My mother was admitted to the Critical Care Unit after her complicated ovarian cancer surgery. My first visit to the unit was two days later. Dixie Barnes was my mother’s primary nurse for that day. She greeted my father and me at our arrivals. After we spoke with my mother, her patient, she came into the room to explain the various machines that registered her functions and levels. She told us how Mother had eaten, the therapy received, and general news from the physician’s visit that morning.
This day was my parent’s 53rd wedding anniversary. My father had wanted to buy her favorite flowers, but flowers were not allowed in the unit. Dixie had the great idea for a balloon. Dad purchased a smiley-face helium balloon in the Gift Shop and wrote a personal message in marker on it. My mother lit up when he presented it to her.
Mother went to Madison College, which is now James Madison University, where Dixie graduated. They shared stories with me as we followed the JMU Dukes football win that afternoon. That Saturday was my mother’s best and most animated and happy day since she became sick weeks before her surgery and stay in Critical Care. Dixie’s friendly, happy personality won over my mother and distracted her from her health worries.
As Dixie would change and take samples from the various tubes and holding containers for discard or lab study she discretely covered them with a sheet so mother would not notice what she was doing. Her fluid and easy mannerisms with which she performed her duties was highly efficient and sensitive to my mother’s comfort. She is amazing at what she does in her work!