National Nurse’s WeekPublished 7:00am Friday, May 9, 2014
I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals throughout my life — though never as a patient.
Always pacing cold hallways, there to kiss the foreheads of people I love as they slip further away from me.
I can’t say I’ve ever viewed hospitals as happy places. In my mind, there was nothing about them synonymous with warmness or joy. They were lonely and isolated and they stole people from me.
The feeling they emanated was more closely aligned with Ben Gibbard’s beautifully poetic lyrics, “As each descending peak on the LCD, Took you a little farther away from me, Away from me. Amongst the vending machines and year-old magazines, In a place where we only say goodbye, It stung like a violent wind that our memories depend, On a faulty camera in our minds.”
But somewhere along the way, it became plain to me that those unsympathetic buildings were just a shell, housing an array of natural human emotion. The coldness I felt inside them was a projection of my own fear.
Taken from our natural state of contentment (where we crave comfort and joy), uprooted without approval and placed in an environment where fear of loss is allowed to slip through the cracks, it would be impossible for those walls to represent anything other than isolation (when we’re constantly praying for the moment we’re removed from them.)
A place like this can only be what it is intended (full of healing and rest, a place to give new life) with the aid of its caretakers. When those we love fall ill, nurses are there to give them another chance at life, when anywhere else we might have lost them sooner. Nurses not only care for our sick, they guard us from our own emotions. They are the shimmers of light, offering hope in a dark world.
This week is National Nurse’s Week. Think about all they do and remember to say “Thank you.”