My husband was admitted to the oncology floor following a seizure of unknown origin in May. Over the past year he had undergone bypass surgery, chemotherapy, and radiation from small cell lung cancer and had been given a clean bill of health in February. We had begun our summer plans and were moving forward from this long journey believing all was well. The seizure was sudden and unexpected and landed us in the hospital again.
My husband was admitted in May and was alright, not his usual self, but alright; however, over the course of 4 days, he seriously deteriorated and when we got the MRI results he was found to have a lesion on his brain that was actively bleeding for which there was no treatment. The doctor was wonderful to us and I decided to place my husband in hospice care for the remainder of his time in the hospital, as going home was not an option.
Maggie cared for him prior to the diagnosis. When she came in, she knew instinctively that my husband had deteriorated and that I was shaky. Most of my time was spent calling our four children and their spouses, brother and sister-in-law and nephew to organize when they could get here. During this time, Maggie was engaged, asking how all was going, when everyone would arrive and assuring me that my husband would have the room alone, just waiting for a room to open to move our roommate to. My husband would respond to her when he would respond to no one else. She attended to all of my needs, the needs of our children as they arrived by answering questions and giving meticulous care to my husband, insuring his comfort through medication and positioning.
When Maggie’s shift was coming to an end, we found that we had a room to ourselves, and somewhat commandeered the solarium and just seemed to spread out all over the unit. Then in came Amira.
Amira never questioned the crowd in the room, moved around us as if we were not here and never once did any of us feel in the way. This was including when all of us, 13 in total and 10 of us were sleeping in the room on the bed, in chairs and on the floor. Amira’s biggest concern was my husband’s comfort through the night and that she not disturb or step on anyone!
Due to the attitudes of both Maggie and Amira, no one on the unit seemed to have any concern over the number of people present for him and all were welcoming and caring, including the housekeeper who was always asking if I needed anything and if I was alright. Just so unexpected and appreciated!
My husband passed away on the fourth day while we were all under the care of Maggie who was direct, open and honest with us as Amira had been. The communication between these two nurses from my vantage point was seamless. They entered the room knowing the situation, how we had complicated it with our needs and yet never questioned us, never avoided us or seemed annoyed with us. They were caring, professional, empathetic and attentive.
For the care these two nurses provided to my husband and our entire family, they deserve the DAISY Award. They are extraordinary nurses with the ability to consistently assess and provide the care needed as if it was second nature. They left us with a sense of peace through my husband’s last hours that would not have occurred had they not entered our lives during this time.
A nursing colleague once told me that if you “take care of a woman’s people and you are taking care of that woman”. These were just words to me until I was under the care of two nurses who put these words into action and I will be forever grateful.