I Smell Chocolate

I believe it was mid morning on Saturday, April 7. I had been awake for a few hours and was not allowed to eat or drink anything. I was patiently waiting for someone to come get me and take me to radiology for a test. Once the test was over, I could finally eat some breakfast. Anything was sounding good at that point, even if it was hospital food. A kind soul finally showed up to take me across the hospital and my nurse came in to help get me from my bed to the wheelchair. Once she helped me sit up, she bent over to lift me up out of bed. She wasn’t talking, as she was concentrating on helping me get from point A to point B.

“I smell chocolate,” were the words out of my mouth.

Rodger started laughing. My nurse looked at me, wide-eyed with surprise. She knew she had been caught! Turns out she had just had a chocolate banana protein shake and was quite surprised that I could smell the chocolate on her breath. After apologizing, I assured her that it smelled good, not bad. Then she felt bad for having chocolate when she knew I couldn’t eat anything.

She brought me chocolate candy later in the day and made sure I had a piece of chocolate cake for dinner that night.

Her name is Laurie and she is not only one of the best nurses in town, but she is now my friend.

I was privileged to have Laurie as my day nurse for four days in a row, from the day after Kyleigh died until the day we went home. She was my primary care giver for over 48 hours. While she worked a 12 hour shift, she stayed late every night to ensure that my night nurse was on track with what was going on, as well as to give me the extra care that I needed. We were not discharged from the hospital until 9:00 p.m. on the day we went home and Laurie was still there. Her shift ended at 6:00 p.m. To say that Laurie is a dedicated nurse is an understatement. She not only cared for me unconditionally, but she cared for my family. She went above and beyond to make sure Rodger had what he needed. She interacted with our boys, parents, my sister and our friends. Laurie blessed us with unconditional compassion, love and care during the most horrible hours of our lives. She sat at our bedside more then once, talking and listening as we shared our faith, grief and pain.

I now consider Laurie a friend. We have talked more then once since I have been home from the hospital. She asks my doctor how I am doing. She came to Kyleigh’s Celebration of Life. She gave me a gift that honors Kyleigh. We connected on a level that I don’t think most nurses/patients do. I will forever be grateful to Laurie, not only for the excellent care she gave us, but for her friendship as well.

There were many other nurses who did amazing things while we were in the hospital. They know who they are and what they did. We love them all and are forever grateful for the love they have shown our family, especially the love they have for Kyleigh.

This week is Nurses Week. Take a minute to say ‘thank-you’ to someone you know who is a nurse. Take a minute to think of the nurses in your life who have been there for you in a time of need and thank God for them.

**I stated earlier that Laurie is one of the best nurses in town. The best nurse in town is my sister, Amber. While she has never been my nurse in a professional manner, she has been my nurse in a personal manner many times. I know that she shows her patients a level of care and compassion that exceeds expectations. She was named employee of the year a few years ago at a major Kansas City hospital. You don’t earn that title by just doing your job. You earn that title by being the best at your job. Thank you Amber for the love and care that you give Rodger, Oliver, Garrison, Kyleigh and myself. We love you! Happy Nurses Week!


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