Shertzer: Each patient leaves an indelible mark

The other day, I was at the grocery store, browsing through the produce, when I heard a voice say, “Excuse me.” I turned to see a woman standing there. “Do you remember me,” she asked? She looked familiar, but I did not recognize her as someone I knew.

She continued, “You were my nurse when I had my son.” Many times in these situations I will jokingly say, “Look forty pounds heavier, and grimace like you are in pain…Ok, NOW I recognize you,” but with this woman I did not have to. The longer I stood there, I knew exactly who she was by simply looking in her eyes. She began to recount her birth experience, including every detail, which I will spare you.

Tales of a mountain nurse by Daniell Mickey Shertzer

Tales of a mountain nurse
by Daniell Mickey Shertzer

It was her first baby. First deliveries are often long and arduous, as hers was.¬†She told me she was scared to death, in pain, exhausted, and wasn’t sure she could even muster the strength to push the baby out.

“I pushed for three hours, in every position possible, my epidural wore off, I screamed until I was hoarse, I used words that would make a sailor blush, I threatened to castrate my husband, but you never once left my side.”

Then she said the two words that make all of the missed lunches, full bladders, and aching feet worthwhile, “Thank you.”

As nurses, we are privileged to be able to share with people the most intimate moments of their lives. We are there to hear a first cry as new life comes into the world, or to make a patient’s last days as comfortable as possible. Each patient leaves an indelible mark on who we are, both personally and professionally. To me, that is my sustenance; what keeps me going when the days are long and challenging, a necessary reminder of why we do what we do.

Daniell Mickey Shertzer is pinned as a professioanl nurse in a ceremony 18 years ago.

Daniell Mickey Shertzer is pinned as a professioanl nurse in a ceremony 18 years ago.

In celebration of National Nurses’ Week, I changed my profile picture to the picture taken at my pinning 18¬†years ago. I look at that picture and reflect back to that 21-year-old girl, so green and eager to use all of the skills she had learned, with so much yet to learn still ahead of her. If that same girl asked me, “If you knew then what you know now, would you still become a nurse?”

The answer is unequivocally, “In a heartbeat!”

Daniell Mickey Shertzer is a nurse, a wife and mother of two children who lives in a small town just like yours.

 

Filed in: Health, Latest Headlines, Opinion

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