I do not know why this flash back came to me this week but it did. I flashed back to 1981-1983 when I was a candy stripper for Iowa Lutheran Hospital. I had a good friend, Michell, who I met in 1981. Michele was involved with Rainbow and part of her service with Rainbow, she need to volunteer for a good cause, thus she candy stripped. I thought what a wonderful way I can give back to this hospital for being so kind to my family while my Grandpa Rich was an inpatient and eventually passed away there due to Lung Cancer.
The day I started I had 2 other friends start candy striping as well. Krista wanted to do this because she knew she wanted to be a nurse and she managed to do exactly that, she is nursing now. Kristin, I am not sure why she did but she did. The three of us would volunteer the same night and car pool with one another. I sincerely enjoyed every minute of it. Well, I guess not every minute, some floors just had an order to it and those floors I hated assisting. It was not the patients one bit. We would go to every room on the floors we were assigned and make sure they had a pitcher of ice water if they were allowed. We would assist with delivering and picking up dinner trays. Occasionally we would also make rounds with a cart that had books loaded on it for the patients to read. As I said it was a very rewarding job that I volunteered for. We volunteered one night a week and for 4 hours, once in awhile I would fill in for someone if they called in sick or went on vacation.
One year our group of candy strippers did a March of Dimes walk. I remember that cold Saturday. I made it only ¾ of the way and then injured my ankle and could not walk the rest of the way. I ended up on crutches for a few days. Always the klutz during that time frame, I guess still a klutz some things never change. Although I injured myself I had a great time.
There was one floor I never managed to be assigned to, this was the 8th floor. I do not know if it was pure luck or what but I did not have to work this floor until one day. The 8th floor was the cancer floor. I went in that Thursday and noticed I was scheduled for this floor. I thought to myself great! Now I can give back to the nurses who were so wonderful to us. I had absolutely no idea the rush of feelings that I would soon experience. The first night I did this everything went well. A schedule was posted monthly for what floors we had. The following week I did not do as well. I entered the room where my Grandpa Rich died. There was an older gentleman in the bed. He was on his side and all I could see was the back of him when I entered through the doors. My heart started to beat fast as if I was seeing a ghost. This older gentleman looked like my grandfather from the back. My heart started to ach, I started to fight tears coming to my eyes. I completed my job with filling his pitcher with water, no ice as ordered and then left his room. As soon as I left the room, I broke down and cried. One of the nurses saw me. She was one of my grandfather’s regular nurses. She came to me and hugged me and said some comforting words. I never knew that I would cry and miss him as much as I did, this innocent gesture of gratefulness that I wanted to demonstrate and repay ended up being more difficult than I could handle.
The next week I was pulled a side from our supervisor telling me how sorry she was and she made an adjustment to our assignments. The nurse that assisted me went to her and told her what had happened. I felt so embarrassed and felt like a baby. I think it was the timing of everything. My parents were divorcing, the room, I was missing him so much. He was the glue in my family. He was the only one who could control my father.
After telling my story, I think I have figured out why this memory came back to me this week. I think a couple of events are the reasons, my father’s cancer. He has chosen to take chemo pills only. This will not be very effective but will not give him a high chance of being in pain immediately. He tells me he wants to live alone and be alone most of the time because he knows he will be mean towards the end, he had a friend die of the exact type of cancer. I expressed that I did not want him to be alone. The other trigger is, Saturday; Kera has a group of people including Todd, Ethan, and Joshua walking the March of Dimes Walk. She feels fortunate that Taj was healthy when he was born and wanted to support this cause. I am proud the boys will be participating for two reasons, one for Taj and the other for Miranda…who is a March of Dimes child.
Happy Friday...Go out and make many Happy Memories this weekend.