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Dear Nurse, I think everyone should thank you

Dear Nursing Staff

I want to thank you. I think everyone should thank you. I think you all deserve medals and trophies for the heart breaking work you do. Every. Single. Day.

You know my son well. He was here in your unit for over a month from the day he was born and has been back several times due to unforeseen complications. And though he doesn't know it yet, your smile and compassion are some of the stepping stones that permitted him with the chance to be four years old (and already a bit of a Casanova). I would say he knows this place. Your place; your unit. I know this place. And because of you, it feels safe here in a way I never thought it could.

I won’t lie; it hurts me immensely that his second home is a hospital setting.

You probably don’t know - or maybe you do - that as a mother it fills me with dread to have to see you. And you don’t know that when I finally arrive with the weight of fear it is your smiling faces that ease my anxiety. That you bother to chat with me about anything not related to my son's heart condition buoys my strength to not break into tears when I'm told that my son has to be taken in to theatre again.

I want to tell you that in a quiet but profound way you all feel like family to me. I want to tell you that I get tired from having to be strong about this. And that I cannot fathom this journey without your unfailing love and dedicated support. How you watch families and babies struggle through the harsh reality of congenital heart defects without falling apart at the seams blows my mind. And reignites the fires of my gratitude as I honor the strength and courage it must take to do this. Every. Single. Day.

But mostly, I want to tell you that if you ever think for even a moment that the work you do goes unnoticed or unthanked it does not. In many ways – both literal and figurative – you’ve saved my son’s life and my family’s sanity. You mean something pretty big to me. You give me hope and humor when I desperately need it. I think of you often when my son has achievements of normalcy, like jumping on the bed in a super hero cape; the mere fact that he can breathe. I try to remember these things so I can tell you all about it the next time I see you. Because in some strange and inexplicable way, I secretly hope that there will be a next time - beyond the healing halls of the hospital. Rather in the world that you have contributed to helping my child be a part of.

So here is to you. To the heart wrenching service you provide with immense compassion. To the women and men you are; to the heroes you are. And to all that you mean to the hearts and families you have touched and healed.

Your hands... they tended to the heart outside of my body.

And for that, you are forever within mine.


© Maboneng Heart and Lung Institute 2018 | Featured Image: Aditya Romansa

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