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National Nurses Week

May 6—12, 2019

National Nurses Week is a time to shine a spotlight on the tireless efforts of nurses across the country. Their top priority is caring for the health and wellness of their patients, but they are often tasked with the added care of emotional family members. I experienced this firsthand last summer:

“We’re giving him medicine to keep him sedated until morning.” The nurse reassured me as I entered the ICU. It was close to midnight by the time I was able to see my husband after six hours of heart surgery.

I tried to hold my composure as I stared at the numerous wires and tubes protruding from his body, relieved the innovative surgery to replace six arteries had been a success, but knowing this was far from over.

As I leaned down to kiss his face he opened his eyes and began to look around in a panic. A breathing tube prevented him from being able to speak and his arms were in restraints to keep him from pulling out the breathing tube.

I’m pretty sure I let out an audible gasp as I stood there helplessly watching.

“Go back to sleep,” the nurse commanded, and within seconds he was out again.

Although I had already been an emotional wreck leading up to the surgery, seeing him like that sent me over the edge.

“He’s ok now,” the nurse said as she touched my arm and gently led me to the couch bed on the other side of the room. “Why don’t you try to get some rest, too?”

Ten months later, my husband has made a full recovery. He doesn’t remember the brief awakening I witnessed, and the details of the weeks spent in the hospital that were once on the forefront of our minds are beginning to fade.

One thing I will never forget, though, is the kindness, compassion and dedication of the nurses who helped us through one of the most difficult times in our lives.

Nursing has been described as both an art and a science because it mixes the rigorous training with the respect for human dignity. For a nurse, it’s just another day at the office, but to those whose lives they touch, it means everything.

Thank you.

- - Kayla Welch is a Marketing Communications Specialist for AIG Retirement Services

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