This I Believe

Aline - Tucson, Arizona
Entered on December 7, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65
Themes: love

I believe in the power of love.

Normally, I’m the kind of person that runs quickly the other way when it comes to watching medical procedures, dealing with the results of private bodily functions or even the remote possibility that blood will be part of the experience. I witnessed the birth of two of my granddaughters, but from the vantage point of telling my daughter to breathe – not “down there” where it really mattered. Still, I was there because of my love for my daughter and for my yet-unborn granddaughters

Fast forward a couple of months after the birth of my first granddaughter and there I was in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit at her bedside while she struggled to breathe. She was attached to monitors, tubes, I.V.s, machines, you name it. She didn’t really know who I was, but there was no way I was going to let her go through this alone even if I WAS gagging every couple of minutes. I was there because of my love for her. When you are lying in a hospital bed, you have no dignity no matter what your age. Her hair was matted; there was dried blood on her hands and at her IV sites. The room smelled of disinfectant, she smelled of antibiotics and meanwhile, other families in the room were dealing with their own children’s medical tragedies. All the family members tried their best to comfort their children by bringing favorite toys or stuffed animals, blankets and books. All of the family members in that room wanted to be somewhere else. I wanted to be somewhere else because the thought of all of the things that were being put into my granddaughter, the things that were being taken out of her, the amount of times she was stuck, poked, prodded, touched, talked about like she wasn’t there just drove me nuts. I stayed because of my love for her.

She was sedated but not asleep, so I was encouraged by the nurses to talk and sing to her. The talking I didn’t mind, but singing? The nurses said it was important, so I sang. I’m sure the rest of the room hoped it wouldn’t last too long, but for her? ANYTHING. I learned the words to the song Mrs. Jumbo sang to Dumbo while she was locked away for being a mad elephant. I learned how to suction the secretions from her tracheotomy site. I learned to feed her through a feeding tube in her stomach. I learned how to help her burp through her feeding tube. (This became a favorite thing for her to do later as she grew older. I was always “horrified” at the burp and this made her laugh.) I learned how to give her the medicines she needed and the breathing treatments. I learned how to do a lot of those things that usually send me running from the room. I did them because of the power of love. I know this because no other reason is possible. I know this because I love her beyond reason and more than any human being on this earth.

I admire good nurses everywhere. Nurses are the kinds of people that under the worst circumstances can remain calm, compassionate and respect the privacy of a grieving family while keeping watch over their patient. They can clean up another disgusting mess while talking about the latest episode of American Idol and not miss a beat. They go to birthday parties for their patients, take them to doctor’s appointments and go to the funeral for that child. No one does that just for the money. They do it because of the power of love.