The Kindness of our Florence Nightingales

nightengaleBy Karen Jurgens

Have you ever been sick in the hospital? My own experience brought me understanding about how kind and wonderful the nursing staff can be.

Back in the early nineties, I landed in Baylor Hospital in Dallas, Texas, for a period of two weeks, fighting for my life. The circumstances of my illness were an enigma to my internist and specialists alike, and at least twelve days elapsed before tests produced any conclusive evidence as to my malady’s name or cause.

Imagine this—severe chills with a fever of over 102 degrees, which refused to budge for weeks, and asthmatic problems requiring oxygen. At least twice a day, the phlebotomist visited and left with several vials for testing. The doctor tapped my lungs. My energy drained away, and I collapsed into complete exhaustion while the lab worked diligently around the clock to diagnose this mystery illness.

But during this waiting period, the Lord provided me comfort. My night nurse was like Florence Nightingale, visiting me in the wee hours to take my vital signs. Hearing her voice was like a drink of cool water to my weary, parched spirit, and I anticipated her nocturnal visits. I would complain about my condition, and she would actually listen, sympathizing with my suffering and trying to do those little things to bring some relief to my raging fever and chills. She clucked over me like a mother hen, bringing me Tylenol and ice water, fluffing up my pillows, and swaddling me in more warm blankets. Even after my door closed behind her, the comfort and compassion she brought with her remained. Along with constant prayer, her being there helped me through the nights, enabling me to face the next day.

After what seemed like an eternity, the tests produced a diagnosis—viral pneumonia and mononucleosis. A bad combination that medication couldn’t heal, but knowing their names brought its own relief. Sustaining patience helped in my convalescence for the next couple of months, until I eventually returned to perfect health.

Looking back on those days, I will always cherish the memory of that nurse as my Florence Nightingale while in the hospital. God bless everyone in the nursing profession because they are truly an appreciated and valuable arm of the Lord, bringing comfort to the sick everywhere.

KarenKaren Jurgens, a native Cincinnatian, has been a Texan transplant for thirty years and counting. Since retiring from teaching in 2014, she has begun a new career writing, blogging, and speaking within the context of Christian ministry.

Her first contemporary romance novella will be published Christmas, 2015. A Christmas Mosaic will be part of a multi-author anthology, Warm Mulled Kisses. She is a Crew Member at Jennifer Hallmark and Betty Thomason Owen’s Writing Prompts, Thoughts, and Ideas blog and a member of ACFW. You can follow her blog about scriptural answers to life’s trials at Touched by Him Ministries:

2 thoughts on “The Kindness of our Florence Nightingales

  1. I had what I called my “old battleax nurse” when I had both of my sons (by c-sections) and a hysterectomy in the same hospital within a 3 year period. I called her that because she had been a nurse for about 25 years and, although she came across as rather gruff, she also knew her business better than anyone else, even the doctors. She’d come in, assess my situation, and immediately do what was necessary to take care of me. She didn’t take any guff either. If she told you to drink an entire pitcher of cranberry juice to bring your temperature down, she’d stand there and watch you drink it! I loved her to pieces. She would sound gruff, but her touch was tender and reassuring and she took such good care of me. I knew she was doing what was best for me, no matter what. I can’t recall her name, but I’ll never forget her care for as long as I live.

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