Last week was designated National Nurses Week by the American Nurses Association.
I don’t how all you men and women do it, but I’m glad you do. Needles are gross. Blood is gross. Guts are gross. Ew.
Both of my sisters are nurses. My twin sister Megan is an R.N. at a branch of Cleveland Clinic.
My twin has always wanted to be a nurse. Growing up, she would tend to our fleet of Cabbage Patch dolls. I felt bad for her doll, Stacey. Poor Stacey was always breaking a leg or lugging an IV pole made out of a fair cane, a Ziploc bag and a jump rope. My doll, Wendy, once suffered first-degree burns when my mom spilled hot tea on her leg. Megan wrapped a paper towel and electrical tape to soothe my doll’s soul. The scar is still there.
Where was I? Probably tapping out the news report about the near-fatality on the family typewriter to document the incident.
Her skills honed by our Cabbage Patch dolls were later transferred to our 4-H animals. One year, my dad sliced a lamb’s leg during shearing. Megan helped him doctor it up.
Where was I? I was in the corner of the barn trying to keep my dinner down.
She used to read my oldest sister’s medical books left behind from college. My oldest sister is a nurse practitioner and a former nurse in the U.S. Air Force. She was a Morton K. and Jane Blaustein Post Doctoral Fellow in Mental Health and Psychiatric Nursing at the Johns Hopkins School of Nursing.
At least that what the bio I found on her via Google says. She has lots of letters behind her name. I’m also not entirely sure what she does in the nursing field at the moment. It sounds important, though.
But, it was Megan who forced me to go to the hospital when I was 20 weeks pregnant with Evan 13 years ago. I had a high fever. I didn’t want to go. I kept taking my temperature hoping it would go down. It didn’t.
I hate needles. I hate hospitals. I hate everything about them. She bribed me to go. I made her wait until the episode of “Friends” was over before I let her take me to the ER.
I ended up in ICU for three days suffering from double pneumonia. It was the sickest I had ever been. I cussed a nurse out for not using a butterfly needle to draw blood and then I woke up three days later.
I was thankful she was there because I probably wouldn’t have gone on my own.
She’s pulled through for my family more than once over the years.
Despite her being a nurse for over a decade, Megan had boasted she had never been puked on.
Welp, my son took care of that a few years ago.
Once again, she begged me to take Evan to the hospital after he returned from Texas with a nasty spider bite of some sort on his leg. I was content to let it heal on its own. Aunt Megan wanted to have it inspected.
So she went with me to take Evan to the ER. She held her nephew’s hand as they examined and removed it. She helped the nurse pass him some medicine.
Evan warned all of us that the meds weren’t sitting well. Let’s just say Megan’s vomit-free-since-2003 streak was ended seconds later — by her nephew.
Where was I? Outside the room in the hallway, of course.
Anyway, Megan will often call me on her way home from a 12-hour shift to help unwind from her day.
Sometimes she’ll rattle off the day of dosages, doctor orders and mind-blowing cases she helped with. To be honest, it sounds like she’s speaking another language.
“Then we spindle dinked them, gave them a shot of rupponium and monitored their dirfdem,” she’ll say.
My response? I scored a Fossil leather purse for $5 today.
Last week, she passively shared how my nephew Tyler was moping around claiming his arm hurt.
She passed it off as growing pains and Tyler’s dramatic ways.
The next day she took a closer look. Yep. It was kind of swollen. Turns out, it was broken. So at least she’s human.
Yet, she truly cares about each one her patients, both in and out of her home.
Not only does she give it her all on the cardiac floor, she also volunteered to help a group of Case Western nursing students this spring. She loves helping young nurses grow their skills. I’m sure they learned a lot from her.
So it’s no surprise to anyone who knows my twin sister that she was nominated by her boss and peers and recognized by her hospital’s nursing excellence award.
Oh, and she was named as one of 33 nurses in the whole Cleveland Clinic to be recognized as “best of the best” this year.
But it was a surprise to her. Not only is she a great nurse, she’s also pretty humble.
And it’s the great nurses we have in our hospitals who help out those in need all year long.
Happy Nurses Week, sisters. And Happy Nurses Week to all of you who work those long shifts, passing meds and comforting those who don’t really want to be there.
We appreciate all that you do all year round. Lord knows I couldn’t do it.
“Twin” Melanie Yingst appears weekly in the Troy Daily News. She passes out getting blood drawn. Every. Time.