[Written in the wee hours after tending to my sick husband:]
When my sisters and I were in high school we thought we’d like to become nurses. We were avid fans of nurse novels. Our favorites were the Cherry Ames books and Avalon romances with nurse heroines. The stories made nursing seem so noble and glamorous. As it turns out, my sisters both went on to become nurses. (Thank you, Helen Wells and Colleen Reece!) For me, the “glamour” of nursing wore off the summer I was 18. I got a job as a nurse’s aid in a nursing home, and soon discovered I wasn’t cut out for nursing at all.
That long-ago summer did give me an appreciation for those who are called to the medical field, as well as sympathy for those who have chronic illnesses. I remember one exercise we did in a training workshop that really made an impression on me. We were to make a list of the top 10 most important things in life. I can’t remember what we finally narrowed it down to. Perhaps something like family, home, health, memories, sight… Then the workshop leader had us start crossing things off that short list, and told us that many nursing home residents didn’t have most of the things on the Top 10 list — including health. I have never taken health for granted since then.
For the past few weeks my family has been fighting colds and flu, with the last 3 days being particularly difficult. This is unusual for us, as we are typically pretty healthy. Currently, my husband and younger daughter are in bed with fever, coughs, aches, and chills. So I’ve been pressed into service as a “nurse” once again. It’s not been hard. It’s all part of being a mother. They are good “patients” and I know they will soon recover. I’m sorry they feel bad and I hope I don’t catch it from them, but in any case, it’s mostly just a temporary inconvenience. Life gets put on hold when we are sick. Our family isn’t up to our normal activities. It’s not fun — and there’s certainly no glamour to it, but this, too, will pass.
I’m reminded again to not take health for granted. There are those for whom illness is not a temporary thing, but rather an ongoing way of life. God bless those with chronic illnesses… and those who take care of them.