Another Exhibit In The Case Of “Why Nurses Should Rule The World”

, , , , , | Healthy | December 3, 2020

My parents are with my severely disabled sister who is being prepped for an operation. We take care of her at home and have a live-in nurse, but she still ends up in the hospital every few months, so the nurses are quite familiar with my family.

Nurse: “Would you like to remove your daughter’s nail polish?”

Mother: “Is it really necessary?”

Nurse: “Well, yes. We need to be able to see her nails during the operation to make sure she’s getting enough oxygen.”

Mother: “Oh, I see. It’s only that my other daughter painted her nails before going to college, and she won’t be back home for months. She went all the way to America and we can’t afford to bring her back every time [Sister] is hospitalized.”

Nurse: “Ach, I’m very sorry.”

She makes small talk with my parents while removing the nail polish. There are no comments about how my sister wouldn’t understand or even notice the nail polish, just reassuring chatter.

When they wheeled my sister back after the operation, my mother broke down in tears; they’d repainted my sister’s nails. When my mother told me about it, I teared up, too.

I still think of that nurse’s kindness — how she must’ve left the hospital to get nail polish of a similar shade and then painted my sister’s tiny nails. It sounds like such a small thing, but it was so completely outside her job scope and so sweet of her. I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.


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