“Tell me a favourite memory from your travels,” my golden-haired nurse asked me as she scoured my bruised arms for an accessible vein. I’d blown another IV and options were limited.
Rachel Sunshine I called her, this wisp of a young woman who, at first hospital-glazed glance, glowed a with a yellow aura. So I told her about Arizona, and the Salt River where the wild horses roamed. She listened with awe, her expert hands painlessly setting up a new life line.
“Promise me, you’ll sleep tonight,” she scolded me, “and tomorrow I’ll braid your hair if you like.” And then: “But only if you tell me a story.” She wrote it on my care board so we’d both remember: story and braid
We’d bonded that first moment, when chastising herself for being a dummy. I blurted out: “Thank goodness you’re a dummy, then that makes two of us”.
I arrived in hospital the day before, delivered in what we oldies affectionately call “the bus”, with sirens ablaze. Steady hands worked diligently, plugging in machines, inserting needles, asking well rehearsed questions. There were tests and a lot of uncomfortable jostling and then admittance to this room around midnight. It hadn’t been quite forty-eight hours post surgery when everything had taken a turn for the worse.
The disgruntled ER doc mumbled something about why anyone would have sent me home post-surgery in my condition, and then kindly advised that my problems were caused by an obstruction in the intestine:
“Nothing can come in, and nothing can go out,” she explained. “No more food or drink orally until we know the cause.”
We never did get the story or the braid, Ms Sunshine and I, as overnight my body started to respond to interventions. By 7:00 am, I was sitting up, eating jello when Sunshine reappeared.
“I’m in IV prison,” I told her, raising my arm to indicate a stiffly wrapped hand.
“I heard,” she frowned. “I also heard you didn’t sleep. But there is progress and that’s good.”
The thing about Rachel is that she doesn’t just practice her craft from a textbook; she takes in all the cues being fed her, and listens. She is, in fact, no dummy.
When I again showed her my swelling arm (another line blown), she sighed and suggested we give the IV a break for a bit. And when she saw that rest would be the greatest healer of all right now, she pushed the doctor to reconsider my stay.
By 2:00 pm I was released; Sunshine at my back wishing me a speedy recovery.
So, I am back at home, having slept most of yesterday and last night. I am weak. I am battered. And I am a little bit better thanks to a nurse I’ve christened Rachel Sunshine.
It was warming and in some cases, cathartic, to wake today to your responses and posts. Paul, at parallax, challenged me to write about the caregiver who helped me through. Love you all, and missed our daily check-ins. So glad to be back.
Please check this week’s offerings if you haven’t had a chance. Thanks to all:
How Do I Heal, Blog of Hammad Rais
Homesick, I Write Her
Significance, Short-Lived, Eugi’s Causerie II
Take Care of the Old, Heart to Heart
Journey to Peace, Stuff and what is…
Take Care, parallax
How Some Take Care, Sgeoil
It will take me a bit to regain my footing, so there will be no challenge tomorrow, other than for all of us to take care this week.