Saturday, March 8, 2014

THE NURSE (Copyright © 2014 Claire Louise Sienes)

                                                      THE NURSE
                                     by C. Louise P. Sienes 1/8/14 @ 2:30 AM

                                              Work is love made visible.”
                                                 --- Kahlil Gibran

Impeccable in her white uniform, she walks around the room with fluid grace. Moving from one bed to another, she checks on patients, asking them how they’re doing and if they hurt anywhere. Now and then, she surveys the room, her shrewd brown eyes never missing anything. Her inner senses are so attuned to the near-chaotic state of her present surroundings --- patients whining here and there, ambulance sirens sounding off in the distance, patients being wheeled in, the frenzied pace of the other hospital personnel attending to emergency cases, and the customary questions doctors ask their patients. It’s as if she never misses a beat and readily offers assistance where it’s needed.

At times, she sits on the desk, asks patients or their relatives for the needed information, and scribbles the details down on the hospital forms. Then, she gets up again to either talk to the attending physician or the other nurses assigned to the area. From there, she goes bedside again to help a patient struggling to sit up on the bed, prop a pillow at the back of another patient, assist a mother in giving her infant son a sponge bath, or hold the IV fluid bottle of yet another patient being moved by a younger nurse from the bed onto a wheelchair so the orderly could wheel him up to his room. Sometimes, she instructs a junior nurse to check on the vital signs, asks yet another junior nurse if the laboratory requests are in order, and stands in the middle of the room where she could easily see where an extra helping hand is needed.

From where I stand inconspicuously at the entrance of the laboratory, I watch her spring into action, amazed by the agility packed up in her seemingly delicate 5’3” (or so she claims even though to me, she looks taller) frame. She sure isn’t built like an athlete but, she doesn’t look skinny either. In fact, she’s fit and healthy. I don’t know if it’s just my imagination working overtime or something, but at times, I swear, I can see a ‘fragile look’ in her eyes albeit fleetingly. I guess, this only sharpens the realization that looks can sometimes truly be deceiving. Underneath that laidback demeanour, is a person wired for action and blessed with an astute mind. 

So, okay, she checks if the doctor’s orders are properly carried out and helps ensure that vital signs are done. So, what? You might ask me that. Okay, she fills out hospital forms and goes bed to bed asking patients how they’re doing. What’s so special about that? You might even tell me any nurse can do that. I won’t contest that. But, I guess, what I find most refreshing now, in these ultra-modern times, is watching THAT nurse in her element and seeing nothing casual or perfunctory in her actions. Behind her “How are you feeling?” or “Where do you hurt?” questions, there is real warmth. No sugar-coated words --- just simple words filled with compassion. I can tell that much from the tone of her voice. She squirms not at the nearness of an unkempt young patient and gently threads her fingers through his tousled hair before rubbing his forehead as if to soothe his pain.

I stand there transfixed at the sight with visions of a white angel with a sweet voice and gentle touch swimming right before my very eyes. The ringing of a phone somewhere in the distance draws me out of my reverie and I glance back at THE nurse, telling myself she’s no angel. At least, not of the winged kind. But then, I find myself smiling at the thought that if God were to send angels of healing down from heaven, I’m already catching a glimpse of what that angel should be. 

She stands there a few feet away from me, impeccable in her white uniform. She walks around the room with fluid grace, moving from one bed to another just to check on patients and ask them how they’re doing or if they hurt anywhere. I stand amazed at the delicate strength, intelligence, compassion, and gentle heart packed into her 5’3” frame. Once more, I dart one last glance at THE nurse, seeing her little patient bask at her gentle ministrations. I turn away, sighing and thinking that good ol’ Florence Nightingale must be mighty proud of this nurse. Now, if all nurses are like that --- angels-in-disguise, then we’d all be enjoying a little piece of heaven on earth, thanking God that we’re in good hands and that we’re blessed to enjoy caring at the very best.

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