On this Valentine’s Day, let’s get to the heart of the matter. Every nurse has cared for that one patient they will never forget… a patient who has touched our heart or who we’ve touched literally and figuratively… a patient who has taught us a lesson, given us hope and has made us better a person. I’d like to tell you about one of mine.
My most memorable patient was a gentleman in our critical care unit with heart failure. I’d taken care of him for a few days and had gotten to know him quite well. One day, when I came on for my shift, he said to me: “I’m going to die today”. Every nurse knows what that means. He didn’t say, “I think I’m going to die today”. He knew.
It was early afternoon when he started talking about his “loves”. He began by describing his first wife as his childhood sweetheart. She was a woman he’d loved passionately, had grand adventures with and had lived with harmoniously for 40 years. When he lost her to cancer, he described it as “the light went out of my life”.
A couple of years after his wife’s death, well-meaning friends tried to play matchmaker, but he just wasn’t interested. But his life changed again when he and a friend’s visiting sister hit it off right away. They were married within a year. He told me how he never thought he could find a woman he could love as much as his first wife. He described how special his second wife was and how she had brought the light back into his life. Yes, their relationship was different than what he had with his first wife, but there was a deep love filled with peace and serenity. He described her as having saved him.
Sadly, my patient was right. He passed away that evening. When I went to speak with his wife she said mentioned how much he’d loved his first wife. I normally wouldn’t have shared the conversation I had with him, but I couldn’t keep it to myself. I told her what he’d said to me... about how much he loved her and how special she was to him. What I couldn’t believe was how he’d never told her and how I ended up being his voice. She was so thankful for this last gift.
This Valentine’s Day, if you love someone, tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them about the difference they’ve made in your life. I guarantee, it will make a difference in theirs.