As I wrote in my earlier post, I had a fragile child. Yep, that’s “had” – I am relieved (and thankful!) to say that Rachel’s fragile years appear to be well behind her. These days, the chatter in our house is all about graduation, summer plans and prom dress shopping – a far cry from the lab results, doctor appointments and medication scheduling that monopolized the conversation 17 years ago.
My daughter’s future promises to be bright and healthy. This is due, in no small part, to the talent and commitment of a small army of dedicated, compassionate nurses who kept Rachel alive, me sane, and my family together during those dark days before, during and after her transplant. This post is a poor and humble thanks to them, and to all nurses like them, who help families like mine when we need it the most.
So thanks to Lori, who helped me hold my daughter the first day following her transplant. Rachel’s little body was so full of tubes, drains and wires that I could barely get my arms around her. I demurred, fearing I might hurt her; Lori, knowing better, sat me in a rocker, bundled Rachel up (tubes and all) and gently laid her in my arms. Stupefied, I watched the monitors as her heart rate and respiration slowed, and her little body relaxed. “That’s what she needed,” Lori said, smiling. “She needed her mother.”
Thanks to Lisa, Rachel’s nighttime nurse, who, after many a rough and sleepless night, would post a sign on our door that said “You wake her, you take her” – and then patrol the hall in front of our door to enforce it.
And thanks Nola, who stayed after her shift on the day that half of Rachel’s new liver died, just to hold my hand and keep me company while Tim made the five-hour drive to the hospital so that I wouldn’t have to wait alone.
Having a child in the hospital taught me that pediatric nurses don’t just treat their patients – they treat the families, too. Yes, they care for those little bodies with unwavering skill and care. But they treat the hearts and souls of the parents, too. My family was blessed to have nurses like Lori, Lisa and Nola helping each of us to endure, survive and heal.
Is there a nurse who has made a difference in your life, or in the life of a loved one? In honor of Nurses Week, please share your story with us here.
Erica Butler is VP of Marketing for HALO Innovations. When she’s not working to spread the word on safe sleep, she’s at home with her husband, Tim, children Rachel and Jake, and golden retriever, Gunner. Pictured above is Rachel with her evening nurse Judy.
Read more about Erica's story in her previous post to that HALO Crib Notes blog: Raising a Fragile Chile: Raise a child not an invalid