My husband underwent spinal surgery at South Miami Hospital. After an excruciating night of pain, anxiety, and restlessness, the nurse shift changed and our new nurse came in, Leslie Lavoy. Leslie was a breath of fresh air; she was so compassionate, understanding and caring about my husband's pain and needs. Her carefree spirit, wittiness and contagious smile made such an enormous impact on our day. My husband was able to laugh through conversations and forget he was in pain, just because she took the time to listen, she treated him like he was her family. During these conversations, my husband mentioned that his spinal surgery was due to numerous accidents as a Motorcycle Officer during his 30-year career as a law enforcement officer, and Leslie shared with us that coincidentally her fiancé was also a law enforcement officer. At that very moment, I felt relief in my heart to know that she really understood what my pain as his wife was, and then at that very second I realized why God had entwined her and her fiancé's lives for eternity; because it takes extraordinary people to do superhuman work every day. Being a first responder is something that you know you have been called to do, this is a job many people do, but not many people can do with a true love to serve others selflessly.
That very morning I stepped out of the room for a walk and saw Leslie with a box of pastries in her hand as she spoke to an elderly man sitting in a chair at the door of his room. I could see that this gentleman was not of sound mind he wanted to get up and leave, he was confused and distraught; I saw her compassion as she spoke to him in a way he could understand. She was treating him as if he were her grandfather, she told him, "Look I bought you pastries for breakfast, you can't leave and not have them with me." I had heard that since the nurses had been called to stay in the hospital for 24 hours due to the projected hurricane, someone had brought pastries and put them in the nurses’ lounge. She took those pastries and used her forbearing sympathy to help this patient that was clearly confused and distressed.
I noticed this elderly man was always by himself and didn't seem to have any family, this broke my heart. The hours went by and the man seemed to be afraid of going back inside his room, and there was Leslie sitting in a chair right next to him, keeping him company, talking to him and demonstrating that more people in this world should have the humanity and kindheartedness she had for this elderly man.
The following day, Leslie worked the night shift, she was not the nurse assigned to my husband's care, but nevertheless, she visited our room throughout the night, made small talk, and once again made sure we knew she would be here if we needed her.
Our last night, I was so happy to see that Leslie was his nurse again. The nights got harder and harder for my husband, he was in pain but wanted to be home, his anxiety was not allowing him to rest. I could hear her come into the room quietly through the night to make sure he was resting comfortably. I am grateful that God knew exactly who he needing to put in our lives during these very difficult days.
During one of my many walks around the floor, I saw a pamphlet that said: "Nominate a nurse for The DAISY Award". I took one, and read it, and realized this was exactly who Leslie Lavoy was. Some people come into our lives and leave quickly, some stay for a while, and the very special ones leave footprints in our hearts that render us never ever the same. Leslie’s compassion and skills exemplify that of a nurse every family should have the privilege of being cared by.