Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What am I thankful for this Thanksgiving?

This past week I was reminded that I have a lot to be thankful for, and especially since it is almost Thanksgiving. Out of nowhere I received a letter in the mail announcing that a health professional that I knew for a long time passed away. She was a person who happened to be my nurse for the last 8 years. I am thankful that I had her as my nurse because she always went above and beyond the role of just a nurse, she was a friend! I didn’t find out exactly what happened to her until a couple of days later, and was shocked to hear she had battled cancer for a long time. I didn’t even know she was sick. The last time I saw her was in July when I was having severe and mysterious stomach pains and had already made to 2 trips to the ER with out anyone knowing what was happening to me. She specialized in working with people who have spinal cord injuries, so when I didn’t have a clue what was causing my stomach pains I went to see her because I knew I would be in good hands.

Over the years I have had some great health professionals, but it wasn’t until I moved to Washington State that I found a team who always made me feel like their number one patient. I was amazed at my first appointment how thorough my new doctor and nurse were. I was not just rushed in and out so the doctor and nurse could get to the next patient; I was shown compassion, respect, and received unbelievable care. I thought that at my next appointment they probably wouldn’t even remember me. Well I was wrong! No matter how little my medical issues were or how big, they always worked as a team to try and figure out what was the next move. They made sure that if I didn’t feel comfortable with the outcome of my appointment, I would get a personal follow up email or phone call from one of them. I had never heard of such a thing. My nurse made sure I was taken care of. If my refills on my medications ran out, and I forgot to call ahead, I could always count on my nurse to call in my prescription, no matter how busy she was. Also, if they had a full day of patients, but I called about something serious, they would figure out a way to fit me into the schedule. A couple of times they saw me during their lunch hour. Now that is dedication!

On this Thanksgiving I am reflecting upon how lucky I am to have such great medical professional’s in my life. I have an amazing doctor and am so thankful for the wonderful care I got from the nurse that worked with him for so many years. I will continue to receive medical care from my doctor, but I know the next time I go to an appointment it will probably be really hard. When I get there my nurse of the last 8 years will no longer be there to greet me and ask me how I am doing, it will be her replacement. She loved her job and I know it wasn’t just me that she made feel like her number one patient, she did this with a lot of other people. I also heard from a friend of mine that she kept her illness very quiet and worked right up until a couple of weeks before she passed away. That is how much she loved what she did. She lived for her patients and making sure they got the best care possible. I will never forget her, and will always be thankful she was my nurse!

Tammy Wilber
~Thankful for nurses everywhere!~

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