Making Sure The Survivors Are Surviving

, , , , | Healthy Right | May 19, 2016

(My family is 100% German, and came to the US around 1900. Shortly after WW II ended, my grandma, who was working on getting her nursing certification, decided to volunteer at an aid center for recently arrived Holocaust survivors. My grandma was born in Chicago, and English was and is her first language, but she spoke German because her parents and grandparents spoke it, and had a slight accent. She’d been bullied about it all through the war, and was worried it’d be the same at the center, but decided to volunteer anyway. Sure enough, some of the other nurses started making snide comments, until one of the patients, a woman in a wheelchair, beckoned her over.)

Patient: *in halting English* “You… German?”

Grandma: “No.”

Patient: *disappointed* “You no speak German?”

Grandma: *in German* “Ja. I speak German. My parents are from Germany.”

Patient: *in German* “Oh, thank the Lord! English is such a hard language, and everyone here is so brusque, and there are no trees anywhere! I miss the mountains! What part of Germany are your parents from? Do they miss it? Have you ever been?”

(As soon as they found out my grandma spoke German, all of the other survivors came right over and started chatting away, completely dumbfounding the rest of the nurses! To my grandma’s relief, none of them held it against her that her family was German; most of them just wanted to talk about their homes and families, and were relieved to find someone who spoke their language. It wasn’t long before some of the other nurses and the aid center director asked her for help learning German themselves!)

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Kindness Has Real Staying Power

, , | Healthy | May 17, 2016

(After avoiding any kind of surgery for the 35 years of my life I end up in the ER on Monday with appendicitis. I am very, very scared because of the aforementioned lack of surgeries. One of my roommates comes with me and intends to stay with me all night.)

Nurse: “We like people to go home and not stay here all night. It’s not comfortable.”

Roommate: “That’s okay. I want to stay.”

Nurse: “Well, in a shared room you have to get the permission of the person in the other room.”

Roommate: “Well, then, ask them. I want to stay.”

Other Person: “Let her stay! If I had someone here with me I’d want them to stay.”

(I was so out of it, and so scared, but the other person, also there with appendicitis, was so kind to let my roommate stay with me and it helped a lot. My roommate literally held my hand all night so every time I woke up I could feel it. If she hadn’t been there I think I’d have been inconsolable. I’m healing fine, and the other person in my room was able to go home without needing surgery at all!)

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Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 9

, , , , | Healthy | May 17, 2016

(My family is visiting my grandma, and we like renting bicycles to ride around the gated community where she lives. My mom and two younger siblings are just on our way back to the house. It’s a very hot day and I’m wearing a dark shirt.)

Me: “Hold up a minute. I feel woozy.”

(I pull onto the grass and sit down, panting, as my vision swirls with purple-green clouds. Usually they clear in a few moments, but they’re not going away. I can’t get back on the bike until I can see, so Mom is about to send my brother on ahead to bring Dad back with the car, when a car pulls up next to us.)

Little Old Lady: “Do you need help?”

(I’m a little fuzzy on the details after that point, but it turned out that she was a retired nurse! She offered to drive me back to Grandma’s house. I was doing a little better in the air-conditioned car, but I was still woozy and she talked to me to keep me awake. When we got to the house, I had to lean on her shoulder to get inside; my dad told me later that he thought I was helping her at first! She helped me into a reclining chair and got a cool, damp washcloth to put on my forehead before she left, with instructions to drink lots of water and not move for a while. She left before I could thank her, but I sent a thank-you note when I was better. Even after they retire, nurses are awesome people!)

Related:
Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 6
Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 7
Why Nurses Should Rule The World, Part 8

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An Anti-Depressing Turn Of Events

, , , , | Healthy Right | April 22, 2016

(This happened during what was one of the worst times in my life. I’ve just transferred to a new college and it is a rough transition. I am lonely, self-conscious, have about a million doubts about myself and my life. My anxiety has gotten so bad that I am literally sobbing in the doctor’s office just by attempting to discuss it with him. This man has been my whole family’s doctor for most of my life.)

Doctor: “I know you’re reluctant to try medication, a lot of people are, but sometimes it’s just brain chemistry. And seeing you here like this, hearing that you’ve already tried therapy, I just want to help you find something that will help you.”

Me: “I just don’t want that to mean that there’s something wrong with me.”

Doctor: “That’s not what this means. It means that you’re doing what you need to do in order to live a happy, healthy life. And if it doesn’t work for you, you can stop whenever you want. Look, there’s this new anti-depressant that’s still in trial stages but it’s doing really well and has minimal side effects. How about I give you some of the free samples and you just try it out?”

(I eventually, reluctantly, agreed to this. As I left, I was handed a cardboard box, definitely bigger than I’d anticipated for just a few free samples. It turned out that my doctor had given me ten bottles of the stuff, all free samples, so that I would have enough that I could take back to college with me if I decided to use it, plus some free samples of an allergy spray that he knew I sometimes had trouble affording, and a prescription for another anti-depressant just in case this one didn’t work for me. This doctor honestly saved me. I took those anti-depressants for just about a year and they worked. I don’t take them anymore; I’ve changed enough in mind and body and lifestyle that I don’t need them now. But I never would have gotten to this point without them. My doctor took the time and effort to think of me as a person as well as a patient and went the extra mile to make sure I’d be ok. THANK YOU. This, to me, is what all doctors should strive to be.)

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A Friendly Bill Of Health

, , , , , | Healthy | April 5, 2016

(When I was 19 I had just moved into my first apartment. I got a kitten from a friend’s cat that had kittens. I suffered from severe (suicidal) depression at the time, barely leaving the house or doing anything. Once I had a kitten to care for, I had a lot more motivation to care for myself. It was a huge step in getting myself into therapy and recovering. No matter how bad things got, I always had my baby kitty who always loved me. She lives with me for 18 years in reasonably good health but eventually, her kidneys give out and it is her time. Unfortunately, I have just lost my job and we are pretty broke. As we are long time, reliable clients of the vet, they agree to let us pay in installments. I sell some crafts I make online so I make social media posts promoting my craft site to help cover the costs of my baby kitty’s euthanasia and cremation. About a week later of stressful, sad job-hunting and desperate crafting, I get a phone call from the vet:)

Vet: “I have some news for you.”

Me: *confused* “Okay…”

Vet: “Someone called in and anonymously paid your bill.”

Me: “What…?”

Vet: “They made us swear to keep it anonymous, but your entire vet bill has been cleared up. You don’t have to worry about it anymore.”

Me: *sobbing uncontrollably*

(I don’t think I will ever be able to thank that anonymous donor enough. My kitty was a literal lifesaver. Losing her (even after having her for 18 years) was crushing to me. I worried the stress was going to push me back into the depression again, but this act of kindness brought me back. Thank you.)

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