Upbeat. Compassionate. Loving. These are just a few words to describe the care Immanuel Medical Center oncology nurse, Tara Barnes, showered on us and our dear R.
For two-and-a-half weeks, R was a patient in the hospital's oncology unit, and several times she was blessed to have Tara as her nurse. Tara delivered much more than medical care, and she cared for more than just R. She cared for our entire family. She hugged and sat with R's partner and best friend. She took the time to make him a special cup of coffee, using her personal stash of Keurig cups. She listened to and answered our questions as we tried to come to grips with what was happening, and also listened to the countless R stories we shared. Tara seemed to always be in the background, working at least one step ahead for what R, and all of us, needed. She never judged us. She gave us her full attention, and never lead us to believe she had other things to do or that we were taking too much of her time. She understood our needs, and helped us cope with the reality that we were losing our best friend, daughter, sister and aunt.
She constantly asked us, "Is there anything I can do?" When it was time for the doctors or nurses to do something, or give R another dose of medication, Tara always asked if it was a good time for us. She said we could stay or step out of the room. She never left us in the dark and always made sure we could spend as much time with R as possible.
Tara also shared a bit of her life with us. One day she was having a rough day on the floor and R's room became a place for her to escape. We shared a few more laughs and she recharged her batteries to get through the rest of her shift. Seeing that personal side helped us really connect to Tara. We are grateful for every ounce of energy and love she gave. We are thankful for the times she laughed and cried with us. Tara took us by the hand and led us through our most difficult days with compassion and professionalism. She was an incredible blessing to our entire family.