Butterfly Sparks Designs

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Ms. O'Malley

Ms. O'Malley* was my patient last night in room 303.

Ms. O'Malley is a very frail, pint-sized little lady.  She is so small, we have to use a pediatric blood pressure cuff to fit her little arms.  Disease and illness have shrunk her body to it's bear frame.  Her face seems hard, as her cheekbones protrude through.  But there was something about Ms. O'Malley that drew me into her presence as a nurse.  I found myself wanting to linger a little longer at her bedside.  She was spunky, polite, and resolute about her hip pain, not demanding or needy.  She always met me with a smile and a humble "thank you" each time I was in her room. 

I went by her room every hour or so to check on her and found her watching "Turner Movie Classics" on television.  Last night was the kind of night at work that entailed never sitting down- until after I'd given report to the nurse coming on after me.  My patients were a busy group, constantly needing pain meds, help to the bathroom, another blanket, etc. 

So whenever I'd head into Ms. O'Malley's room to check on her and she was fine, I took the opportunity to sit in the chair beside her bed for a few minutes to rest my legs and visit with her. 

At one point she was watching a bio on Henry Fonda, so I sat down and watched images of Mr. Fonda flash by on the screen.  We watched Henry dance with his leading ladies, and Ms. O'Malley spoke of how handsome he was and what a classy guy she always thought he was.

Later in the evening, she was watching snippets from "On Golden Pond." 

"Have you seen this movie?"  she asked me.

"I haven't," I responded.

She looked at me long and hard, shook her head then, and made me promise I'd go out and rent it this weekend.

It's on my "to do" list :)

Ms. O'Malley was a breath of fresh air to my evening last night.  The last time I went to check on her, as I rose out of my chair at her bedside and told her good night, she said, "Thank you for taking care of me tonight in such a loving way.  I enjoyed you and hope you have a safe drive home."

Truth is, I simply sat beside Ms. O'Malley and "chewed the fat" with her, as they say here in Texas :)  I enjoyed her immensely, and she provided welcome relief to me that night in the midst of all the busyness and running around.

Ms. O'Malley reminded me of something last night in my work as a nurse: she reminded me of the importance of presence.

The precious gift of simply being present with one another in this busy world, is a very valuable thing :)

(*name has been changed to protect confidentiality)

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