When I was a kid I loved to read the Cherry Ames books. She was a nurse in various settings and had excellent adventures, often solving mysteries which were sometimes of the medical variety and sometimes not. These books were akin to the Nancy Drew books, but not as popular - or at least I didn't know of too many other who were into them like I was. Nancy Drew was just a girl with a keen mind, time on her hands and apparently unlimited resources, but Cherry Ames was making things happen with her career. When I think about it, she may have been the only professional woman character in pre-teen books back in the dark ages of my youth. I thought Cherry Ames was really something.
Because of Cherry Ames, I thought I had a pretty good idea what it was like to be a nurse in various settings. I read about her as an army nurse, a student nurse, a visiting nurse and even a department store nurse. (Department store nurse? Now you'd need one after seeing the prices. Cherry would be BUSY!)
Then Maggie was born and I met many of the real Cherry Ames of the world, nurses in so many different roles doing so many important things. Without nurses in our lives, Maggie would not be able to live at home, or go to school. Let's face it, without nurses, Maggie probably would not even have survived infancy, and would certainly not be thriving as she is today.
Maggie was whisked off to the Newborn Intensive Care Nursery within moments of her birth. In there I met my first Intensive care nurses, who were so incredible and so highly trained. Carol, Ginny, Amy, Ann (no E) and Anne and so many others were Maggie's earliest nurses and they helped me deal with the shock of Maggie's congenital problem while teaching me how to care and advocate for her. They taught me to question the doctors when I felt the need and I haven't shut up since.
They were the first in a long line of nurses that have been in our lives every single day since Maggie was born. There are critical care nurses in the various ICU's, acute care nurses on the floor of the hospitals, chronic care nurses every single day at home. There have been nurse practitioners at the various specialists and nurses in the doctors offices. There are nurses at the insurance company, nurses who are case managers at the hospital and at the various government agencies with which we deal.
There have been several school nurses who make it possible for Maggie to attend school. And for those of you who might have the wrong idea, the school nurse is not the lady in the office who hands out band aids and calls your mom when you throw up. They are in the classroom giving kids a chance at some normalcy in life.
I'll bet I have conversed with thousands of nurses over the years and at least two or three every single day.
Nurses come in all shapes, colors, sizes, and temperaments. They are men and women, tall and short, fat and thin, nice and mean, strict and not. They are as varied as any group of people you will ever encounter, But every single one - even the mean ones - are compassionate and skilled.Without exception, these people have helped us - both Maggie and the rest of the family (especially me).
I appreciate everything they do for Maggie and for all of us. I don't say it often enough, but I do appreciate it with every fiber of my being.
This is nurse appreciation week. Get out there and kiss a department store nurse!