At 0700, Patty Miller walked into my room. As she examined my swollen hand and the red streaks, now up to my armpit, she appeared quite concerned. She outlined the bright red areas of my hand and the arm stripes with a marker so she could monitor the progression. She brought ice packs and extra pillows to elevate and chill the arm. She assured me the doctor would be there soon and that the doctor was one of the best.
Patty came into my room several times before the doctor arrived, checking vitals, bringing ice water and fresh ice packs, and of course, monitoring the progress of my infection. It became clear to me that Patty was concerned, and she sincerely cared about my well-being. Those seemingly simple actions helped to settle my fears and give me hope. When Patty took over my care, I knew in my heart that she understood the gravity of my condition. I knew she would do everything in her power to help me and provide the care I needed. She was the angel I needed at that moment.
Patty made me feel I was her most important patient. She took care of me and just as importantly, she engaged me in conversation whenever she entered the room which kept my mind off the fears and discomfort. She greeted my husband by his first name and treated him like a welcomed guest offering a cold drink or snack. Some of the behaviors I describe can be taught, but in Patty's case, it's clear they come naturally. I doubt that most of nursing is about "heroics". I believe it's more about the day-to-day little things like noticing body language, anticipating needs, providing comfort, and most of all, conveying strength and peace of mind to the patient. In all of these qualities Patty Miller excels and for that, I will be eternally grateful to her.