A piano, a violin, and nurses at Stanford
Wednesday April 01st 2009, 5:19 pm
Filed under: Friends,Life

Russ was one of two musicians playing in the Bing Concert Series at Stanford Hospital this afternoon.  A good excuse to go back to visit. I got there a little early.

Stanford atrium(I brought my camera but forgot to use it; this is an old picture.)  Before Russ arrived, a doctor I knew came down those long stairs with some others; I called out his name and he did a doubletake. In great excitement he dropped everything and sat down next to me and asked how things were going and exclaimed over how good I look now. He couldn’t get over it.

He’d been my hospitalist six years ago when he was very new in the job, and again in January and February.  He’d seen me very, very ill, twice. He’d never seen me well.  It totally made his day.

Then a few minutes later, after Dr. D left, again, two doctors were walking by, coming from the other direction this time and towards the stairs, and I recognized one of them.  My face lit up and I did a small wave hi as he glanced towards me.

And then I laughed to my friend Mary sitting there as he glanced back away, “He doesn’t recognize me when I’m healthy!” At that, hearing my voice, Dr. C suddenly got it. He, too, stopped, left the other doctor, came over, and wanted to know how I was doing and wanted to exclaim over how well I looked.  “You had that surgery, didn’t you?”  Well, yes.  He was one of the ones who’d listened to me saying I wanted to give the Humira time to work, that I was so sure it would.  Well, hey.  It didn’t. And look at me now.

Waiting for Russ, the violinist came over to me and said, “You look familiar.” It took me a moment, so it wasn’t till after the concert was over that I got a chance to say to him, simply, “Marguerite’s celebration of life.”

“THAT’S it!”

And all of ours too that day, I thought. All of ours too.

Then it was time to go try to visit my nurses.  They either weren’t on duty today, or I just didn’t find them.  At one nurse’s station, the woman there looked me up one side and then deliberately down the other and pronounced that no, she could not tell me what day P might be on duty for me to come back to say hi.

Well, that was interesting.  I could just imagine P’s reaction to that.

Then, since I’d been a patient in three different departments, I tried the next one.  I had much better luck there; while I was asking, the charge nurse, who’d never had direct care of me while I was in, nevertheless recognized me, came up behind me and said, “I know you!” And to the woman at the nurse’s station, “This lady wrote a book!  She knits all these lovely things!” (I was wearing a Constance shawl, tied in front.)

Which is how she got first choice of ten lace scarves, only, not the bright green, it was promised to P. She took the Casbah dark teal in great delight; “For ME?!”  You betcha.  I wasn’t going to tell her that the lady downstairs kind of sealed it for her: you’re glad I’m here, I’m glad I have something that it turns out I’d knit just for you.  Thank you for making my day and remembering me.  Good for you.

She told me where to find C, the one nurse I already knitted for while I was still in the hospital. C was with a patient; I waited at the station awhile, then went over and stood outside the patient’s room, telling myself I didn’t want to get in the way while getting more in the way.

C glanced out the door. She saw me.  She did a doubletake as I smiled a yes, you! at her.  Her eyes got big and she came out and we threw our arms around each other.

I almost said, Wait. You’re supposed to be about a foot taller. I was always looking way up at you!  We were both laughing for sheer joy.

She said it was so wonderful when patients come back to say hi.  I imagine so: it validates everything she, as a nurse, goes through day by day.  It would remind someone working in the blood, sweat, and tears of a hospital why they do what they do.

To make people well again. To help them become whole.

It was good to be back.

16 Comments so far
Leave a comment

You’re so right. When I was a paramedic (before I became an RN) I never knew what became of my patients once they were admitted…unless, of course, they showed up in the obituaries. It must have been very rewarding for your nurses to see you well!

Comment by Barbara-Kay 04.01.09 @ 7:25 pm

Oh, WOW! You made the day for those doctors and most of the nurses! They live to make their patients well, and you are the living proof.

Fun time: Speaking of doctors, it reminds me of the story of the officious and nasty businessman who was hospitalized for some ailment. He treated the hospital personnel the same way he treated his own employees — terribly. Everyone was afraid of him — except the head nurse on the morning shift. One morning she came into his room, and while he scowled at her,she said “I need to take your temperature.”

“No, you’re not taking my temperature!” he snarled. And they argued back and forth for several minutes. Finally, he opened his mouth. “No”, said the nurse, “I need to take this anally.”

“Oh, no you don’t”. And they were back arguing. Finally he flopped over on his stomach, and she made the insertion. “Now don’t move until I get back,” she warned him.

The nurse left his door open when she went out, and as he lay there, he could hear people giggling as they went passed his room. Half an hour later his own doctor came in. “What’s going on here?” the doctor asked.

“What’s the matter, Doc? Never seen anyone have their temperature taken?”

“Well, yes,” said the doctor, “but with a daisy?”

Comment by Don Meyer 04.01.09 @ 7:44 pm

Good to be back, yes, but as a visitor bearing greetings and gratitude for all the hard-working friends you now have. They made your day — and you made theirs. Lovely ending!

Comment by Madeline 04.01.09 @ 8:03 pm

WHen I worked as a nurse there were several times I wanted to take a temo rectally with a daisy thats for sure 🙂 Thanks for the laugh this am Don!
Seeing patients leave the hospital healthy was always a good thing and we all enjoyed seeing them come back in to say hi! Ut made a hard job worth it.

Comment by Danielle from SW MO 04.02.09 @ 3:54 am

Sounds like the concert was yet another celebration of life, and you were enjoying it so much that you forgot to take pictures..good! We’re still thanking the Lord you are able to continue in the celebration. 🙂

Comment by Toni Smoky-Mountains 04.02.09 @ 4:52 am

What a heart-warming day! It’s great that the docs and nurses were able to see the rewards of their hard work and dedication.

Comment by Joansie 04.02.09 @ 5:40 am

We should never underestimate the power of simple things. Thanks for the reminder!

Comment by Channon 04.02.09 @ 7:09 am

What an absolutely fabulous visit! And yes, I imagine that is exactly what they love about seeing someone come back on their own two feet 🙂

Comment by Jocelyn 04.02.09 @ 7:59 am

What great stories. You helped them remember their vocations of healing!

Comment by Renee 04.02.09 @ 1:14 pm

I’m so glad you posed this today. Thanks! I invited knitters to my house to knit tonight. However, I had to ask them to come next week instead because I’m not feeling so well. Nothing serious, but I don’t like it! Reading your message reminded me that I will like it when I feel better. I do love thinking about that. Thanks again.

Comment by RobinM 04.02.09 @ 1:16 pm

My wife Tola asked me to relay that she’s really happy that you’re getting so much better. Right now she, in her turn, is in hospital. For info please see my blog, tekstlogik.blogspot.com.

Comment by Michael Irwin 04.02.09 @ 1:23 pm

So glad you have been well enough to return to the hopsital and give back with hugs and scarves. I’m sure the staff was very pleased to see you ‘well’ again. Good going, lady! Hugs, Nancy W.

Comment by Nancy 04.02.09 @ 1:29 pm

I love reading about your visits… I wish more patients were as appreciative as you are!

Comment by Amanda 04.02.09 @ 1:53 pm

I’m so happy you were able to go back and enjoy a healthy visit! Healthy in more ways than one:) With a prolonged illness, your medical caregivers become extended family. My RE is like a second father to me. My nurse has even stayed over for a visit since we have moved to the coast. I’m glad for all of you that you have moved into the realm of happy visits!

Comment by TripletMom 04.02.09 @ 5:31 pm

YAY I’m so glad you had a nice visit!

Comment by Alicia 04.03.09 @ 10:03 am

I know the nurses and doctors appreciated seeing the walking, talking, knitting result of all their hard work and tender care.

After the stillbirth of Megan, our firstborn, my subsequent two pregnancies were both considered high risk. My doctor ordered monthly ultrasounds to be sure that my babies were developing properly.

Each time, when the baby was about a month old, I took, first our daughter Mollee, and later, our son Ryan, to meet my sweet ultrasound technician, Sandy. When I brought Mollee in, Sandy started to cry. When I asked her what was wrong, she said that Mollee was the first one of “her” babies that had ever been brought back for her to meet. Of course, Ryan also had to have the obligatory visit to “Aunt Sandy.” She had even, based on the ultrasounds, accurately predicted the full, thick head of hair he sported at birth!

Within a year of Ryan’s birth, the cancer that Sandy had been fighting so bravely overcame her. I’m so glad I took my babies to meet her. She deserved to see the joy she had had a part in bringing into our lives.

Comment by Shirley 04.03.09 @ 7:48 pm

Leave a comment
Line and paragraph breaks automatic, e-mail address never displayed, HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>