To The Nurse Who Made Me Cry

It was nurses week recently and I am forever grateful to the many we have met along the way. One thing about being a NICU mom, then a NICU alumni, you know that the doctors are good for updates, but those nurses are in the trenches with you and they are the ones who will make you the most comfortable with whatever diagnosis, trial, tribulation… you may be facing.

More than a year ago, after a particularly bad few months with Theodore, we had to search for a new pediatrician because our doctor at the time was not autism aware. He once asked me if I could quiet my child during a meltdown (I was trying). The last straw was when he looked at my son, looked at him, and said I needed to bring him to the ER because he was hitting his head and wouldn’t stop. He probably had meningitis.

(After spending 4 hours in the ER for observation, and no reason for Theo to have any tests, the doctors and residents told us to A: go home and B: find a new doctor.)

Two days later, we found a new doctor.

And while Theo has been seeing this new physician for about a year, it took me that long to move the girls over. At first I was going to keep them separate, but that became too much and we quickly noticed that when we were there with the girls, our wait time increased, or we were often overbooked, or the doctors never even knew the girls had a brother (only the nurses did).

Last week was our first week with Theo’s “team.” While the girls had to be separated for their first official visits both did extremely well. Daddy took Gretchen, I took Olena.

From the minute they took us into the exam room, to the minute the doctor came in to visit, they explained each step. They made sure Olena was on track. They reviewed her history and awed at the fact that when she was born she was under 3 lbs. The doctor remarked how unbelievable it was to be able to see this progress even after one visit, one chat, with Olena and her bubbly, social self.

But it was the nurse who stole our hearts.

She talked about how they all loved Theodore (I thought she had to say this. But, actually, no, she does not.)

“We just love your brother,”  she told Olena.

Olena smiled proudly, and explained that Theo has autism so he’s a little different but he’s a funny kid.

And that’s when the nurse turned to me and thanked me for coming to the practice.

“You have a wonderful family. You really do. All three of them. You must be so proud. And you and your husband are doing a great job.”

Thanks I said.

I whisked Olena off to pick up some celebratory doughnuts. I took a glance in my rearview and saw a smart, funny, happy young lady – a preemie no more.

But it wasn’t until the end of the day that the tears came. When everyone was asleep and safe and snug in their beds…I cried.

Because I actually listened to what that nurse said.

Because I finally felt comfortable with our new doctors.

Because it really hit me how lucky we are…

Until next time.

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