I believe in courage. Courage is the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, and pain without fear. Courage enables doctors, nurses, patients, and individuals to overcome fear. Fear is a constant reminder that I may not be prepared for everything I will encounter, without courage.
When my grandmother was diagnosed with colon cancer, she was placed in the intensive care unit at Houlton Regional Hospital. The ICU is on the third floor of the hospital and I had never been above the first floor. I had never been to the hospital to see a relative before. My family has always been healthy with the minor common cold or flu that infects everyone at some point of time.
My gram had visitors continuously with her children spending most of the day with her. My dad had been in to see her a few times after he got out of work but I had escaped from going. I had only seen my gram sitting in her chair next to the kitchen window wearing her variety of brightly colored housedresses. That was the image that was embedded in my memory and the thought of seeing her any other way frightened me.
As my dad and I stepped in the elevator and the doors slid shut behind us I was flooded with fear. I didn’t want to see my Gram in a hospital room. The elevator slowed to a stop and the doors opened to the quiet third floor. I muscled up some courage and followed my dad through the wide double doors that separated the ICU from the waiting room. Trying to hide the fear I felt I put on a big smile and went bouncing into her room right on my dad’s heals. I had enough courage to go into her room but the real challenge was going to be staying in the room.
There she sat in the hospital bed with white sheets covering her legs. Her housedress had been replaced with the plain gown, an IV stuck into her arm, and a clip was hooked to her finger that sounded an alarm if she raised her arm to high. She was hooked to oxygen, which I didn’t understand. She didn’t look like my gram. She was pale and seemed frustrated. She had the courage to fight the cancer and I needed courage to be with her and give her support.
I believe courage is not only something a patient must have but something a nurse must have also. Courage helps people to conquer their fears, allowing them to accomplish their goals. Everyone experiences courage whether we respond consciously or respond without realizing what courage enables us to do.