Sports have always been a huge part of my life, and playing year-round when I was a kid is what I always did. I would do everything in my power to make every game, and even at a young age, I loved going to practice. I was always there with my teammates and loved every minute of it.
In my third season of basketball, all I wanted to do was get back out on the court with my teammates. I was an 11-year-old in 5th grade at the time and was playing for my elementary school’s recreational program. It was mid-season and all I could do was watch a recorded version of my team’s game on a VHS tape from a hospital bed.
A week or so before, I had been diagnosed with pneumonia. Having cystic fibrosis, I was immediately admitted to MCV Hospital in Richmond, VA where I would end up spending two weeks receiving treatment from doctors and nurses to help get me healthy again.
Knowing that all I was worried about was missing a couple basketball games, someone in my family brought me a mini basketball hoop that I hung on the bathroom door in the hospital room. I would lay in the bed and shoot the ball at the hoop, and my parents would chase it around the room to retrieve it so I could shoot again (I am sure this got old real quick for them!).
One day, a young male nurse who was helping to take care of me came in and saw that I had a hoop on the door. He asked if he could shoot a couple times, so I gave him the ball. I don’t remember his name but I do remember the impact he had on me during those two weeks.
He encouraged me to get out of the bed so we could play some basketball. He gave me the ball and would guard me as if we were really on the court. Still connected to an IV line and pulling my pole around, I would shoot the ball and try to score. When he had the ball, I would guard him as we maneuvered around the edge of the bed and items in the room. He probably spent a good 20 minutes playing with me, and he helped me feel as if I were out on the court again.
From that point on, every day that he worked, he would come in and we would play basketball around the room for what must have been 30 minute games. It was awesome. Those games cheered me up, put me in a great mood, and helped me through my treatments. They gave me something to look forward to each day.
I was eventually able to get back to my teammates and finish out the season. However, to this day I still remember those games in the hospital room. That nurse was able to change the way my hospital stay went and helped to brighten each day for me.
Being National Nurse’s Week, I wanted to share my story about how even the smallest things that nurses do can have an impact on patients. Bedside manner is one of the most important things to a patient, and the help of a good nurse can change everything. To all of the nurses out there, thank you, and know that your work is appreciated. Whatever you can do to help bring a smile to the patient’s face, do it. If you are not sure how, hang a mini hoop on their bathroom door.
If you have been a nurse or patient and have shared a special moment, we want to hear it! Post your comments below.