Michelle is an amazing and outstanding nurse. My mom, aunt and I headed to Ocean Isle with my 89-year-old grandmother. We spent an amazing 12 hours with her that day before she had a massive stroke. That night we found ourselves at NHBMC. We spent the night trying to figure out how we would get my grandmother transported back to Burlington, NC. Friday afternoon we were hit with the reality that she wasn't going back home and would probably not make it through the night. My grandmother had a very large, loving family. Many family members made the drive to be with her during her final hours. All of the staff and nurses at Novant were sincerely caring and helpful, but Michelle really stood out to our family. She came to work that day as a nurse to work her shift. My family saw Michelle as an angel sent from God to help us through a very difficult time.
When Michelle came on shift, my grandmother had begun the passing process. Michelle could tell the people in my grandmother's room were clueless to what was about to happen. She introduced herself to us and told us she had been a former hospice nurse. She said she would be more than happy to answer any questions we had about the process and help us in any way. Once everyone got to the hospital we asked Michelle to come into the room and talk to the whole family. We didn't even know where to begin with questions. Michelle said, "then let me start by telling you what to expect." Her knowledge and compassion were very comforting. She didn't seem to be rushed and didn't act like she needed to be somewhere else. She stood at the head of my grandmother's bed with 12 sets of teary eyes on her. She made the process sound so peaceful. You could see the ease flow across the room as the family relaxed and prepared for this transition. As the night progressed, Michelle checked in on our family frequently. She found us extra chairs to make us all comfortable and made sure we had plenty to drink and eat.
As my grandmother's breathing began to get more shallow, my son went out to get Michelle to be with us. She peacefully came into the room and stood at the head of the bed. We were all gathered around my grandmother as she took her last breath. Michelle didn't say a word. She just checked her heart and nodded at us to confirm when my grandmother made the transition. She stood with us quietly for a few minutes and then softly said, "do you have any questions or do you need anything?" No one said a word. She slid out of the room to give us a few minutes alone with my grandmother. Michelle later had us move to another room while she and the CNAs "fixed" my grandmother and made her look so much more peaceful. I am sure this is part of a nurses job, but Michelle made us feel like it was just for us. It was then that I realized she wasn't my grandmother's nurse that night, but she was our family's nurse.
My family are very strong Christians and rely on our faith. I truly believe God controlled every moment of my grandmother's passing. My grandmother told us she wanted to see the beach one more time, which was God's way of getting us in the right place. We had no idea she had been having mini-strokes. God didn't want us to know, because He knew we would have been too afraid to leave town with her. He knew we needed to be at Novant Health that night with Michelle as our family's nurse. He truly sent us that sweet angel to help us feel so at ease and be at peace with the passing of a very important person in our life. Michelle knew my grandmother meant the world to us and made us feel as if we were her only patient that night. Many friends have made the comment that it was a shame we were so far from home. We respond with "Nope, because if we had been home we wouldn't have had Michelle as OUR nurse." I feel Michelle truly lives up to what the DAISY award represents. Michelle is compassionate, knowledgeable and so much more than a nurse. She is that angel God uses to help families get through difficult times. I can never thank her enough for being there for my family.