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Love Song to a Nurse

May 10, 2013

In honor of Nurse’s Week, I am writing a post about my absolute favorite nurse in the world–my husband.

My husband is a nurse’s nurse. He is thorough and compassionate and caring. He is educated and political and methodical. He is a man’s man in a woman’s world and he thrives. He is a consummate professional and the best damn diagnostician I have ever met, nurse or not.

Chris and I met at Western Baptist Hospital. He was working in the ED and I had just started my career on telemetry. We both ended up in the same critical care class. I think it was something about cardiac rhythms. I was sitting in the back row, as usual, and he came in late, as usual. For eight hours, I sat two rows back from the most beautiful head of hair that I have ever encountered. He asked too many questions and he should not have been wearing those shoes with those pants and he had the largest hands of anyone, ever.

I almost immediately moved into his apartment. Okay, he moved out first and I didn’t know it was his apartment until I was getting his mail, but what an excuse to go up to the ICU and meet him (he had transferred).

My husband has a Doctorate of Nursing Practice from Columbia University. He is a Diplomate of the Board of Comprehensive Care. He is a board certified in so many initials that I can not keep track. He works every day in neuro critical care. That means everyday he treats patients and families who are in crisis, have had life altering events, who have strokes and bleeds and aneurysms and tumors and prognosis. Almost all of his patients have a prognosis. It puts you in a different class of sick. He sits with them and explains things to them. Six, seven, eight times in a row, he tells them exactly what is going on because they are stressed and they can’t remember or there is more family that needs to understand. He is patient. He is very good at what he does.

We got to know each other over break working the night shift in the ICU. Long before we dated, we talked at lunch. About books and music and movies and life goals and dreams and travel. The same stuff we still talk about about. We worked the same weekend and the same swing shift. We spent a lot of time together. We helped each other admit patients, give bed baths, critically think through patient presentations and symptom management. He is the only nurse I have ever known that measured the soap ounce per ounce for a bed bath according to the manufacturer’s directions. He is exacting and precise and there is no one in the world that you would rather have taking care of you. And he takes excellent care of me. And our children.

My mother would listen to him as if he was the oracle of God. I could tell her fourteen times what she needed to do and it wouldn’t phase her. He would just suggest something and she would latch on to his suggestion as the best thing since sliced bread. He even took her to a couple of her initial oncology appointments.

He loves his job. His profession. He describes it as “meaningful work”. He is right. He is on call this week. He is sitting beside me right now viewing CT scans from a patient in the ED who has had stroke. He is on the phone with the other providers making a plan, saying words that most people don’t understand things like “lacunar” “TPA” “last known well” but mean something very important to the person that is lying there on the gurney. He is smart, that man, and wise, and experienced, and calm. Darn near unflappable. That is a great quality in a critical care environment. Unless there are maggots involved and then he is darn near useless. Fortunately, that doesn’t come up too often.

Happy Nurse’s Week to all of the wonderful and generous nurses in my life. Love and respect to all of you. You have poured into my life both professionally and personally in ways that I have difficulty defining or describing. It is an exclusive club, this nursing, and I am proud to be a member. Happy Nurse’s Week to my husband. I am proud of all you do both for your family and for strangers. I love you.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Kay Marshall permalink
    May 17, 2013 2:37 am

    I love reading your blogs. This one was especially sweet since I witness some of it at WBH ICU. Wonderful love story.

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