Friday, August 12, 2011

A Tiny Salute

Right now I’m a little dizzy. Not sure why, I suppose my body isn’t what it used to be anymore. Not after all the chemo and radiation of the past year. Turns out the BMT didn’t work and I’m just as sick as I was before. I have a big fat tumor on my side that’s already starting to make itself noticed. Oww. Not really sure what comes next, more radiation, surgery and perhaps I get to cut in line at the check out aisle.

But this post isn’t about me. It’s a tiny salute to the wonderful nurses I’ve met throughout my time with cancer.

The nurses that wake up at the crack of dawn everyday or the ones who spend the time awake by your side at four in the morning wiping sweat from your forehead as you puke up your insides or shit yourself in the bed. The men and women who bring you popsicles and take away the food when you can’t bare to breathe in any foreign odor The ones who change your soiled gowns, who give you a sponge bath because you don’t have the energy to stand up right in the shower, the ones who rub lotion on burnt skin. The ones who come and check on you after you’ve finally fallen asleep. The nurses who listen to your stories and get to know you and bring you a warm blanket when the hot-cold spells shake your body. The ones who walk you out to a cab to make sure you don’t fall over. They are the ones who pick you up when you’re lying on the hospital floor too nauseated and weak to make it back on the bed.

They are the people you never thought you might need and suddenly they are the only ones who can get you through. They are the ones who aren’t afraid to talk about death because they experience it everyday. The will to live might be relentless but so is cancer and sometimes no matter how much you want it, it doesn’t mean it’s going to happen.

Surgeons and doctors can cut you open but it’s the nurses who heal you. They can prepare you to keep on fighting or make it ok to start letting go.

So this is for Peggy, Cherie, Jeannie, Alina, Richard and all the nurses who I’ve had the luck of meeting in the past year. I may not remember all of your names but I do remember your smile. You smiling at me forced me to despite everything, smile back. And at least for that moment I felt a little bit better. For that and an endless amount more I will always be thankful.

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