A few days ago, a Twitter bud of mine, @Terimedwards tweeted:
Y’all. We had a wedding in the ICU so a man could see his grandson get married before he dies. #beautiful @NurseEyeRoll
And this immediately made me emotional. And immediately made me want her to tell us the story! Teri was gracious enough to write a blog post about this day for us all to ready and enjoy.
If you’re a nurse, it’ll make you proud. If you’re not, it’ll make you want to be one.
Thanks Teri, for giving us all a glimpse into your nursey world. Thank you for sharing this beautiful moment with us. And thank you, and your coworkers, for being wonderful nurses.
I work in a large intensive care unit. Forty-two beds to be exact. When a unit is that large, you don’t always know everything that is going on with other patients or you coworkers/friends.
However, the big stuff usually makes it all the way down the hall, like someone has a flesh-eating bacteria that is requiring maggot therapy (true story), someone is mass transfusing, or someone is going nuts (patients or family members). You can imagine how the news that we were going to be having a wedding at our evening visitation spread through our unit like wildfire.
Unfortunately, like every ICU, it is full of dying people. This particular patient had a disease that would ultimately take his life. This man was not my patient though, which is probably for the best because I would have been Kim Kardashian ugly-crying all over the place. The doctors knew there was nothing else they could do for him and that he was not going to make it. The problem was that his grandson was going to be getting married in a few months. A few months was not going to work for him.
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So, I assume with the Rascal Flatts song in mind, they decided, “Why wait?”. They had about fifteen friends and family show up in the room at the ceremony. A family member was an ordained minister who performed the service. The adorable bride got to wear a white sundress and even carried flowers.
The story is adorable, sweet, and makes even the harshest people tear up. But my favorite part of this story is what the nurses, my coworkers and friends, did for this patient and family during this time.
Our unit is set up on a long hall that has “pods”. There are four rooms in a pod, and one nurse is assigned to two of the patients, so there are two nurses to a pod. In this particular pod where the wedding is going to take place, there were two guys assigned!
For the record, I think guys are the best thing to happen to the nursing profession. If a patient is violent, they step in and protect us. If a family member is crazy, they stand behind you like the secret service. And although they “complain” when you ask for their help to turn a 650 lb patient over, they secretly love that their muscles are needed.
But let’s face it; they don’t always care too much about fine details. But these guys, they went all out. They would have made David Tutera proud. They called a local bakery and ordered cakes and paid for it themselves, just so the family could celebrate. Another nurse made cards and went around the unit and had all the nurses sign to congratulate them, sending them our best wishes.
All of these efforts that were put into this wedding solidifies my belief that nursing is the greatest job there is. Very rarely is it the easiest job, and usually it can be the saddest and most stressful job there is. I never thought I would be around so much heartache, and what’s worse, I never thought I would get use to being around so much heartache.
I never thought I would be able to sit with a doctor in a conference room while he told family members that their loved one had just passed away, and then immediately walk back to my friends and laugh and joke about the funny things my demented 90 year-old patient said. While there are fifty things a day that occur that make you roll your eyes (see what I did there?), it only takes one thing, perhaps a wedding, which makes those eye roll moments not only tolerable, but also worthwhile.
When you see a family smile and laugh because they got to share a precious moment with a loved one, a moment that was possible due to the work of the nurse, you get filled with a sort of pride. While this couple didn’t have the wedding they originally thought.. a sundress instead of a wedding dress, a hospital bed instead of an alter, and monitor alarms instead of wedding bells, you can bet that they will never forget the nurses on their special day.
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