When you are visiting a loved one in the hospital, it is not hard to get distracted by the drama surrounding you. If you are like me, you compare it to the latest hospital show you are watching, and find yourself uttering things like, “He needs some water, stat!” with strange assurance.
When my dad was sick, I took on a very Sherlockian view of things. Deductive powers gone amuck, i.e., “Surely that beeping sound means something!” Although my dad’s nurse never said it, I imagine “nervous Nelly” was one term that could have described me.
It is often a waiting game, right? Waiting for results, waiting for the doctor, waiting for the “all clear” sign or even, “here’s what’s coming next” plan. However, during it all I can’t honestly remember hearing code like “Line & Lab” or “walkie talkie” when the nurses tending him were heroically moving heaven and earth, my dad, and my own heightened sensibilities about the place.
Maybe dad was a “frequent flyer.” Still, I was glad when the nurses seemed to be happy to see him again, although maybe not happy to see him back. I kind of wish now I would have known about nurse slang. And I wonder…there are codes for dramatic patients apparently, but what about dramatic family members? I might have earned that code once or twice, the name of some horribly gone-wrong reality star I am sure.
What nurses may not realize is that the family often has a similar unsaid code. It’s not too fancy, usually along the lines of “ministering angel” or “life saver.” Frequently it’s “wonder worker” or a “sensible Sally.” Sometimes, in the midst of a Jerry Seinfeld-ish “Newman” moment, the still small inkling lingers. Even though this nurse is giving me some tough love right now, the honest thought behind my blank/angry/tired or sad eyes is TGYH. Translation: Thank God you’re here.
Here’s to an amazing National Nurse Day today and a wonderful National Nurses Week ahead! And to all the hard working men and women who make up this field, let me speak for the patient and the family alike here…just call us “grateful.”
Michelle Judd, Sr. Marketing Manager, Global Communications @ Ergotron