BSN, RN, PCCN
At 22 years old the world of surgeries and pain is no stranger to me, even as a child. But I can say that without a doubt every time it NEVER gets easier. In June, I underwent a massive spinal surgery one that lasted all day and I didn't even make it up onto the floor until late in the night. There were countless lines and wires going into my body and I woke up terrified and confused. This admission was particularly challenging since my parents could not be nearly as involved in my care as usual due to COVID restrictions. It was entirely the nurses who did everything this time. The first couple of days were a complete blur due to being half sedated. Days of excruciating pain and tears. I also was unable to move my left arm due to nerve inflammation.
Around the second or third day post-op Autumn walked into my room that morning and despite wearing a mask I could see just by her eyes she showed the biggest smile of reassurance and continued to be my nurse for several days. Although it is extremely emotional for me to think deeply about the trauma of the surgery it is worth every tear and painful memory writing this to thank Autumn from the bottom of my heart not only for her care but compassion patience and just pure love.
Right now, during COVID nurses are in the spotlight and being recognized as the heroes they are. I just have to smile because I've known this to be true all along my journey and Autumn is no exception – my hero. I am so grateful Autumn made one of the worst times of my life just a bit better. Knowing how much she cared never made me feel humiliated during inevitable embarrassing hospital moments, she was never slow in contacting my doctors, always on time with medications, and did everything with a smile despite me being at my absolute worst. She cheered me on through every small milestone leading to discharge after a long 10 days. Whether it be learning to properly roll to sit up, walk again for the very first time, or be able to swallow a pill for the first time she was one of my biggest cheerleaders. I may forget all of what she said but I'll never forget the way she made me feel. I know that every day she will have a new patient to make a wonderful impact on but I hope she will remember me and how much I appreciated her.
There's one thing that my doctors never saw on my chart – the smile Autumn put on my face every day when she walked in at 7 am and the hope in my heart when I failed to see a light at the end of the tunnel. One of my favorite quotes is, "You haven't truly lived until you've done something for someone who can never repay you." I'll never be able to repay any of those special nurses but I will do my best as I continue on with my life and goal to enter the medical field to remember the good bad and ugly moments all along my journey to exemplify the special character and qualities they all so elegantly embody. Thank you, Autumn, and all of 5 West. I'll remember you forever. Love You Always!