those cat ladies do exist.

I wish there was room or a way to acknowledge each one of them.  I wish there was a way to tell their story.  Because as I got to know each one of them, I realized that their disease had an even more devastating effect than most of the others.  They forgot who they truly were, what they’d accomplished in their lives, and they lost the ability to tell their story.

How about the rest of you?  Want to give a tribute to someone you knew with Alzheimer’s?  I’d love to hear their stories!