Once upon a time, I was in hospital for a surgical procedure. At first I was sick from the morphine; however, the nausea and headache didn't stop when the morphine did. I could not get up to shuffle down the hall with my I.V. bag hooked to a walker like the other patients on my floor. I could not keep anything down. I had an excruciating headache. I saw stars. I was not thriving. The nurses were distraught, and I got the distinct feeling they were annoyed that I wasn't getting better.
Because I was in the hospital so long with nothing to do, I eavesdropped on the nurse conversations in the hallway. They gossiped, bitched, moaned and laughed. They didn't realize patients could hear them and I sure wasn't going to tell them! It was better than a soap opera.
They made fun of one nurse for being over-the-hill and old fashioned. I had not yet met her when she walked into my room on day three and introduced herself. She looked old enough to be my mother, and I NEEDED a mother! She placed her hand on my shoulder, bent down to me and said quietly but firmly, "You've been real sick, honey. Now we're going to get you well."
I'm not sure if it was the non-invasive touch, or her words of hope that moved me so completely. Or maybe it was the reassuring gray hair and the deep laugh lines? Anyway, I cried like a baby. I knew the worst was over and, like Mighty Mouse, Hero Nurse had come to save the day.
She went out and brought my anesthesiologist back with her. Like Hero Nurse, he had a passion for helping people. Also like Hero Nurse, he thought outside of that stupid, damn box. He asked if I was a heavy coffee drinker? I replied I was, but was unable to drink it since the surgery. He diagnosed me with caffeine withdrawal. He hooked my I.V. up to a liter of caffeinated fluid and had me drink cans of Coke. Within a few hours, I was well.