22: Wait and See

22: Wait and See

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Inspiration for Nurses

Wait and See

A person often meets his destiny on the road he took to avoid it.

~Jean de La Fontaine

Tears welled up in my eyes as I sat in the Intensive Care waiting room with dear family friends. My deep emotions were not just for the family as they dealt with the life and death issues of their eighteen-year-old, they were for the compassionate nurse who had already “clocked out” but was spending her own time explaining everything she could to this traumatized family. The young patient was caught in that critical place between life and death. No one could tell them for certain what the next day or two would bring. Yet this caring ICU nurse shared her knowledge and experience, educating and preparing the family with honesty and loving kindness.

I quietly observed the beautiful give and take of such a vital conversation between a loving nurse and worried family. It finally seemed as if all that could be said had been discussed, so the nurse stood up to go home to her own family after working all day. I got up to leave with her, for the nurse was my daughter.

It was almost impossible to believe this dedicated nurse was the same little girl who passionately hated germs and sickness. All the way home, my mind was flooded with some of those early memories.

Because of her great dread of germs as a little girl, Chrissy wouldn’t even sip a drink after someone else. I suppose her fear was understandable, because for most of her life her dad had been deathly ill from lupus. The constant trauma of infections, hospital stays, ambulances, and emergency and intensive care visits was hard enough for her dad and me to handle; it was extremely challenging for a young girl living under the constant threat of her daddy dying.

During one major crisis, when Chrissy was fourteen years old, she couldn’t bear to hear details of the latest catastrophe. All she wanted was a normal teenage life. My husband had “died” and was revived, only to be put on life support for over a month. As I walked with my daughter toward the unit where her dad lay with machines doing everything for him, I tried to prepare her for what she would see. She put her fingers in her ears and sang to keep from hearing the news.

On another occasion, she was so traumatized by the steady barrage of medical emergencies that she blurted out, “When I grow up, I never want to be around sick people!” I was so stunned by the rude remark in front of her dad that I wanted to scold and correct her, but something kept me quiet as she ran off in anger. A little voice quietly whispered to me, “Just wait and see.” Though I had no idea what those words meant, I knew I was supposed to remember them.

Chrissy’s dad died when she was fifteen years old. She had lots of problems dealing with his illness and death. She married young, became a mom, and lived a lot of life the hard way.

Then one day, a decade later, she announced she was going to college to become a nurse. That was the last thing I thought she would want to study! Even though she made excellent grades all through nursing school, I still shook my head in disbelief every time she talked about what she was learning.

Her dad didn’t get to see her enter nursing school and graduate at the top of her class. Or perhaps he did. Maybe he was present as she walked across the stage to become an RN. I believe there are those God calls to be a nurse. My daughter is one of them. She tried to run from it, but she finally gave in and found her place, where she serves with passion.

I am so blessed I got to “wait and see” the beautiful loving nurse God called my daughter to be.

~Eva Juliuson

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