I am writing this on Father's Day. I thought what better way to honor my Daddy than to nominate a beautiful compassionate nurse for being just what we all needed during a very sad time. My father was given a very difficult diagnosis about three years ago. He had been in and out of the hospital over two dozen times. In his last few months, we were coming to UMMC once a week for a procedure. We never left him. We always stayed with him and took turns spending the night when he was in the hospital unless he was in ICU. For most those times, we had great nursing care. With this last visit, we all felt it was the same routine. You guys were going to build him back up and he would be home and ready for his crawfish boil the next weekend that he had been planning for months! Sadly, this was not how it went this time.
We have stayed all over this hospital since this journey began, and we have seen numerous staff. I was so impressed with the staff in MICU. They have excellent teamwork. The nurses, doctors, RTs, unit secretaries, and volunteers were all fantastic. There was one special nurse I will be eternally grateful for! I knew we were in good hands when the volunteer at the desk said, "Your dad's nurse will come meet you in a minute and she is beautiful on the inside and out!" And she was! Rachel's smile lights up the room even in the darkness. She is so gentle, kind, and genuine. She put my mother right at ease and made us all feel so comfortable. She asked questions about Daddy, as if she wanted to know who she was taking care of. That meant so much to us. Rachel did the simplest things that she didn't have to do to make things a little easier for my mother. Daddy always looked comfortable and his blankets were neat and straight when we came in. Rachel called with every change or update if we were not right there. She explained things in a way my mother could understand. My mother was comfortable leaving at times knowing Daddy was well taken care of by Rachel. Before we left that last evening, I spoke with Rachel alone. I asked her, "Please tell them to call with any little change. My mom still thinks he is coming home for his crawfish boil next weekend." Rachel never said a word. She just grabbed me and gave me the biggest hug of my life. That's when I knew my Daddy wasn't leaving with us that time.
They called that night, and Daddy passed away surrounded by his family. The staff in MICU was so accommodating and they did everything they could to make us as comfortable as possible. I contacted Rachel a few weeks later. I just wanted her to know how much we appreciated her and how thankful I was for the care and compassion she provided my Daddy and my mother as well. Rachel prayed the same prayer as mine that my Daddy wouldn't suffer. Mother received a beautiful sympathy card from Rachel, just when she needed it. Rachel is one-in-a-million. Her caring, compassionate nature is real! There is a saying that people don't always remember what you said or what you did, but they will always remember how you made them feel. We will never forget Rachel and how special she made us feel during some of the most difficult days for our family. Daddy would have loved her too!