Dedicated to all who "wear white." - By Emily Alford Park, R.N.
Do you know what it feels like to enter the room of a child who is delirious with fever... crying out in moans... reaching out in the darkness for some comfort from the frightening world of sickness. I DO.
Do you know what it feels like to stand in the hallway of a busy Emergency Room and watch the Rescue Workers racing frantically towards you as they bring in the victims of the automobile wreckage just five blocks away. I DO.
Do you know what it feels like to see the young man, gasping in pain from what you know to be a massive coronary... watching you with eyes full of fear... fear of the unknown. I DO.
Do you know what it feels like to hold the hand of an elderly dying woman... to stroke her brow and offer words of comfort as she laboriously tries to take her last remaining breaths. I DO.
Do you know what it feels like to walk down a lonely corridor at midnight... to enter a waiting area... to approach a family huddled in some chairs in the far corner... to sit with them and quietly and as painlessly as possible tell them that their loved one has passed on. I DO.
Do you know what it feels like to hold the hand of a young, single, teenage girl who is battling with a decision of whether or not to bring another life into this world... to offer her counseling and guidance... to pray that your words to her have helped. I DO.
Do you know what it feels like to see the young man who is fighting the addiction to drugs... to see the look on his face when he realizes that just last month he was in a group session which you led... where he promised you then he would never touch those drugs again. I DO.
Do you know how it feels to coach the laboring mother who is giving birth... her hand squeezing the life blood out of your hand as they are clasped together... and to witness the joyous birth of her first born. I DO.
Do you know how it feels to see the look on a worried, anxious wife's face... and to see the relief and joy spreading across her very being as you tell her that her dear husband is going to be "just fine!" I DO.
Do you know how it feels when a highly respected surgeon takes a moment to approach you in the cafeteria to offer his thanks and appreciation for your assistance in a surgical procedure he performed a week ago. I DO.
Do you know how it feels to walk into a dark, back room and cry... sometimes tears of sadness for those who did not "make it" that evening... and sometimes tears of joy for having just witnessed a "medical miracle." I DO.
Do you know how if feels to don a starched white uniform and go to work "just one more day"... because by doing so, you know you make a difference. I DO.
I do all of these things and more... for I am the nurse behind that door.
Publisher's Note: The author wrote me to see if I'd be interested in publishing the poetic message above, and I told her it would be an honor. I also added, "Nurses are my favorite people, second only to good teachers." I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. -- Pete Barkelew
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