A small gift from a patient reminds a nurse what matters.
Working in labor and delivery has been rough. I am not going to lie. I log onto social media and everyone is arguing about wearing a mask, sending kids to school, and politics. If only others could witness what nurses experience at work every day.
The hospital right now feels like a war with no end in sight. Every floor is dealing with the pandemic. In labor and delivery, we treat COVID-19 positive moms daily. It is our new normal.
These moms are scared and worried. The special day they dream about and they looked forward to is completely different than what they had imagined. The nurses secretly mourn with them, but we do all we can to help women remember the magic and beauty of childbirth.
We just want to give our patients the best. My work family and I get up and go to battle every day.
We are exhausted and scared, but also hopeful. We ask God for strength. We will continue to care for the physical and emotional needs of our patients. But if we do not care for ourselves, we can not care for others.
Nurses are absolutely depleted in every mental, emotional, and physical way. No one working healthcare unaffected by the virus. Nurses, physicians, and other hospital employees are struggling.
The struggle was especially tough on Sunday. It was a rough day, to say the least. On the way home, I broke down in tears.
It was an ugly cry. One lasting the entire drive home.
As I drove to work Monday morning I prayed. I prayed hard. I asked for a reminder. Why do I do this? Why do I take away time from my kiddos and risk my self? How do I tap into my battered soul to find the strength to walk in the hospital door?
Without fail, He reminded me the hospital is where I am supposed to be.
Photo by Heather Molchadski
The message came in the form of cookies.
When I arrived at work, a special delivery was waiting for me. A patient sent treats after I stayed to help deliver her sweet new baby boy. My shift had ended hours before, but the unit was short. I wanted to support the coworkers I love.
I also stayed because I wanted this patient to see a familiar face during her delivery. She and I bonded throughout the day. I did not want to leave her. Nurses do what it takes for their patients. But there was more to it.
I need to stay to experience something more like the old normal, a moment of joy to break through the cycle of pain.
Cookies may seem like a small thing, but this box of baked goods was such a perfectly timed gift. It was the message I needed to remind me why I am here.
For everyone: If you know a nurse, patient tech, doctor, physician assistant, medical assistant, phlebotomist, housekeeper, or anyone who works in a hospital setting… Hug them. Pray for them. Fill them up with all you have.
We all need it.
This article was contributed by a dear friend of MacArthur Medical Center, Heather Molchadski, a labor and delivery nurse.