Nurse (verb): Give medical and other attention to
The nurse was nice; more than your average-nice and we got chatting. She took my name, address, date of birth and commented on the fact that it’s my birthday soon. I shrugged it off. 35 just means I’ll be deemed a “geriatric pregnancy” from thereon in.
We did the simple pre-surgery assessment checks I went in for: blood tests, swabs, height and weight (unfortunately, I now know for definite how much my lockdown diet of chocolate biscuits has cost me!). After the initial checks were completed, the nurse needed to take my blood pressure and heart rate. Now, I have always had a low resting heart rate (mine is around 53 beats per minute, while for most people a resting heart rate of 60-100, is considered normal). In the past, this has led to medical staff repeatedly asking me if I’m an athlete: erm, not unless chocolate biscuit eating is a sport.
Due to my heart rate, the nurse wanted to do an ECG (a simple test to check my heart’s rhythm and electrical activity). It involved lots of wires and lots of stickers, attached to various points on the body. The nurse had to put one on my chest so pulled up my jumper, but in doing so, she accidentally disturbed my long dangly necklace and it fell to the side. She picked it up and said “Oh this is lovely! What’s this date?” And I thought: this is IT. It’s time.
“That’s my daughter’s birthday”
“Oh that’s lovel..”
“She was extremely premature, just 20 weeks. It was a neonatal death, she was born and died on the same day”
I unexpectedly start to cry, just tears, not sobs.
*very sincere pause*
“I’m sorry. What happened?”
“It was PPROM: my waters broke too early”
*another thoughtful pause while she takes this in*
“I’m sorry. There’s still time. You’re young”
“I’ll be 35 soon”
Lying back on the bed, face in a mask, I did it. A few more tears fell.
“I’m sorry I upset you”
“No, that’s ok. I like talking about it”
And that’s the surprising truth, to everyone involved: even though I’m crying, I will always welcome conversations or acknowledgment of Summer. You didn’t make me sad, it is sad.
That nurse was so kind, her response was so genuine and her comments were simply lovely. Nurse can be a noun (a person trained to care for the sick or infirm, especially in a hospital) or it can be a verb (give medical and other attention to). What a professional she was. A professionally decent person, that is. To have nursed my intangible open wound.
N.B. After yesterday’s blog, I just wanted to say a quick thank you, for giving me perspective. The comments are some of the kindest I’ve ever received and they are so very much appreciated. I will keep the faith in this ‘journey’ and I hope that you will too: we’ve got this.
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