Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Employment (01/26/12)
TITLE: The Gift
By Clyde Blakely
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A beautifully decorated gold knife glistened in my hand. Glancing up, I spun my hand so the person next to me could see it; our eyes sparkled at its beauty!
No note accompanied the gift and no one acknowledged they knew the giver, until I asked the pastor who replied, “Someone wanted to honor you,” but would not reveal who.
Almost by accident I discovered the source. I told him how much I liked the knife and shook his hand, his cheeks flushed red. My mind was on the gift throughout the sermon, why had he given me this?
I remembered an incident which happened months before: A group of us were having lunch after church when he abruptly stood up holding his throat; I came around the table and did a Heimlich, popping a morsel of food into his palm. I made a slight comment and returned to my meal.
Over the next few weeks he thanked me several times, I began to have the feeling it was somewhat overboard. Now the knife! Why had he given me this? I didn’t think what I’d done was that big of a deal. It took a few seconds, routine for a nurse.
By the end of the service my eyes were opened, and wet. With almost four decades in emergency work I had participated in at least two resuscitations a month; roughly a thousand during these forty years. The first few and the really messy ones (infants, attacks, etc.) were easily remembered, but all the rest became a blur even though we worked as hard as we could to save each person.
If the resuscitation was not successful there was consoling the family, preparing the body, taking them to the morgue, and the ever-present paperwork. If the person survived they were stabilized and sent to ICU while trying to get all the paperwork done because there would be someone on their call light or another emergency. It had become routine. I had lost the “human” connection with these life saving efforts.
I found my friend and humbly thanked him again for his gift. I now use the knife as an illustration in teaching future nurses the wonder of working with people and to never lose the “gift” we can share.
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