Bricks stacked, parking lots filled, automatic doors, elevator noises, and numerous other physical features make up the structure of Frye Regional Medical Center. IV poles, bedside toilets, old-school televisions, and plastic pillows fill a hospital room. Anemia, ileostomy, Crohn’s Disease, and flare-ups describe me, a recent patient at Frye. After being told that I needed to be admitted, I found myself in a room. The fear of being hospitalized once again began to overtake my emotions. Nerves set in, worry was the theme of my texts to my parents, and curiosity was at the forefront of my mind. The day team had all left as it was deep in the middle of the night. The night shift staff occupied the nurse’s station, and then in walked my team. Nick as my nurse, his demeanor as a nurse was beyond mature and he instantly provided me with a sense of safety. Because of him, I could rest assured that he was placing my needs first.
I had a really high fever, and could not stop shaking. Nick encouraged me to try and relax as he paged the hospitalists. He was able to get orders efficiently to help bring my fever down. Because of him, I was confident that my healthcare team would figure out how best to treat me. Nick assured me of the experience of the physicians and listened to my request to have certain physicians as my hospitalists. The phrases, “26-years-old” and “hospital” normally do not go hand in hand. There are stigmas that surround young adults in the hospital, and too often I have experienced the not-so-positives that come along with those stigmas. However, Nick recognized the seriousness of my condition and rather than judging me for being so young and in the hospital, he capitalized on the knowledge I have gained as being a patient in the hospital and made our conversations two-way. I was able to tell him about personal experiences of having Crohn’s and an ileostomy and he was able to educate me on the medicines that were pumping through my body.
Nick entered my room each time with an upbeat personality, an encouraging smile, a nod of understanding, and a desire to get to know me, not as a 26-year-old with Crohn’s, but as a 26-year-old trying to live my life. Whether it was at the start of his shift or the very end, he was available not only as my nurse but also as an encourager. Nick’s presence alone provided me with the security that he and the rest of my team have my best interest in mind. I feel as though he would say he is just doing his job, and although that is the case, being the epitome of awesome is not part of a nurse’s job description!
A few examples that make Nick shine are as follows: First, I was still awake and called out for my nurse one night when in walked Nick, on his night off. He came in at 3 am to decorate the bulletin board. He also came to check on me and to get an update on my health. Second, many people have a rainy day fund, but Nick has a “help patients out at the vending machine” fund. Nothing against the Shasta sodas that Frye offers but sometimes a person just needs an original Pepsi. The debit card reader wasn’t working and I did not have any change. Nick tapped into his Vending Machine fund and bought me a delicious sugar-filled Pepsi. I could name many more examples of how legendary he is, but telling stories is sharing memories, and I want others to create their own memories with Nick as their nurse and the positivity that comes along with who he is.
The biggest impact he had on my hospital visit is something that may seem so minute to others. But because of his desire to continue learning, specifically about Crohn’s and Ileostomies, I was able to talk openly and candidly about all things Crohn’s, the good, the bad, the smelly, and the ugly. Through his care and the comfort I felt with him being my nurse, I developed more confidence in talking about an invisible disease that includes terms such as stool, intestines, rectum, GI bleed, diarrhea, and vomiting. This confidence of being open about my Crohn’s still remains and I have come to terms with knowing that I have a lifelong disease, a bag on my belly, and a story that makes me who I am. Nick helped me realize that my story deserves to be told. Beyond the bricks, the sidewalks, the elevators, the IV poles, and the outdated VCRs, there is a nurse at Frye named Nick who is doing great things. Thank you, Nick!