The care and personal attention and genuine concern given to our grandson during his stay on the pediatric ward by his night nurse, Jennifer was overwhelming to us. She helped us through a very painful time. My grandson's fear and anxiety levels were high. In a time in America when people are afraid to share their faith and nurses are too busy "writing up charts" this nurse reached out to us in a way that will be in our hearts forever. Please read my letter to the hospital's board:
Dear Members of the Hospital Board,
My grandson (age 13) was visiting us over Easter vacation. He flew in from Illinois to Marco Island to spend time with us before his big national swim competition in Clearwater, Florida. On Easter Sunday, while with us in Marco, a misfortunate accident took place on my brother's pontoon boat. The hatch door on the floor of the pontoon was slammed on my grandson's foot cutting through the bone and cutting off the tip of his big toe. We rushed him to the closest hospital to us, Physicians Regional Medical Center, and they took him by ambulance to NCH North Naples Hospital.
He spent 4 days in North Naples Hospital on the pediatric ward. Our experience there was remarkable. The care and personal attention and genuine concern was overwhelming to us. My husband has had 3 bouts of cancer with long hospital stays and never have we received the type of care that was extended to us while our grandson was admitted to this hospital. The individual and personal attention to our needs was outstanding.
There was one special nurse, Jennifer Cox, that made a lasting impression on my grandson's life, as well, as myself. This is a wonderful story about her compassion and concern for her young patient.
Now, only 2 days before the big event and we have our grandson with us in Marco. We spent Easter morning on the beach enjoying Sunrise Service and took a relaxing boat ride that afternoon with our family. It was a perfect Easter Day. Then the unthinkable happens.
The physical pain this young man had to endure was short of unbearable, as we had to pick up the piece of his toe that was cut off and get him to the hospital immediately.
He took it well when they told him in the emergency room that Easter Sunday night that he would not be able to swim at NASA Swim Meet on Wednesday. But, when they told him there was a good chance, also, that he would not be able to fly home to Illinois on Friday to make his Confirmation, tears streamed down his face.
I remember my grandson telling me as he was being wheeled back from surgery at 1 am that he had asked his surgeon if she were Catholic. (I thought that was strange, at the time). He told me then that it was a" good sign" that his doctor was a Catholic like him because now she would let him go home on Friday since she understands the importance of his Confirmation. I tried to explain to him that the doctors would make that decision based on the condition of his toe and not his religion. (but, to no avail)
He had a St. Patrick statue next to his bed. Patrick was his chosen Confirmation name as his mother was Irish and she had always wished she had named Patrick. He had chosen St. Patrick in honor of his mother.
My grandson could handle the disappointment of not being able to swim in his meet, but was determined that he could not miss out on being Confirmed with his classmates. He pleaded with anyone who entered his room and would listen to him...the nurses, Drs, physical therapists, about how he "had" to leave on Friday morning to make it home in time for his Confirmation on Friday night. The statue of St. Patrick next to his bed opened the door for all of the Catholic hospital staffers to speak to him about their own Confirmation. He was convinced that "everyone" in the hospital was Catholic just like him and was very confident about getting released on Friday.
Jennifer was his nurse several of the nights. She soon became one of our favorite nurses. He could not stop talking to her and asking her questions. Not knowing his full story about loosing his mother and losing his chance to swim in the national competition, she still sensed the anxiety and fears within him. He was elated when he discovered she, too, is yet "another" Catholic. She was not annoyed with his probing questions to her. She was very patient with him. She encouraged him to go to Rome someday and visit the Vatican...to make it a goal for himself to do in his life time. He could not stop asking Jennifer details about her trips to Rome and the Vatican. He was most intrigued about her latest trip to Lourdes, France. He had heard of the miracle healing's at Lourdes, France and wanted to learn more. When the young nurse left the room, he immediately got on the computer and read as much as he could about Lourdes. He was intrigued by the thousands of claims of the water's healing power to the sick & the lame and that he had just met someone who had visited this sight.
Jennifer was on duty all night with him. She drove all the way home after being up all night and instead of going to bed, she turned around and drove back to the hospital to reach him before he was released. We were so surprised when she walked into the room with a small bottle of the healing water from Lourdes, France for him to take home as a keepsake. We all were taken aback with her compassion and caring for him. She knew in her heart that this would be a huge boost to this young boy's moral. And, as exhausted as she was, she put his well being ahead of own.
He immediately called his swim coach to tell her about the small bottle of water from Lourdes that he had just received from his nurse. He then called his dad to share his news. He was so touched and so happy. This was a heart warming experience for all of us, amidst our pain and struggles with thes situation. His surgeon had told us "no water" on his wounded toe for 6 weeks. But, he asked the doctor to apply the water to his injured toe when she came that day to visit him. The doctor granted him his request, dabbing a small amount of the water at the base of his toe far away from the wound. It meant the world to my grandson.
Whether or not one believes in the miracles at Lourdes or any powers in the water is not the point. It is the love, the attention and concern for this young boy who was far away from home, in a hospital, in major pain, losing the opportunity to swim in national meet and now, the threat of him not being able to be Confirmed with his classmates. His fears and anxiety levels were high. The nurse took the time to answerer his questions as she knew how important they were to him.
In a time when people in America are afraid to share their faith and nurses are "too busy" writing up reports, this gesture of this young nurse and her compassion for her patient will stay with us forever. All 3 doctors agreed to let him fly home on Friday. He was Confirmed with his class. The small bottle of healing water is next to his bed in his room at home. It will remain with him the rest of his life.
There will always be a special place in our heart for Jennifer.