61: Angels and Nurses Both Wear White

61: Angels and Nurses Both Wear White

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Touched by an Angel

Angels and Nurses Both Wear White

You should never feel alone, there’s always someone to turn to — it is the guardian angel, who is watching over you.

~Author Unknown

Some years ago, I slipped in the shower and hurt my back, or so I thought. I managed to go to work, but as the day progressed so did my pain. Thankfully it was Friday. I went straight home from work and developed a fever, along with muscle stiffness. Throughout that night my fever went as high as 105 degrees.

I was going through a divorce and miles away from anyone who would make me soup, get me medicine, or hold my hand. By Sunday I knew I had something far more serious than the flu. I could barely move and my fever was raging. I called a co-worker whose brother was a chiropractor for advice. Luckily, he had a friend over who was a medical doctor. This friend asked me only one question: “Can you touch your chin to your chest?” When I replied no, he immediately told me to get to the hospital. He would call ahead and meet me there. Having no idea what he suspected and dizzy from the fever, I slowly and carefully drove across town to the hospital.

I was given the royal treatment when I arrived, as if everyone knew what the doctor suspected. Everyone but me. After a few tests and one extremely painful spinal tap, they suspected meningitis. Signs reading “RESPIRATORY ISOLATION” were taped to my door. Then the doctor came in, asking who to call and who was my next of kin.

I had no one. No family in Florida and my own parents were 1,200 miles away in Massachusetts. Sometime in the middle of the night they moved me to a private room where I placed the call that all parents dread. In the dead of night, on a quiet street in Massachusetts, their phone rang and before I could say a word, they knew something was terribly wrong. My mother, a registered nurse, knew exactly what I was saying. I was, in fact, dying.

As I lay there, completely alone, with only the sights and sounds of the Florida highway outside my window for company, I began to cry. Hot tears streamed down my face. I wasn’t afraid of dying; I was afraid that my mother and I would never see each other again. With pain shooting up and down my body and my fever spiking at 107 degrees, I felt like this was the end. “Please put my hat on,” I whispered to the nurse. She carefully put my baseball hat on my pounding and sweaty head, and sat down next to me. “I don’t want to die with my hair like this.” I smiled. She nodded and smiled back at me.

She carefully replaced the warm compresses on my forearms that had been put there to keep the “streaking” down in my veins. My arms looked like roadmaps from the IV solution, and the warm compresses were supposed to keep the pain down.

“Think about your toes,” she said. I was too tired to ask why or argue, so I lay there thinking about my toes. After several minutes she said, “Now, think about your ankles.” As instructed, I thought about my ankles. After a few more minutes, she instructed me in the most patient, quiet voice I had ever heard to then think about my shins. She continued asking me to think about every body part one by one. By the time we reached my head, I felt more relaxed and even a tiny bit better. Through the window I could see the sun rising. I closed my eyes and took in a deep breath. This would be my last sunrise, I said to myself.

When I opened my eyes, I saw a priest hovering over me. “Oh great,” I said. “I did die.”

“No, no, no,” he reassured me. “You are very much alive. I noticed your chart said Catholic, so I wanted to stop by and say hello.”

The nurse was gone, and I wanted to thank her for staying up all night with me. “Can you tell her I said thank you?” I asked the priest.

“Who?” he asked, puzzled. He said he would, and left for a moment. When he returned, he patiently explained that the night nurse had not been in. No one, he claimed, had been in and no one fit the description of the lady I described.

I stayed in the hospital for three more days. I was eventually released, still with a fever, but on the mend. I never saw her again, this woman in white who held my hand, wiped my brow, and helped me deal with the pain that comes from a high fever and from missing my mother. I never got to thank her.

Some years ago, I slipped in the shower and hurt my back, or so I thought. What I didn’t know was that my guardian angel was nearby and she would help me heal.

~Christine A. Brooks

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