Saturday, August 18, 2012

Happy Nurses Day

Rebecca's Nurses Day presents are flourishing

It isn’t really Nurses Day.  That comes in April on Florence Nightingale’s birthday.  It used to be that hospitals gave their nurses some sort of gift on Nurses Day.  This would often be some really useful item like a pen on a string, to be worn around the neck so as to never be lost.  Often the pen would even have a useful advertising slogan on it – promoting the hospital.  One year, the local nurses union gave us little pen like things which squirted out hand sanitizer.  I collected two of them, and gave them to my two most OCD friends.  Both very enthusiastic hand washers, they were thrilled.  I, however, was pretty unimpressed by this largesse.  A bunch of years ago, two years in a row, Virginia Mason requested that nurses turn in inspirational stories related to their nursing experiences, and these were published in nice little book.  This was a wonderful way to celebrate nurses day, and I treasured the books.  After that, we were back to the pens on a string – but now that budget crunches are such an issue, we all get a little card telling us how valuable we are.  And that’s it.  At Rebecca’s hospital, the much smaller staff in her unit (labor and delivery,) celebrate Nurses Day in a big way.  The managers prepare a hanging plant for every one of the staff.  Rebecca had nowhere to hang hers, so she gave it to me.  I put it on my front porch, and enjoyed it all last summer.  When winter came, I put it aside and watered it sporadically, thinking it very unlikely to survive the rigors of weather, but in spring, it showed faint signs of life, so I gave it a bit more attention.  This April, she received another one, and gave that to me as well.  Now, to my surprise, the one from last year is flourishing.  They make a nice couple, and give me a little tweak of happiness every time I go in or out of my front door, or come down my inside stairs from which I can see them gracing my front porch.

I was going to share one of my stories, but I couldn’t find the little books.  This was pretty upsetting, as they are among my treasures.  I have interceded with St. Anthony, but so far he hasn’t led me to them. I don’t even really remember what my entries were about – with one exception, and I found a copy of that one in something else.  Here it is:

 Post-operative complications are a major RN concern, and we nurses have many tricks up our scrub sleeves to combat them.  This may be a new one.
One evening, as I was humming my way through my shift, the aide came to me and said, "Mrs. B in 975 wants to see you.”  I headed for her room, wondering what she could possibly want.  When I got there, Mrs. B, an adorable octogenerarian was beaming at me.  “I just want to thank you, dear.  I just had the most wonderful bowel movement.  It was your singing of “In the Garden” that did it.  That’s one of my favorite hymns.  You sang it so nicely and it relaxed me so, that I was finally able to go.”  This was a useful nursing intervention, but I don’t think the manufacturers of Milk of Magnesia need to worry. 

I recall that the next year, for the second book, I came up with something longer and more inspirational.  The Seattle Times was doing an article on Nurses Day and the booklet, and asked me if they could use my story. I naturally agreed, my story being so inspirational and all.  A few days later, I was surprised to see so many people smirking at me on my way to a meeting at work. The meeting was led by our CEO who also was smirking as he said something about “Nurse Ryan.” I was shocked to learn that the reporter didn’t care at all about my inspirational story, but had published the Milk of Magnesia one. 


Marta said...

Love this so much. Are you sure we aren't related!

Happy Nurses Day, Nurse Ryan.

Marta said...

Liz read your blog while we were on the phone. It was great to hear her laugh. Humor is such a healthy
part of life. It has helped me through many difficult times.

I. F. said...

A classic tale. As a rule, whenever there is a choice between an inspiring story with a B.M. and an inspiring story without a B.M., it is human nature to choose the former.

Lia Nord said...

Lovely story! It beats my friend Sally's story about hospitals, body piercings, and private parts. But that story is actually de-inspirational, rather.

Happy Nurses Day to you--and the flowering plants are beautiful.

Laura said...

That is a gem! You deserve to be published more often!