I was stunned to find out that one of my all time favorite nurses died yesterday.
If I had been asked to pick one person from the whole hospital to provide Henry's care, it would have been her. Not a surgeon who might have saved his life or a specialist who might understand his condition better than anyone else, but Cindy. I would have picked her because she knew him. She knew how he reacted to meds and that when he wasn't doing well that turning him onto his left side was trouble. She knew what he needed medically, but she gave him what he needed as a person, as a baby too. She talked to him while she changed him. She smiled at him with her face and her voice. I was able to take a break when she was on because I knew she was on it.
She took great care of my baby, but she took good care of me too. She answered my questions and helped me talk to the right people when she couldn't. She made sure doctors knew I had been waiting to see them. She knew when I was really scared and talked me through it. On the day Henry was getting discharged from the CICU for the second time during our long stay, I was a mess. It was supposed to be a happy day, a step closer to home, a sign he was getting better, but I knew it meant less support, fear of leaving his room, sleeplessness, and of course the last time we were on the floor he coded after a week or so of me saying "Something's not right." She talked me through that anxiety and helped me formulate a plan. We talked about what I knew and when to worry. In the middle of piles of paperwork to move him down the hall from the care of one unit to the next, she sat down and talked to me until I calmed down.
She was one of the nurses who came out to say goodbye the day we were finally discharged. She left a tearful message on our answering machine when he died. She is very much part of Henry's story, and I am sad she is gone.