Every year, around this time, I have a visitor. This visitor brings some nasal congestion and a sore throat. No biggie. I was on my game and started with my Alka-Seltzer Plus Cold and Cough when I encountered the first sign of symptoms upon awakening for work this past Sunday morning. Over the next few days I experienced additional symptoms, sneezing, runny nose and coughing. Now, four days later I have the predictable outcome of the common cold, laryngitis. Although I detest the effects of having a respiratory virus, I’m grateful that it’s come on my once a month, eight-day stretch off. What causes healthy adults and children to feel cruddy, can be devastating to infants who already have respiratory insufficiencies. Which is what I hope is at the forefront of every visitor’s mind before coming to see a baby in the NICU. And it’s the bulldog NICU nurse that screens those visitors to protect the tiny patients. It’s called advocacy. And it’s what my children brought to mind this evening.
My children? Yes. You see my children were my voice today. Without even being asked, they began to relay the messages I was straining to communicate. I couldn’t get above a whisper to ask Caden to put his shoes up. Jaron did. I couldn’t notify Brooklyn to come down to dinner. Caden did. I couldn’t holler for the dogs to come in. Brooklyn did. And even Gavin, offered to take my assigned night, to pray over dinner. Yes, we have assigned days to pray over meals. We had to resort to that several years ago because my children were so eager to ask the blessing. I’d like to think it was due to their deep desire to connect with their Creator, but I’m not convinced that was the case. Nevertheless, we assigned days to deter from who’s turn it was, and tonight was Mama’s night to pray, but Mama couldn’t speak.
My kids aren’t the only ones in my life who use their voice when there is none. I grew up with a mother who did and does the same. It’s evident that my Mom has a sensitivity to animals, babies and the elderly. I’ve heard her say countless times that she can handle people being ugly, as long it’s directed to someone who can stand up for themselves. But those identified can’t. It’s why she gets involved when she observes such injustices. My Mom isn’t a nurse, but she displays the greatest characteristic of a nurse. Advocating for others. She won’t back down for what she knows is right; a noble characteristic of the nurse who advocates for their patient.
Nurses speak for patients. They provide for the needs of those who can’t care for themselves. They don’t simply clock in and clock out. They assess, diagnose, plan, implement and evaluate for the entire twelve-hours or longer. It takes backbone. It takes heart. It takes endurance. And it’s the greatest job in the world.
Proverbs 31:8-9 (NLT) Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed. Yes, speak up for the poor and helpless, and see that they get justice.
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