I would like to thank Pam for ministering to my husband and me late in the afternoon in the Heart Center. It was shortly after 2:30 pm when my husband was scheduled to have an electrophysiological test and mapping of his heart in order to determine how best to treat his arrhythmia.
Pam greeted us cheerfully and made sure my husband was comfortable. She covered him with a warm blanket, and I watched as she supervised a young nurse who began to insert the drip-line tube into an artery in my husband's hand. This nurse appeared to be a trainee in the procedure. Having been a teacher myself, I admired the way Pam allowed the trainee to do the job independently, yet kept a watchful eye on her progress, occasionally offering a suggestion or a demonstration, and encouraged the new nurse with compliments.
As Pam wheeled my husband away, she told me the test normally lasts 1 and ½ hours and rarely two hours. I was the only person left in the waiting room as I kept my eyes on the clock. When two hours passed, she appeared and told me the doctors were still working hard and asked me where my daughter lived. I replied that she lived one-hour away. After she left, the hospital chaplain then entered the waiting room; seemingly he was making his rounds. We had a pleasant conversation and discovered we both share the same faith.
Immediately after he left, Pam came to me again and quietly said, "Your husband is not responding." Still unaware of the real situation, I told her I was fine with waiting longer, but she continued, "Don't you want your daughter to have the opportunity to see him?" While Pam had been preparing me for reality with her short, gentle messages, this question softly delivered the truth; my husband had passed away.
At Pam's suggestion, I phoned my daughter who immediately started on her way. Then, Pam stayed by my side in the consulting room when the doctors spoke with me, and in the lab where my husband's body lay. There, she quietly stood by me with tissues for my tears and made sure that, in my haze of shock, I did not misplace my purse and tote. She lingered to greet my daughter and son-in-law at the elevator and escorted them to the lab. It was late, well after 6 pm, but she stayed with us until we were ready to leave and got on the elevator to depart.
Pam was my angel of mercy at the most heart-wrenching experience of my life. I want to thank her for her sensitivity to my needs and those of my family members. I believe Pam Garrett personifies what nursing is all about, and I am eternally grateful she was on duty that fateful afternoon. I wish all nurses could have their training with Pam.