Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Loving hearts joined forever

I read a post the other day (thanks Kaylene for that link!) that brought back a lot of memories of things I've witnessed in my time working in hospitals. Some of the most beautiful, touching things I have ever seen are the old couples in the hospital. It's amazing to see the love they have for each other. So many people today just don't seem to love each other like that anymore. There is one story in particular that I think I will always remember.

I had never met this patient before, and I was completely shocked when I walked into her room that morning. I had never seen a patient so utterly wasted away as this elderly woman was--probably from cancer. She weighed only about 75 or 80 pounds. As one of the nurses and I worked with her, I literally felt like I was taking care of a skeleton. You could easily see every bone in her body. We pulled her to up in bed, and it was almost effortless because she was so light. Not only her body was wasted, though. She had terrible dementia, and couldn't communicate with us, recognize anyone, or understand what was going on around her. When we went back to the nurse's station, the nurse I had been working with told one of the other nurses, "Wow, did you see that woman? I have never seen someone look so terrible in my life! There is nothing left of her." Every time I went in that room, however, her husband was there, sitting by her side. If she was asleep, he would just watch her quietly. But if she was awake, he was whispering to her and softly stroking her hands. I remember one time walking in the room, and he was brushing her hair so, so gently. "She always loved it when I did this", he told me.

Later that day I was sitting at the nurses station, finishing up some paperwork. I heard someone talking and I turned around. It was the woman's husband. He was standing at the nurses station, going to each person in turn. In his hands he had a faded old black and white photograph of a beautiful young woman. Coming up to me he said, "Look at this! Wasn't she just the prettiest woman you have ever seen? That was my wife when I first fell in love with her." He sounded just like a little boy when he talked about her. He showed the picture to as many people as he could find to talk to, then he went back to her room to sit by her side again.


Rachel Greene said...

that's so sad and sweet at the same time! :')

Kaylene said...

ooooh Katie, those kind of stories remind me what it means when people say "that warmed my heart". What a privilege to even witness such a relationship. Brings memories of some of my patients when I was a nurse assistant.

Laura McCloy said...

Wow, Katie ... it's beyond me to really understand the depth of that, if you know what I mean. Thanks for sharing.

Hannah said...

Wow that is beautiful! It reminds me of the Mark Schultz song, "Walkin' Her Home." So sweet! Thank you for sharing it.