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My Garden Of Life – A new respect for nurses

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Jody Fuller
By Jody Fuller

You make a difference every single day. I’ve always had respect for nurses, but mostly because it was just the right thing to do, you know like eating your vegetables, saying your prayers, and standing for the flag.

I worked side by side with nurses for two years while stationed at Landstuhl Army Regional Medical Center in Germany early in my Army career. I was a combat medic, but in the hospital setting I was more of a nurse’s aide. Although it wasn’t very hooah, it was very rewarding. We took care of warriors, families, and VIPs every day. It was an honor. Patient care was, of course, our top priority.

I cared for a member of Vice President Gore’s secret service detail for a few days. He slipped on ice and fractured his pelvis during a visit to Deutschland. He personally requested me after a couple of interactions. I was pretty good at my job. Part of it was natural, but this isn’t about me. I think most of it came from watching the nurses in action. Nursing is a calling. To be a successful nurse, one truly must care.

The highlight of that era was taking care of the Army Rangers from the Battle of Mogadishu – Blackhawk Down. We worked our fannies off. A few months later, we cared for scores of civilians who were severely injured and maimed because of a mortar attack in Yugoslavia. I had great respect for the nurses and what they/we did on a daily basis, but since I was part of the team, it was a different kind of respect.

My dad was in the hospital a lot, but I was only eight when he passed away. Furthermore, he was in Montgomery, so we didn’t see him a lot. I don’t remember anything about the nurses, but I’m sure they were great. I’ve visited grandparents and loved ones on short and extended stays in the hospital. I have no doubt the nurses were great, but my interactions with them were limited at best.

I’ve been blessed with great health and so have those closest to me, so my interactions with nurses have, once again, been limited at best, period…until now.

We just surpassed our third week in the hospital with our little miracle baby who was born 7 1/2 weeks early in the back of an ambulance on Friday the 13th. Where would we be without our nurses? I just don’t know. They have been there with us at three different hospitals and the ambulance from the contractions to the delivery to the “nearest hospital” (it was Russell Medical, by the way) to where we are now. No matter where we’ve been, they have all been kind, caring, courteous, compassionate, comforting, and competent. They simply go above and beyond in everything they do. I love them so much! They take care of us as much as they do Abigail.

I’ve always had respect for nurses, because it was the right thing to do. This new experience has taught me that it’s still the right thing to do, but that respect for me has been taken to a whole new level.

If you’re a nurse, thank you for what you do. You make a difference every single day. You help make good days better. You help make sucky days not so sucky. No words can truly express the appreciation we have for you. Keep doing what you’re doing. We see you. We thank you. We love you.

Jody Fuller is from Opelika. He is a comic, speaker, writer and soldier with three tours of duty in Iraq. He is also a lifetime stutterer. He can be reached at jody@jodyfuller.com. For more information, please visit www.jodyfuller.com