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Fay Stout | all galleries >> Galleries >> I Am a Nurse > Come to a party... ICU... room 303
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Come to a party... ICU... room 303

We had cared for Jane now for almost 4 months in ICU. She was a sweet person who liked to smoke. And even though she had a tracheostomy and was breathing on a ventilator she still wanted a cigarette. Unfortunately her long term habit had devastated her lungs to the point that we could not get her off the ventilator and back then there was no such thing as long term acute care facilities to care for her. Other than that she was alert, and could write notes or mouth words to communicate. Her husband would spend the better part of the day with her and then go home about dinner time before it would get dark.

He loved to bring in some of the old photographs of them in their younger days. They married in their late teens and made a beautiful couple. He was tall and handsome and she had the looks of a model. It would be hard to recognize them today.

Their 60th wedding anniversary was coming up. They had no living children to celebrate with and I felt that such a long marriage deserved to be celebrated. And after caring for her for nearly four months, they were starting to feel like family. So our staff started to make plans...

I spoke with a friend who would often come to visit about our plans and asked if she could help by getting her a nightgown to wear rather then our ugly patient gowns. I specifically requested something frilly with lace and flowers that would make her feel special. Well, she did better than that. She got exactly what I asked for and then cut it down the back and put pretty pink silk ties in the back to make it easier to get on and off.

All the nurses got little token gifts for her to open and I made a 3-layer tiered cake with pink icing roses and little pale blue forget-me-nots decorating each layer. We were hoping the unit would not be busy and spoil our plans.

The day finally arrived. We bathed her, washed her hair, did her nails and put on her beautiful new nightgown to surprise her husband. We even put a little rouge on her cheeks and some pale pink lipstick. We held up the mirror so she could see and she had the most beautiful smile on her face. She really did feel special.

When her husband arrived he could not believe it. He took her hand and told her how beautiful she looked and that he loved her so much. Minutes later we all came in with the cake and the little gifts for her to open. It was truly a celebration of love and devotion and what marriage is all about.

Canon EOS 40D
1/500s f/11.0 at 132.0mm iso1600 full exif

other sizes: small medium large auto
Margot W13-May-2011 18:12
I love this story and will pass on a simple one to you. I visited my husband in the hospital on my birthday. He isn't one for big gifts but he said that he could't finish his meal and if I were hungry there was more under the dome on his plate. When I lifted the lid there was his bran muffin with a drinking straw cut down to size to represent a candle. That was the best birthday gift ever.
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