This fall, our lives forever changed when our son was brought to the emergency department and then transferred to the CCU at Iowa Methodist. In the CCU, it was determined my son would not survive and we needed to consider organ donation. Our friends and family filled up two waiting rooms to say their good-byes. The entire staff in the CCU were beyond amazing to our family during our darkest days. There was one nurse who stood out and her name was Jacqui. She saw my confusion and explained everything in a way I could understand. I could see the compassion in her eyes. She was so attentive, not just to the medical needs of our son, but the emotional needs of our suffering. Many times, she would see me crying and she'd close the door and comfort me. She also helped record our son's heartbeat, handprints and cut locks of his hair for us to keep.
When it came time to go to the operating room to take our 19-year-old son off the ventilator and say good-bye, Jacqui volunteered to come in on her night off to be with us. I cannot even begin to imagine what nurses go through emotionally while watching people in the most horrific situations. Yet, they do it with such compassion. It's truly amazing how special and self-sacrificing nurses are. Jacqui's eyes told me she understood and would not leave us. How nurses live that out every day and still go home to the daily struggles and chores of life, is beyond me. In the darkest days of our lives, Jacqui made a huge difference and we'll always be grateful.