Wednesday, November 12, 2014

The Kindness of a Stranger

I don't remember her name. I barely remember what she looked like. All I remember of her was that she had blonde hair and a kind face. That's it; no more, no less. But what she did for me will last a lifetime, and dare I say that it will last into eternity.

I'm talking about the kindness of a NICU nurse during a time when my life was falling apart. Shortly after my second son was born, he experienced a Grade IV intraventricular brain hemorrhage and was transferred to Seattle Children's Hospital in their neonatal intensive care unit. He stayed there for nearly two weeks, after which we were told that nothing more could be done for him and that we should take him home to enjoy our remaining time with him.

During his NICU stay, this caring nurse took it upon herself to do something for me for which I did not have the skills, the presence of mind, or the foresight to do - she started a baby scrapbook for my son. I only remember snippets of our conversations:

     "His milestones will look alot different."
     "Scrapbooking is my hobby."

I don't know how long she had been working in the NICU or how many babies she had seen who had experienced this type of brain hemorrhage. (For the record, most babies who experience a Grade IV brain hemorrhage are preemies, and their prognosis is not good. My son was not a preemie. Go figure.) I also remember her saying that she had four patients to take care of, my son being one of them. Four. Holy Toledo that is alot of responsibility. I don't know the conditions of the other babies, but I do know that being in the NICU is never a good thing. I don't even remember if she started a scrapbook for the other babies.

All I know is that without this nurse's kindness and initiative, I would not have these precious mementos. The green blanket that you see in the picture is one that I ordered from Land's End a couple of days after he was born. I ordered it because I had done the same for my oldest son. I ordered it because in case he died, I wanted something real, something tangible that reminded me of him.

Thanks to this nurse and her kindness and generosity, I have: a newborn picture, gold footprints, a lock of newborn hair. Certainly this woman went above and beyond the call of duty. Most nurses would not do this in their spare time, but they do so many other things. I've had nurses who have: cleaned up my barf, wiped up my blood, put their arm around me to comfort me.

Has every nurse that I've encountered been exceptional? No. Some were rude, some were mediocre, and some were annoying. Maybe they were having an off day when I encountered them. Or maybe they were just annoying. This woman clearly was exceptional.

To my nurse friends: I want to encourage you to realize that the comfort and the care that you give does make a difference. A kind word and a hug goes a long way. In fact, it can be life changing.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. 2 Corinthians 1:3-4


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