It was a fear everyone had.
Heather felt the apprehension overcome her like a new drug, but it was not a good drug. She was usually the one on the other side of the discussion, her years as a nurse gave her a patient bedside manner that made patients feel at ease, even comfortable in a time when chaos was all most could consider. Why was it that doctors felt the urge to just shoot from the hip with nurses as though they were not like other people, as if they did not matter as much.
Heather sat on the edge of her hospital bed nervous about the upcoming moments. Her clothes and cowboy boots say neatly over on the chair next to the bed. Her family would be there soon, but she was still nervous. The doctor had an opening that allowed her to accelerate the normal pathways, and would do surgery on her thyroid today, rather than waiting weeks or months for a date. She was relieved it would be quick, but not relieved that it would be so quick that she may be alone.
“There won’t be any issue, this is routine, and we may be able to keep it from spreading any further if we act this quickly,” Doctor Thompson had said blandly. Heather was always frustrated how doctors could make the most terrible or most exiting things sound so bland, and always leave it to the nurses to clear up, and make better. She had found very few exceptions in her short career.
She found herself staring at the wall, waiting until a nurse came in. She knew Jenna and Jenna was very quick to prep her. Vitals, IV, and a nice warm suit to keep her warm and toasty. She had remembered how silly she thought these contraptions had looked, like super hair dryers, but they had quickly found it made patients feel better, and heal faster.
“Don’t worry,” Jenna said. “You will be fine.” She smiled and there was a moment that she actually believed, but Jenna was then gone, and Heather was alone for a moment again.
Heather worried her family would not make it. She worried that she would not make it, quite honestly she worried. She worried for the sake of worrying, and that to had a price. The knot in her stomach grew and she wondered how it would have been if she had waited weeks, or months, and if an ulcer was better than cancer?
An older woman came into the room. She was one of the older nurses she had seen, dressed in the fine whites that only senior nurses would ever wear anymore. She smiled at Heather and said, “Hi there.” as she picked up Heather’s chart and began scanning it. “How are you doing.”
“A bit nervous,” Heather said quickly, “This is all happening so fast, I don’t know if I am doing the right thing. I really should talk to my family first.”
The woman sat down on the edge of the bed and took Heather’s hand. Her hand was warm and soft and comforting. She looked at Heather in the eyes, her blue green eyes seemed to sparkle in the light like a sea speckled with emeralds. Heather looked at her and for some reason trusted. “Sweetie, you don’t need to worry. It is not your time yet, and I am one of many people who are going to make sure of that. Your family will be here, I am sure as sureness that they love you very much and will be here to support you. For now you will have to put up with me and the staff to get you through this rough time. Don’t worry though it will be over before you know it and you will be enjoying the time with everyone.”
Heather calmed a little, “But how do you know?”
The nurse smiled as she got up and walked to the small chair next to the bed, “I just know. Everything is going to be alright, and you will come out of this strong and happy. So put away those doubts.”
Jenna came in at that time and said to Heather, “I am going to give you something to relax.” and took a syringe to the IV near her. Jenna looked at her vitals while the Nurse stood to the side and watched dutifully. Jenna then scurried out of the room as she said, “I will check on you in a few.”
Heather was not fully convinced and again felt nervousness creep into her as the nurse began packing her things in a large opaque plastic bag.
“You are the strong one in your family Heather,” the nurse continued. “You will make a difference to so many people. In fact you already have. Think of all those people you have helped as a nurse. Think of how you have had to fight, and how you have won constantly.
Heather felt the drugs start to take hold on her and the room was spinning slightly. She looked up and saw the nurses sparkling eyes looking down on her. “Heather, don’t worry. It is all going to be OK.” was the last thing Heather heard before the darkness overcame her.
Darkness. It was speckled with blue and green emeralds bouncing in her field of vision as she awoke. She was in a recovery room and her mom was there with her. “Oh sweetie, we were worried, but you did so good.” Her mom said with an obvious sigh of relief.
Her throat felt sore as she was moved to a room for the night, and as family came in and out of the room she smiled but dozed “off and on” as the drugs worked their way out her her system. Her mother was there, by her side, every moment. She smiled at her mothers as she fell asleep each time and as she woke, her other was there, smiling at her. The night went quickly as a few nurses came in, and she thought of the older nurse, and wondered when she would be back.
In the morning the Doctor Thompson came by and looked at the incision on her neck, he muttered something about how perfect it looked at what a good job he had done, then barked a few orders to the nurses and sauntered off.
Jenna came in and helped Heather start cleaning up, “You are being released,” she started, “Your day is about to get better.”
Heather looked at her mom and smiled. He mom was beaming with delight that Heather could go home. Jenna helped as she got cleaned up in the small bathroom and she laughed a little, though it hurt, with both her mom and Jenna as they looked for her clothes. They found them in the opaque bag and her brown cowboy boots sat next to them.
Jenna laughed, “You and these boots, they pretty much define you don’t they.”
All three of them chuckled.
Heather brushed her hair and let it fall to her shoulders, it seemed to shimmer in the sunlight coming in from the small hospital window, a golden brown that she loved. Her mother smiled at her as she dressed and she was not uncomfortable now even though her throat hurt. As she neared the end of the back she pulled out a small folded package, well, it was actually something soft wrapped in tissue paper.
As she unwrapped it the blue, grey green turquoise pattern on white became visible. It was a very soft worn scarf.
“Where did you get that?”, her mother said.
“I don’t know,” she said thinking and actually straining to remember. “I think the nurse who was sitting with me before the surgery must have given it to me.”
Jenna laughed, “Which one?”
Heather wrapped the scarf around her neck and it hid the scar beneath, she felt less self conscious immediately. “I am not sure,” Heather said adjusting the scarf on her neck. “It was an older woman, she did not say her name.”
Her mother looked at her, “Well, she picked out that scarf perfectly, your grandmother had one just like it she wore all the time, it brought out her eyes just like it will yours.”
Heather looked in the mirror and saw her reflection. The grey and colors of the paisley print brought out the blues and greens in her eyes, and they seemed to sparkle in the light. She was reminded of the nurse and her twinkling eyes and as she looked in the mirror those eyes looked back at her.
Her mother stood behind her as she looked at the scarf in the mirror. “We named you after her, it is a shame you never got to meet her, she was so caring and so great to people. She was a nurse just like you and she always had warm hands that just made you feel good.
Heather smiled for a moment as she looked in the mirror and saw her blue green that eyes seemed to sparkle in the light like a sea speckled with emeralds, and she was happy as she turned and hugged her mom softly. “I love you.” She said to her mother and as Jenna helped her into the wheelchair for her ride to the car she knew everything was going to be alright.