Last week I sent a shout out to all the moms, but this week I've got nurses on my mind.
It's because yesterday was the 10 year anniversary of my twin's birth. (Okay, my eyes are springing a leak at the thought of it). Exactly one decade ago today, after spending 2 weeks lying in a hospital bed trying to hold back the impending premature labor, I was rushed into an emergency c-section, and at 29 weeks my twins arrived into this world weighing in at less than 3 lbs each. It was the most frightening time of my life.
I say time and not day, because it wasn't just a frightening day, it was a whole season of frightening, and anniversaries can bring back a whole season if the emotions attached are intense enough.
This week I've been feeling the pangs of what I call Labor Day season because, fittingly, I gave birth to my twins on Labor Day. To me it's a season as real as Christmas or Easter, accompanied by equally real emotions. But it's impossible to tell you how Labor Day season felt to me without generalizing about it. It was hard. It was frightening. There was guilt and anxiety and pain. But that doesn't help you feel what I felt.
I can only try to show you the effects of how it felt. This week I went to the hospital a few times to see a woman in my community who had taken a bad fall. On both visits I ducked into the hosptial bathroom, washed my hands with that industrial soap on the wall, then pressed them to my nose and inhaled deeply. During Labor Day season, that instantly makes me cry. Why? Because it's time travel. That industrial soap lingered in the air for 9 weeks while I had some of the most intense experiences of my life.
So tis the season to inhale industrial soap and celebrate the small kindnesses of the nurses who comforted me through it, because when you're confined to a hosptial bed, heavily medicated to the point where words on a page swim, musical notes split and spin, and T.V. makes you throw up, you not only come face to face with your own demons, but with the sharp realities and consequences of life and love.
So this post is for the nurse who chatted with me every day in bright yellow scrubs and told me dreamy stories about Seattle. She'll never know how much that bright yellow cheered me up, or how close I came to moving to Seattle. And she'll never know how close I came to confiding in her my deepest secrets.
This post is for the nurse who secretly slipped an ice cube into my mouth in the early morning after I begged like a crack addict all night. I had been given a hearty dose of Magnesium, which immediately transforms your tongue into the Sahara desert, and the nurse had been given specific instructions: LIQUID? ABSOLUTELY NOT! UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES! LET HER SUFFER AND DIE FIRST. LET HER DROWN IN HER OWN FIXATION OF TALL ICEE GLASSES OF MOUNTAIN DEW!
And for the nurse who told me I looked like a Victoria Secret model every time she came into my room, this post if for you. When you're pregnant with twins and flat on your back in a hospital gown for 2 weeks, something about those words gives you the strength to brush your hair each morning.
This post is for the nurse who held my hand while the phlebotomist shoved a needle the size of vermont into my neck, the nurse who placed fresh cold cloths on my forehead while the room did summersaults, and the nurse who rubbed my feet while I signed waivers that the doctors were not responsible if my babies came out blind, deaf, dumb or deformed.
This post is for all the nurses who made me feel safe and secure when I wasn't. Because of them I now consider hospitals a sanctuary. A place of refuge.
Some people feel God in church and in temples, some people feel him in nature, but I know where God hangs out. He's rolling up his sleeves with the nurses in the hallowed halls of the hospitals.