The patients I carry

When I was a nursing student and a CNA on a skilled nursing unit in a hospital there was a patient who bonded with me. That is the only way I can think to say it. She would wait for me to come to work in the evenings and she would hug me and chatter at me when I entered her room.

She had esophageal cancer and had a radical neck dissection with a permanent trach.

She had very few visitors, her estranged brother lived in the area and would not come to visit.

She was lonely.

She and I struck up a friendship.

She was in her fifties but was on the skilled nursing floor to get strong enough to go home.

There was to be no cure for her.

She was essentially waiting to die.

She and I talked about all manner of things. Politics, which I’ve since learned to steer clear from, fashion, the deficit of cute doctors in our retirement community of a town.

She got stronger and was scheduled to go home.

I cheered her every step of the way.

The day she was to be discharged, I helped her shower and dress, brushed her thin hair.

She said that I was her friend and although she was glad to be going home, she would be sad to not see me every day.

I encouraged her to come visit.

She smiled and said she would. With one last hug and a good luck with nursing school she was gone from the unit. On her way home

Going onto the next stage is to be celebrated. Whether it is to home or to a place where there is no more pain. Celebrate it all.

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