Focus and Concentration Deficiency
A Reverse Bucket List

The Specialness of Caregivers

Pretty much everyone works for a living. Some enjoy their jobs, others don't and a few lucky people consider their work a calling, even a mission to which they are fully dedicated.

Undoubtedly the Oregon Health & Sciences University Hospital, where I stayed for a total of 12 days, isn't alone in the excellence of its patient care but it has been four decades since I last needed the services of a hospital so what do I know.

I'll tell you what I know now about OHSU: without exception, every person who helped me in all their various ways – and there were about two dozen of them – were smart, knowledgeable, experienced, friendly, compassionate and always made me feel that caring for me was the most important thing they were doing that day.

At a time when I was the most vulnerable I've ever been as an adult, every one of them made me feel safe. Safer than I have ever felt.

I'm not going to mention names because I will leave out too many and there is not one who doesn't deserve my thanks, respect and gratitude:

The surgeon and his team who told me the truth about my disease with kindness, understanding, hope and who held my hand when I wept.

Meal delivery man who told me not to order coffee from the menu but allow him to bring me the better-tasting coffee that was brewed on my floor. He did that every day.

Nurses and CNAs who somehow inspired me to walk more frequently and farther than I would have done on my own, and without my ever feeling coerced. They made it fun.

Those same RNs and CNAs who wiped my bottom when I couldn't do it myself and made me feel as okay about it as when they helped me in and out of bed.

The night nurses who somehow woke me for a pill without entirely waking me so I could sleep through the night.

My primary care physician who just dropped by one day for a personal visit.

Now that I'm home, there are my go-to nurse from the surgeon's team, the dietition and the medications nurse who are friendly, caring and patient with my phone calls, questions and worries.

I believe the people who choose these careers and professions are different from me and probably most other people. They are special in ways I do not know about.

It is one thing to care for a loved one, as I did with my mother during the last months of her life, and quite another to not only show, but feel the same commitment to the strangers who arrive sick and frightened every day at the hospital or other medical facility where you work.

All these helpers never once faltered in their kindness and concern. They were not pretending. It is as though they have a goodness gene I certainly don't have. This is who they are and I cannot think of them without becoming weepy with gratitude.

* * *

Remember about four weeks ago when Autumn was writing blog posts in the first days following my surgery? She titled one of them “A Room with a View” and this is why: my room overlooked a small portion of the huge OHSU campus on a hill.

OHSU

Comments

No anecdotes or specific comments today. Just bless you Ronni, all the people around you helping, all your followers who take time to send you love.

I've been feeling down lately and knowing that there are so many good caring people in the world is helping me too.

And now, I'm weepy, too. The exquisite care and kindness of caregivers, strangers, persons along the way touch me at the deepest levels. And when I stop or am stopped to recognize, note, bow down to such grace, the tears flow. They are expressing sheer gratitude that no words could convey. I rejoice with you in your praise and appreciation.

My husband has spent a number of days in the hospital for theee different surgeries in the last 8 months, and he, too, has experienced the genuine care of such good people. They truly are exceptional with lots of heart!

I am so glad you are able to write again and share your life with us, Ronni. I am pretty sure you now know that lots of people are in your corner and rooting for continued healing for you.

There are many good people still in the world and those caregivers are some of the very best. I'm so glad you got gentle, loving care when you needed the most.

Now this is a morning pick-me-upper, especially following the reading of a couple news sites.

Maybe it's time to change the order of morning routine, though I've yet to find a way to avoid the deluge of (*#!@ horrible) news. Oh, yes, there is one's own mind and ability to not be roped in like some poor, flailing fish on a hook.

Out of your experience's downside come these warm people to help you. And their welcoming, capable hands and beings are looking to assist, through which you get the chance to feel gratitude to your very bones.

Thanks for passing this on to us. Must say we thank them for your care as well.

Is this the hospital with the air tram? We have recently returned from Portland, and although I did not go with my family to ride the tram, they all thought it was the most amazing thing. I just thought that any hospital that would put in such a thing, and then let the world as well as its employees, ride it, had to be pretty terrific.

This reminded me of a quote that's been attributed to a few different people over the years. but essentially says that people may forget what you say to them, but they will never forget how you made them feel. I think that's especially true in our most vulnerable moments. So glad to hear that your care has been so good and has left you with such positive feelings.

My son had outpatient knee surgery at OSHU in the outpatient building at the bottom of the hill. Although obviously far less serious than your operation, it was a terrific experience, too--kindly caregivers and a skilled surgeon responsive to questions. We all know health crises are scary stuff indeed, and our gratitude to the people who care for us with warmth and attentiveness is something we never forget.

One of the saddest things, I think, about the current "health care debate" in our political system is the indifference with which these politicians regard both the carers and the patients.

I am a retired nurse. This post made my day. That they helped you, and that someone might have felt that way about me as I cared for them.

Yes, hospital people are exceptional people.
I don't know how they do it.
This also reminds me to tell you one bit of advice, given to me by a hospital nurse.
In my last surgery I had a terrible time with the anesthesia, as others have related in their own experiences. We don't think of these things later, but this nurse wrote down the type of anesthesia used and said "don't let them give you this one, ever again!"
The formula used is now in my own personal records that are given to every MD I see.
So, when you feel up to it, you might want to remind yourself to research this and make a note of it.

Meanwhile, glad you are feeling better. Today's post reflects your progress beautifully.

Thank you for your comments today. It brought back so many memories for me. I had the good fortune to work at a home health care agency in New England for a few years. It wasn't a job I really wanted. I couldn't find anything in my field after relocating. However, I had the great privilege of seeing firsthand how wonderful the nurses, social workers, and daily home health aides who would go to people's homes to shave, bathe, and do whatever they could to help people. I had two very serious surgeries while there. One was a partial amputation of my foot. The other was treatment for breast cancer. Fate had been kind putting me in that job. How lucky I was to have those people I worked so closely with come to my home after each surgery to care for me. One was more angry than I after my second misfortune. Another brought her pooch with her because she knew how happy I would be to have that extra special visit. They were incredible. Kind, gentle, intelligent, sensitive, and warm. Most of these people happen to be females. I don't believe they are given enough praise, verbal or monetary, for what they do on a daily basis. I adore them. I'm also so pleased that you are proceeding in your journey so beautifully. You give us all encouragement. Thank you.

Thanks for thanking everyone. This is a wonderful Saturday special.

My DH has had surgery at the Casey Eye Institute, which is part of OHSU. He received excellent care all through the entire process. At one point we ended up at the OHSU emergency room, and even though everything was quite old, I felt we were in good hands.

I am glad you were treated well. It is hard enough to be sick and vulnerable; kind care makes it all more bearable.

I am hoping every day brings more strength and more feelings of well being as you recover.

This brought tears to my eyes. I've been equally blessed.

I'm so happy Ronni you are on the upswing. Your beautiful writing tells us as much.

XO
WWW

I wish you well from here on out as does my wife, Sheila. Although we never met you, we feel as if we know you. May the Lord's healing hand touch you!
Syd Halet

As I'm also a retired RN, it is uplifting to read about your very positive hospital experience. And how nice it is for your staff to feel appreciated.

So grateful you had/have such good and caring and kind people helping you. It makes such a huge difference, in our mental health as well as in our physical health. May those people, and others like them, and all the people like you who need them not be strung up by politicians.

You've described beautifully the wonderful people who cared for me at the University of Colorado Breast Center. I was in awe of the gentle concern, care, and respect from every single person I met there -- doctors, nurses, receptionists -- everyone, without exception. It takes incredibly special individuals to do that day after day. There simply are no words for the gratitude I feel.

And you, Ronni, are giving generously, unstintingly, lovingly with the talents that you have. You shine a light, bring information, hope, laughter, and sometimes hard truths that we need to know. And too, one of your many beautiful characteristics is that you recognize light in others, then feel and express gratitude.

Exceptional care by H.E.A.R.T full people.

We are experiencing a similar walk here in Montreal.

We have observed up close and personal never ending acts of kindness in our local hospital during sixteen rounds of chemo for my friend.

Nurses are angels. Every now and then, they walk a picket line. If I happen to drive by that line I toot my horn like crazy- for them.

Big respect for anyone who works in a hospital, including the many volunteers who walk the halls, bring coffee, tea and cookies to patients.

One special senior volunteer works the cash register in the hospital coffee shop.

Every single time I poured two coffees for myself and my sibling, the woman would lean forward and say..

"Get the sleeve. You need the sleeve."

She was referring to the cardboard thing that slides over the cardboard coffee cup.

She didn't want me to burn my hand.

That volunteer wore a blue uniform with a crowd of angel pins all over it. Pins given by patients and hospital visitors.

I began waiting for her to mention the sleeve, just to hear her say it.

Hearing her remind me of the sleeve took my mind away from what I was doing there in the first place- bringing coffee to my sibling in the cancer ward.

It sounds like you are making good progress, Ronni.

Keep it up!!!

Thanks for the photo.

Ronni dear

Caregivers are a grace.
Despite my various dificulties, like mielodisplasia, protesis in 8 vertebrae, inability to walk well, I am having for a while the grace of a lady that spends eighr hours of her day to help me.
She does everything she can to make me more independent, like teached me to walk again. and she does with a good heart , not because she needs it for living or for some kind of religion or the like. I did not even knew here before.

I need to thank God everyday for her existence, as well as for the existence of my first rate and inteligent doctors for having the opportunity to live again.

Of course there is the support of my family , but a caring and competent medical support people are basic.

I think that good people exists, we only need to have the humility to accept their help. We are all interdependent.
Independence is a falacy.

The best for you, always.

Love

Beatriz

I am only commenting because I also want to join the chorus of accolades for those who work in hospitals. And because I want you to know I'm still here, still excited for each post and thinking of you and your journey, every day.

Glad I read this. Thanks for writing it. I'm sharing it with a special health care provider who will be moved as I was when she reads it.

Hard working care givers appreciate good patients who are grateful for their compassionate help. I know they appreciated you.

It seems natural for one to believe that only caring, empathetic, fun loving, personable, pleasant to be around folks will work in this industry. Everyone I have met in medicine works diligently day and night and are truly the most dedicated. They, like a most of us, find real happiness in giving.

Acts 20:35 "In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive."

You expressed so well the same experience that I had when my hip was replaced. I couldn't believe how kind all these people were. I was so grateful. I was at a true low point in my experience.
So, yes, once again, you have hit upon one of the experiences of our life at this stage.
This is one of the most humanizing and loving of experiences.
Thanks again and keep up your recovery.

What a nice reminder - so many people doing heroic work.

Lovely post Ronni - yes amazing people but remember they would also be reflecting/reacting to a patient obviously able to show them love and gratitude - which would have helped make their day also!

So glad to know that, obviously, you're feeling better. Our medical establishment gets so much criticism, but like you, my experience with doctors and nurses and other medical people has all been positive. May you continue on the healing track.

Lovely sentiments to share that your caregivers would be pleased to hear -- helps brighten any difficult days or times they might be having. Reminds me of years ago when I visited my Mom again, several days after she had returned to her house from a hospital stay. She surprised me by saying, "I kept thinking about when I was in the hospital, so I just now phoned them because I had to tell them how impressed I was with the care I received from the first male nurse I ever had." She continued to describe to me how he had treated her with such respect, allaying her initial anxiety, was solicitous, matter-of-fact in his actions, conveying warmth and concern for her feelings and welfare. She was born in the nineteenth century -- lived many years when a woman's modesty around males prevailed in all settings to a degree that was far greater than what exists today. You -- keep on keepin' on!

I'm so happy to hear your hospitalization was such a positive experience! It makes such a difference, I think, in the healing process. Unfortunately, I had some very negative experiences as a caregiver for Dad. It's good to hear about your positive experiences. It gives me hope things will change for the better.

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