I read an opinion this morning in the New York Times, about how nurses are being overworked to serious degrees. Covid has strained these people more than we can even imagine. Yet, they continue to undertake their important and difficult job, all over the world.
“This is how much these nurses care. They grieve every single one of their patients and will continue to bear the burden of these losses, even after the pandemic is over.”
Even before Covid, I was fully aware of just how much nurses care. While on my long and winding autoimmune encephalitis road, I was constantly impacted by the power of a committed nurse. I cannot possibly remember all of them nor am I able to personally thank each one. I wish I could.
Now more than ever, I’m reminded of the importance of nurses, as they lead the charge to undertake a monumental task. Vaccinating the world to end the pandemic.
Prior to World Encephalitis Day, Sean and I received one of the most important gifts ever. The gift of the Pfizer vaccination. When we “got the call,” we were elated. We ran through the house getting the kids ready, and getting us ready, to quickly get to the mass vaccination site. When we arrived, we were whisked into a private room by a National Guard soldier, so our kids could be away from the crowd of people patiently and excitedly awaiting their vaccinations. For about an hour, we did the Hokey Pokey and played Simon Says in what was a vacant office. Our energy was palpable.
A soldier came to get me first, and I waited in a line with others triangulated around me. Bustling soldiers were everywhere keeping people comfortable and in good spirits. A request was made for a wheelchair, a lady sat breathing in and out from her portable oxygen machine, people stood behind me, older folks were in chairs all around. It was all I could do not to burst into tears. I was part of an effort that’s being measured on a global scale. Everything within my sight, will be written about in history books.
As I entered the main vaccination room, I saw a handful of public health nurses hustling about. It was truly an awesome scene. And, as we drove home, my husband and I feeling light as feathers with all the hope that the vaccination will bring my isolated family, I couldn’t quit thinking about nurses. (I also kicked myself for not being more studious in science classes, but that’s another story.)
To commemorate World Encephalitis Day this year, Sean and I donated to a nursing scholarship at our alma mater. I can think of no greater way to celebrate my miraculous recovery from autoimmune encephalitis, and my pure joy at receiving the benefit of a scientifically marvelous vaccination, than to thank a nurse.
To my mom, a public health nurse, and one of my finest champions of support in my agonizing and ever-changing onset of AE, and recovery, thank you. (She came out of retirement to help in the vaccination effort – how cool is that?!)
To Stephanie MacDonald, the nurse practitioner whom I will forever commend for saving my life, when she recognized that I was in dire need of a neurologist, thank you.
To all the nurses who have taken care of me in the past three years through multiple hospital stays, many procedures, countless clinic visits, anesthesia, blood draws, examinations, vaccinations, care, and more, thank you.
To all of the frontline Covid-19 nurses: you have risked your lives, held people’s hands so they didn’t die alone, administered care and support in the worst of circumstances that none of us can ever fully grasp, and continue to keep showing up, even when the days may look bleak, thank you, and God bless.
To all of the nurses putting those vaccinations into arms right now, thank you, and good luck.
And, to the school nurses who have been working overtime and more, to keep our kids safe in school, thank you, you are all so appreciated.
If you haven’t personally thanked a nurse lately, now would be a good time. (And, while you’re at it, thank a scientist and a national guard solider too.)
All my love,
“Little darling, it’s been a long cold lonely winter Little darling, it seems like years since it’s been here
“Here comes the sun do’n, do, do Here comes the sun And I say it’s all right” ~ Here Comes the Sun by The Beatles