Tuesday, March 26, 2013 —
On the day of my surgery, my fiancé took me to see a priest to hear my confession and give me last rites in case something went wrong.
Something did go wrong. Because of a scheduling screw-up, I was prepped for surgery and waited for eight hours, only to be told to come back two days later.
On the second try, I was the first person taken to surgery. I had a very rough night, which included a bad experience with an unpleasant and inexperienced nurse.
Getting into it with the nurse was a traumatic experience.
I love nurses. My late mother was an operating room nurse for 27 years, and my family and friends endowed the Ollie McNay nursing scholarship at Eastern Kentucky University after her death.
It's impossible for me to not see my mother in every nurse I encounter. I treat them with the respect that mom deserved and didn't always get.
After that horrible night, I tried to call family and friends to get me out of the place. It was very early in the morning, and I couldn’t find anyone.
Then, the shift changed and my guardian angel arrived.
In the movie It's a Wonderful Life, George Bailey had a guardian angel who was an older, prissy man named Clarence.
My guardian angel was a mid-20s nurse assistant from Nicholasville, Ky., named Crystal Hamblin.
Once Crystal and the registered nurse she worked with, Sydney Napier Thigpen, came on the scene, life got better.
Crystal and I immediately became (and remain) friends, and she walked me through some deep breathing exercises. She changed my gown and made me feel human again.
I realized that little things are what life is all about.
Sydney and I hit it off right away, too. Syd has the work ethic and concern for her patients that reminded me of my mom. Because of a blood clot and other issues, it looked like I may have to be operated on again, but Crystal and Sydney were my angels. They found a resident and a bunch of other nurses, and with several intense efforts, they broke the blood clot. A few days later, the urologist told me I did not have cancer. I was in horrible pain and missed out on Christmas and New Year’s, but I had plenty of reasons to celebrate.