Making our lives a whole lot better

I remember the first nurse I ever met. She slapped my little butt when I was born. Then she took one look at me and slapped my mother.

That story is obviously so much baloney, but I’ve enjoyed telling it for the past 50 some years.

Actually, I like nurses and have great respect for the nursing profession. I read recently that National Nurses’ Week is the first full week of May.

Many of the appointments in my Google calendar these days begin with “Dr.” so I’m seeing more nurses now than ever.

My first real recollection of a nurse is of Mrs. Norris, the office nurse for Dr. Heise, our family physician in Jewell. She always looked so professional in her crisp, white dress and even crisper white hat which sat atop her lovely silver hair.

In the eyes of a kid, Mrs. Norris had a great job. After Dr. Heise poked, probed and injected, Mrs. Norris got to hand out the sucker. Who do you think I liked the best?

The first school nurse I remember was Mrs. Kingery, an equally lovely lady. I recall an outbreak of some serious disease when I was in first grade. Vaccinations were offered at the school and were administered in the school’s hot lunch kitchen.

I recall standing in line in the lunch room waiting for the inoculation. Word spread rapidly from one of the first “injectees” that the vaccinations were being injected in the buttocks.

Yikes! Not only would there be pain but we’d have to pull down our pants in front of the school nurse. I survived the experience and, I think, Mrs. Kingery did, too.

Always the largest kid in my class, I hated it when the school nurse came to weigh and measure everyone. We lined up in the hallway and one-by-one stepped on the scale. The nurse slid up the measuring device to check our height first. When determining my weight, the nurse had to take the extra step of sliding out the little weight marked “100 lbs.” to enable the scale to measure me accurately. For several years I was the only kid who weighed more than 100 pounds. Once the scale’s bar was perfectly balanced, the nurse announced my weight … out loud for all the class to hear. My classmates “oohed” and “ahhed.”

In my late teens I dated a nursing student. My buddy, Rich, and I knew a couple of students at a nursing school in Des Moines.

I have experienced back problems for years and through that experience came to appreciate the nursing profession more fully. Being large and claustrophobic I had a traumatic experience with my first visit to an MRI unit. After the initial (unsuccessful) attempt to do the test, a kind nurse calmed me down and made sure I didn’t pass out before I left the outpatient area. On the second attempt a nurse stayed with me through the entire procedure. Thanks to the nurse and a combination of really good drugs, that MRI was successful.

Subsequently, I underwent several procedures at an outpatient clinic. Once again, the care and compassion of the nurses made the experiences easier for one of the world’s largest babies.

Then I reached the colonoscopy stage of life. By this time of my life, my bashfulness had begun to wane.

Nearly 11 years ago I was hospitalized for a few days. Those gowns they hand out to patients don’t cover much. Sitting on the edge of the bed one morning, I accidently exposed more than intended. When I mumbled an apology to the middle-aged nurse she smiled and said, “Not a problem. I’ve seen ’em all!”

Three years ago I underwent surgery for the first time and, once again, appreciated the care and concern of the nurses. These days many of the nurses are young enough to be my granddaughters (and grandsons.) I appreciate their care and concern.

It takes a special kind of person to be a good nurse. Few of us could do the things they must do and deal with the type of things with which they must deal and still show the compassion, care and kindness that they do.

Thank you, nurses, for making life a whole lot better for all of us.

Arvid Huisman can be contacted at huismaniowa@gmail.com. ©2024 by Huisman Communications.


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