My Florence Nightingales- The Nurse

May 9, 2010 at 11:26 pm 9 comments


May 12th finds the end of Nurse’s Week and is the birthday of the most famous of nurses – Florence Nightingale – Unfortunately for 18 months I got to know the ways of the nurse very well. Some were male and some were female, some were very young and beautiful and some were care worn and had an inner beauty . Some were practical, businesslike and clinical and some were gracious, empathic and went above and beyond. All of them went along with us on our terrible journey without a happy conclusion.

https://thatwoman.wordpress.com/2009/12/07/my-only-son-chris-ritchey/

I don’t know or can’t recall their names as my brain, in those last two weeks especially, wasn’t functioning or retaining well the niceties of introductions. They were a life -line for me and for my son. Some were careful to explain what was happening in language I could understand as medical terms were bandied about the room. Some just held my hand or told me with a “look” if things were good or not so good as the Dr’s gathered each morning ALL with their latest theory .

( I am not sure I like the way of “Diagnosis by Committee- the Democracy of Doctors) “ each Dr. taking a pieces part— more on that later)

There is one Cleveland Clinic nurse that stands out among all the rest for me. I can’t remember her full name or title- She was an ICU nurse- She was my particular life-line. I would breathe a sigh or relief when I saw her lovely compassionate face report for duty as my son’s nurse. She anticipated his needs and mine- her soft brown eyes full of caring – her voice gentle and loving – but she was also incredibly efficient and had a strength to her tone. I was always relieved and comforted when she was his nurse- he was too.

My son was moved to another ICU where he passed away – I remember another nurse there , young and attractive ( one my son would have appreciated in another time 🙂 ) those final hours she spent with me were filled with a non reality. I remember her face as she hugged me as my son was taken off the vent – I spent hours with her but I in my disbelief of what was happening in my world – I didn’t thank her . I wanted to but my shock and sheer disbelief of the nightmare my world turned into left me without function.

How ungrateful are we to those that were so important not through intent but through loss?

To Heidi and to all of my son’s nurses in those last two weeks at the Cleveland Clinic- Neurological ICU and The MICI unit – Thank you for all you tried to do and for being with my son and caring – but

Heidi this thank you is for you – you are to me the epitome of what a Nurse truly should be…. Chris’ Mum – Loraine

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Entry filed under: blogs, Chris Ritchey, commentary, health, Kudos, personal opinion. Tags: .

Mother’s Day – What degree a Mother’s Love and Who Decides? I am SHE!- Who Waits

9 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Lisa  |  May 10, 2010 at 12:03 pm

    Hear, hear!
    Had many a doctor remind me that the nurses run the hospital.
    I hope Heidi sees this post.

  • 2. Loraine Ritchey  |  May 10, 2010 at 12:08 pm

    I sent a printed out copy of it to the CEO of the Cleveland Clinic with a note and which ICU’s were involved and the dates and of course Chris name etc. and asked him to pass it on…. so hopefully she will be told…. I hope so anyway ….she was a bright spot in a dark time…. Loraine

  • 3. dave c  |  May 10, 2010 at 7:53 pm

    I had a similar experience when my mom passed away. With the exception of one of the nurses who was a former student of mine, I could not remember the names either. I hope they realize how important they are.

  • 4. Grammy  |  May 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    To digress a moment, thank you Loraine for your helping hand in the planting of the Gabriel Tree.

    Love and hugs,

  • 5. Grammy  |  May 10, 2010 at 9:13 pm

    Hey! I just thought, you have helped a wounded heart, that makes you a super spedial “nurse”.

  • 6. thatwoman  |  May 10, 2010 at 9:34 pm

    Well we have two wounded hearts that helped each other a little I think …Loraine

  • 7. thatwoman  |  May 11, 2010 at 12:01 pm

    Oh Dave I remember your mum so well, she too was a nurse. Such a loving person, I remember sitting one night as we were discussing the effects of dropping the Atom bomb on Japan. I wonder how she would have reacted upon our discovery of Captain Wilford and that particular journey we found ourselves taking.

    My Nana Hines was also a nurse and a loving and gentle lady in times of great terror World War 1 –

  • 8. Hillary  |  May 11, 2010 at 11:17 pm

    As a former ICU Nurse, I always thought if my name was forgotten, I’d probably done my job right. A good nurse knows these moments are about supporting patients and families. Congratulations on finding the strength to thank them. It’s a hard step to take. It’s admitting that the events really happened.

  • 9. The Language of Hands « That Woman’s Weblog  |  August 15, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    […] then in those final days when his voice was taken from him a thumbs up to the nurses, or a thumbs down was his only means of communication to tell them of his condition. His smile and […]

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