Yesterday, I had a moment to remember why it is that I work 12-hour shifts full of physically and mentally (and sometimes emotionally) strenuous work and strange, smelly substances that the "rest of you" don't even know about.
In our ICU, we had a patient who was extremely ill and remained that way from around Halloween to around Valentine's day. Mr. G was unstable and uncomfortable and distressed for much of that period of time. He had had more surgeries than I can even count, but I personally remember sending him to surgery 3 days in a row at one point. He was difficult to take care of physically due to his high number of drains and IV's and frequent need for linen changes. We transferred him to a longer-term hospital in the early Spring, and everyone felt sad to see him and his wife leave our unit. All the nurses on the staff had cared for him at some point, I'm certain. He had a new grandchild, and I remember that I was caring for him the day after the baby was born, and I remember thinking "He'll likely never know this baby..." We decorated his room with Holiday Decorations at Christmas because we did not want "his last Christmas" to go un-recognized.
So yesterday, in walks a woman and her healthy-appearing, upright-walking, smiling husband. No one recognized him. When he introduced himself, there was a generalized hubbub and happiness among the staff. Mr. G is now back at work, and playing with his Grandchild, and was thanking us for helping to "make this the greatest Christmas ever."
I am grateful to Mr. G and his wife for sharing themselves (and their cookies...which he baked himself!) with us. Seeing this couple validated for us all exactly the purpose of what we are doing here...and that all our hard work is not in vain. I feel motivated to stick with Nursing, throughout it's trials and difficulties, because at least once last year, God used my hands to heal someone and return him back to his family and his life.