I have always loved nurses.
My mother was a registered nurse and, as a child, it was so neat having a mother who was a nurse. She always knew exactly what to do whether I was running a fever or I had fallen and hurt myself. I always knew everything was going to be okay because my mom was a nurse.
I'm guilty of calling her first when my kids are sick. And my best friend, Olivia, is a pediatric nurse. God love her, I am surprised that we are still friends after all of my calls the last five years (from "what do you think she has?" to "Do you think she's ready for Puffs??").
When I began having complications with Ann Catherine and Melissa, I was put on hospital bedrest and I stayed there for seven weeks until my girls were born. My admiration for nurses only grew with the care that we received from our nurses on the Labor & Delivery floor during those long, scary weeks. They took care of me, they brought me books to read and they even brought me a cake on the night I hit 24 weeks gestation (which was a HUGE milestone for us!).
We went from there to the Neonatal ICU. Melissa passed away in that unit and AC was there for 68 days. I can't put into words how amazing those nurses were. Not only did they care for my two girls, but they took care of me. They answered all of my questions (and as a news reporter I had hundreds of them!), they listened to me and, on some days, they just let me cry. Leaving the NICU was so bittersweet for us. While we couldn't wait to take AC home and be a "normal family" we knew we would so miss these nurses who had become our friends during our long summer.
My admiration for what nurses do only increased this weekend. Chris and I were at the Bama-Tennessee game. Halfway through the first quarter, something happened to an elderly woman sitting in front of us. Her head went back and she was totally unresponsive. Her son was screaming, "Mom! Mom!" but she wasn't moving. The man sitting next to Chris ran to get help. (I'm still not sure if she was having a heart attack or a stroke or something else.) Within seconds, a woman who sits two rows behind us was there. She said, "I'm a nurse. Let me in!" and she started taking care of the woman. Just then, a woman who sits two rows in front of us came up and said she was a nurse, too. While we waited for paramedics to reach our seats, these two women began assessing this lady. They rolled her on her side, began taking her pulse and doing what nurses do. Soon after, a doctor who was sitting nearby came over and began helping. The three of them took care of this woman until paramedics arrived. She eventually woke up and they carried her out on a stretcher. I have no idea how she is, but I prayed for her last night.
During those moments, one of the Greatest Rivalries in the South meant nothing. When things like that happen, you realize how unimportant football truly is.
As the woman was carried away, those two women returned to their seats to watch the ballgame. I was in awe of them. Here they were, just taking in a football game. Then they realized someone needed them and -Boom!- they were there. They were no longer football fans. They were trying to save someone's life.
That's what it means to be a nurse. One minute you are watching a football game. The next minute, someone is in trouble. And you are there.
When I was on bedrest, I told one of my nurses how much I admired what she did for a living. I said, "I mean, I just tell people the news. But you save lives!" She tried to make me feel better by talking about the good things that news anchors did for people. But I wasn't buying it. I just had a job. She had a calling.
Nothing would make me prouder than if my daughters grew up to be nurses one day.
It is, in my opinion, the noblest of callings.
So to all you nurses out there, thanks for all you do! You will never know the difference you make in peoples' lives.