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The Gift of Gratitude for Nurses Week | Alzheimer’s in the First Person | Melissa Vaughan

Melissa's Mom, Barbara Taylor Vaughan

My mom never ceases to amaze me. Today we spent most of the day at the hospital. She had to have a large cyst removed from her chest area, plus after our fall yesterday, I wanted her to be checked out.

The doctor told me after he finished her procedure that he never had enjoyed a patient more than her. I was so proud of her, she never made a sound, he had to cut her 3 different times, and she only squeezed my hand. He told her she was something else…and she loved every minute of all the attention.

Mom never misses anything, even though she is hard of hearing and blind in one eye, she sees more and hears more than most of us. While we were waiting for her procedure, she heard one of the nurses talking about another nurse being in a bad mood, she said that the nurse had assisted on a patient who they had lost earlier that morning, and was having a bad day.

That nurse was our nurse, she came in and prepped mom and got the tray ready for the doctor, she was very quiet. When she was almost done and standing by mom, mom reached over and patted her arm. The nurse asked mom, “What’s the matter? May I help you with something?” Mom patted her again and said, “Bless your heart, I hope you know how much I appreciate everything you are doing for me.” The nurse looked at mom and a single tear ran down her face as she said thank you and left the room.

When she came back and the doctor was doing mom’s procedure, mom kept talking. I know it was hurting her, but she never cried, or screamed…she was so brave. She just kept talking to the nurse, telling her how she loved nurses, how some of her best friends were nurses, and how they just didn’t get the credit they deserved for all they did.

When the doctor and nurse were done, mom told them thank you. The doctor left and the nurse cleaned up and told mom, “No, thank you. I was having a bad day, and you have cheered me up.” Mom said, “You know what? You and me are a lot alike, I try and make people feel better by telling jokes and laughing. You try and make people better by being a great nurse. But some days, people don’t get my jokes, or think I am a silly old woman. And on some days, you cannot heal the world no matter how hard you try…but tomorrow is another day.”

An aide came to wheel mom out to the car, and her nurse told her she would take her new friend out…when I pulled the car around and put mom in the car the nurse hugged mom and told me how lucky I was. As I was driving home mom said, “That was fun.” I laughed and said, “Mom you just got your chest cut open! She said, “No, that was fun making a new friend, and making someone feel better.” She said, “I went to the hospital to get helped, and I helped somebody.” And she just smiled all the way home.

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