This past Tuesday was a memorable day for me. Becky and I were invited back to Christ Hospital for a special presentation. Rosie, my Labor and Delivery surgical nurse was given the Daisy Award. Which is like an Oscar for nurses.
And we participated in the red carpet ceremony.
The DAISY Foundation recognizes the extraordinary and compassionate care of nurses throughout the world. Daisy stands for Diseases Attacking the Immune SYstem. The Daisy Foundation began 20 years ago in memory of J. Patrick Barnes who died at the age of 33 from an auto-immune disease. His family wanted to acknowledge the exceptional nursing care that Patrick received during his hospitalization. Participating hospitals accept nominations from patients, meet as a committee to select recipients, and surprise the nurse with an impromptu ceremony. And a fabulous kit of swag.
I arrived at 11:45am sharp having walked over after Becky’s weekly speech therapy appointment. Several representatives from the hospital’s administration met us and we walked together to the Labor and Delivery unit. Rosie was sitting at the nurses station when we came around the corner to surprise her. She immediately recognized me and Becky and came in for a bear hug. My eyes filled with tears to see her excitement. She took Becky and held her for the entire ceremony.
Let me back up a moment and explain how this day came about. Throughout the hospital, there are green boxes and information about the Daisy award. Truth be told, I passed these boxes by countless times and thought of various people who might deserve such an award. In the NICU. The Emergency Room. The PCICU. The Floor in the children’s hospital. But I never took the time to fill the form out.
After Becky’s second open heart surgery, Sue, her surgical nurse, would often stop by our room for a visit. As we got to know each other, she asked about Becky’s birth and I told her about the emergency c-section. And all about Rosie. I mentioned that I wished I could thank Rosie in person sometime. The next day, as I sat next to Becky’s crib, a nurse ducked her head around the curtain and told me someone was outside the door. It was Rosie. Since she couldn’t come into the ICU room, I pulled back the curtain so she could see Becky. It was such a treat to reconnect and visit.
I later thanked Sue for orchestrating our meeting. A Daisy award winner herself, Sue mentioned that OR nurses often go unnoticed. Which is to be expected as patients are sedated. But my situation was different as I was conscious. Sue encouraged me to fill out the form. So, during one long day in the PCICU, I typed up a nomination and submitted it. Rosie was an obvious choice.
A few weeks ago, as I boarded a plane for Texas, I received the official invitation to Rosie’s presentation via email. I was thrilled that Rosie would receive this recognition and honored to be included in the ceremony. I was told to not tell anyone about it. I figured that didn’t apply to my family. Or Sue.
Back to the Daisy ceremony.
As doctors and nurses gathered around the nurses station, Lynn, the head nurse for the hospital, read my nomination essay. She had asked if I wanted to share it but I declined. I was afraid that I would be too emotional. It’s my one regret from the day. As Lynn read my nomination, it took me back to the day of Becky’s birth, one of the most frightening and emotional days of my life. I was touched to see other staff members tearing up as they heard about the extraordinary series of events.
Here are the final paragraphs from the nomination:
As the spinal was administered, I began to feel pain. Rosie spoke soft words of encouragement and her strong arms kept me motionless. After the solid placement of the line, she helped me to lay down. Suddenly, my blood pressure dropped to a dangerously low level and the OR team worked to elevate this pressure. They were able to stabilize me, but baby Becky with her serious heart defect, was not able to recover. I heard the word CRASH. Then the word GO. Organized chaos erupted all around me. I don’t remember much after this moment, but I do know that Rosie was in charge of the operating room. Her calm command of the situation and of all the medical personnel pouring into the room prevented a tragedy that day.
I nominate her for a Daisy Award and hope that she is honored with this distinction. The diligent work of an OR nurse is usually hidden from a patient. I couldn’t see what she did but her nursing skill and competence made a difference in the outcome. In a very real way, I owe her my life and the life of my child. Please give her the recognition she so greatly deserves.
After Lynn finished reading, it was time for some swag. Rosie’s manager placed the official Daisy pin on her hospital badge. I presented Rosie with the Healer’s Touch statue.
Rosie’s husband presented her a certificate. He beamed with pride as he watched his wife. They were married 27 years ago in Palestine and work at the hospital in different departments.
After we left, the entire unit received freshly baked cinnamon rolls. Apparently, that was one of the only foods that appealed to Patrick during the last weeks of his life. Finally, a banner was hung up with Rosie’s picture.
These ceremonies have taken on additional importance as nursing morale is especially low with the Covid pandemic stretching into yet another year. While I hope no one is reading this from a hospital bed, if you find yourself or a loved one in the hospital, please pay attention to those nurses who go beyond the call of duty. Write down their names and consider nominating someone for this award. Even if nurses don’t receive the award, they will receive your nomination and know someone noticed their work and recognized them.
After the ceremony and a slew of pictures, Rosie and I visited for a few moments before she returned to laboring moms. As she played with Becky, she mentioned over and over again just how good she looks. I smiled behind my mask and teared up again.
The first time Rosie saw Becky, she was blue, motionless, and not breathing. The next time, she had just returned from her second open heart surgery. Neither are particularly good looks for a gal. It was a reminder to enjoy Becky’s progress and the fact that she is healthy right now. As I left the unit, Lynn walked me past several sets of doors. Doors to triage. To the operating room. To the NICU. It was a brief walk past those areas where our lives changed in such a profound way 10 months ago.
I wish I could convey in words how special these moments were to me. It was a reminder that, when I choose to look at life through the eyes of gratitude, amazing things happen. People literally appear, walking alongside us at the most difficult times and making a permanent impression. Without Becky, without her numerous and profound medical needs, my life wouldn’t be populated with people like Sue and Rosie.
I am grateful to Sue for encouraging me to submit a nomination. To Rosie for working so diligently on Becky’s birth day to ensure a happy ending. And to my Heavenly Father for sending this precious baby.
Becky continues to expand our family and our hearts. In the most remarkable ways.