Love in the hospital
I became a nurse so I could take care of people.
I did not become a nurse so I could learn more about the human body. If wanted to do that, I would have majored in Anatomy.
I did not become a nurse so I could document everything I said and did to doctors, other nurses and patients.
I did not become a nurse because I wanted to pass medications to patients. And, I did not become a nurse because I wanted to put Foley catheters in or give shots.
I became a nurse simply so I could take care of people. To hold their hand when they are hurting; and comfort them when they are scared. I longed to serve and minister to others. I wanted to be available to share my faith, in a practical way, by showing the LOVE of Jesus Christ, someone who showed His love in a very practical ways to me.
I always thought I would be the one showing love. Until last December.
It was my first night of “three shifts in a row”. Things were pretty quiet when Noah was admitted to our floor at approximately . With a little extra time on my hands, I was able to give him some extra attention.
Noah was admitted for increased confusion and a suspected UTI. It’s fairly common to see mental status change as an admitting diagnosis on a Geriatric floor. Unlike some confused patients, Noah was very nice and still very capable of taking care of himself. His wife, Allie was with him and helped him answer questions he couldn’t. As Allie and I helped Noah get into a hospital gown and pajama pants I could see that he was feeling very unsure of his new situation. When we got him settled in his bed, Noah became very nervous about his wife leaving him.
Noah was in a double room, and the 2nd bed was empty so I offered the extra bed to Allie, and she happily accepted the offer. On our floor the beds face foot-to-foot rather than side-by-side. As Allie settled in to her bed, Noah called out for her. Allie waved to him from her bed, and Noah happily drifted off to sleep quickly, most likely from exhaustion.
On his second night in the hospital, Noah wasn’t as content with Allie being so far from him – in the other bed. Noah’s bride of 60 years pulled up a chair next to his bed so he could see her. As the night progressed Allie tried several times to go back to her bed, and each time he would wake up calling for her. When Allie didn’t hear Noah, he would get out of bed and was found several times in the hallway. Each time we found him, he was happy to go back to bed. To keep Noah content and in bed, Allie, at 80+years sat up in the chair next to his bed so she could keep her husband safe. Allie was used to “sleeping with one eye open” as she said, so Noah wouldn’t wander away. Allie told me how one night Noah had walked over a mile, in the middle of the night, to his daughter’s home, in his pajamas – and didn’t remember any of it. Needless to say, Allie had not been getting very good sleep lately – she was exhausted, with a bed nearby…and she was sitting in a chair attempting to sleep with one eye open.
By his third night in the hospital, Noah was becoming increasingly nervous and concerned about his wife. While she is settling into the other bed, Noah repeatedly tells Allie, “there is plenty of room over here for you”, implying she should come sleep in his bed with him. (a twin hospital bed). Each time Allie assures Noah she is okay and waves at him from across the room. Noah is satisfied with that, and waves back. But he is only satisfied for a short time. After yet another attempt to convince Allie to join him in his bed, and Allie re-assuring him, Noah responds, “Well, is there room for me over there?” We finally get Noah quiet and settled, and starting to relax.
Upon re-entering Noah’s room about an hour later, I find Allie curled up in the bed with him, rubbing his back. Seeing this just about broke my heart to see such devotion and love. That’s when I realize how blind I’d been. Duh, hospital beds move! I quickly cleared the room moved Allie’s bed over to the same side of the room as Noah’s so he could sleep “next to his wife”, as he said. My original plan was to set the beds up like a hotel room – side-by-side with a table between them. Noah just was not having this – and asked, “Can’t they get closer”? So, I pulled the table out, put down the side rails on her bed, and one down on his, and butted the beds up against each other. Noah couldn’t have been happier. They lay in bed holding hands all night.
It makes my heart happy just thinking about them lying in the hospital beds together. They were a true testimony to the commitment they had made to one another. A real life “Notebook” story.
That night made all the years of studying, tests, writing papers and memorizing worth it.
It was also one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen.
Names have been changed to protect privacy.