Our 84-year-old father had just completed 30 treatments of radiation for cancer on his vocal cord. He was already weak, weary, and worn out. We knew he had a bad heart; he had coded three times in the past, had 5 stents in his heart, and had heart disease. So, when he said he had chest pains and had already taken two nitroglycerin and still was having severe pain, I knew we had to quickly get him to the ER.
After treatment in the ER, he was admitted for observation. We were all scared and confused. We had lost our mom six years earlier. Just having watched our strong, very independent dad go through radiation treatments and seeing the toll it had taken on him, had been almost unbearable at times. Now we were in the hospital for his heart. We were completely overwhelmed. Then in walked Pamela Blessings.
Often, the first nurse you have determines much about your hospital experience. From the moment she entered the room, Pamela had a reassuring, calming effect on us. Pamela listened to all concerns and questions. And Pamela listened with her ears and her eyes and her heart. Many nurses listen while looking at the monitor. Others listen but you can tell they are distracted. But Pamela took the time to hear our father's story from each of his daughters. She didn't interrupt and say, "Yes I've already read that in his report," or even "Your sister had already told me that." Pamela took the time to listen to our dad when we were quiet long enough for him to talk. You see, it was a struggle to hear him because he didn't have much a voice left at this point.
Dad had been through so much. Pamela treated him with the dignity and respect we felt he deserved. She wanted him to be as comfortable as possible and she wanted to make sure to answer any of our questions. She smiled! Her eyes even smiled! My dad has a sense of humor and enjoys joking with people. Pamela seemed to understand that and, when appropriate, she would joke with him and often made him smile. Sometimes when he didn't seem to "appreciate" all of our input (three daughters can maybe sometimes be a bit much), Pamela would smile at him and tell him that she had daughters also and she understood.
One time, Pamela was giving my dad his meds and there was a potassium pill that had been added. The potassium pill looked huge to all of us because we all knew given dad's recent radiation treatments, he had such difficulty swallowing any kind of pill. My sister who is a pharmacist asked what his potassium levels had been and then when Pamela told her, my sister questioned why they would add a potassium pill. Pamela did not seem defensive or in any way aggravated by this but instead quickly said she would call the doctor to talk with him about this before giving the pill to our dad.
Pamela would give dad options of what he could try to drink in order to get his meds down. She was aware and considerate of the fact that he had been through so much radiation and his throat was raw. She was attentive and promptly responded to his request for his prescription lidocaine for his throat and for his pain medicine. She never made him feel like he was a bother or an interruption.
I looked up the definition of a nurse. The definition I found was "a person who cares for the sick." I will tell you Pamela is that and more. She doesn't just "take care of the sick" because that is her job, but she "cares" for the sick. There is a big difference between the two, and the patient and family certainly know when the nurse is someone who "cares" for them. Pamela Blessings is indeed a blessing to our family.