I hated the word. It was the first thing I saw when I got off the elevator on my parent’s floor. There were dozens and dozens of times that I walked past it. I didn’t notice it each time, but my feelings about that word never changed. Oncology was the hated word. It represented the cancer that was destroying my parents lives and breaking our hearts.
However, as much as I hated that word, being on the Oncology floor held entirely different emotions for me. There was a special atmosphere as you walked down the halls. Yes, it looked for the most part like any other part of the hospital. No specialness there except that the rooms were bigger than rooms on other floors.
One difference was the patients and their families. You knew that every patient had the same disease-cancer and that every family was enduring the same difficulties. In the midst of this sameness, however, it was apparent that every family had a story. Their story. Unique, and full of emotion. Many of the families spent time talking, sharing, and crying with other families.
Another difference was the nurses. They were different. Some of them were cancer survivors and they understood what we were experiencing because they had experienced it for themselves. Others just had genuine caring hearts. I can not tell you the number of times I walked out of one of my parent’s room crying and there stood a nurse ready to wrap her arms around me and let me cry. There were times when I just needed soemone to talk to. They were very generous with their time.
Oh, yes, not every nurse was wonderful, and there were a couple that we didn’t are for. We even requested that they not take care of my parents again. There were and are very few of those kinds of nurses.
The oncology nurses did their best to make sure that if Mother and Daddyfelt like it, they spent some time together every day. The nurses would put one of them in a wheel chair and take them next door. Mother and Daddy shared numerous meals because of the caring of those nurses.
I could share many experiences with these nurses and indeed I will in other posts. I do want to share this one experience that stands out in my mind.
Mother and Daddy were still both in the hospital in May–Mother’s Day. One of the nurses went and bought, with her own money, a red carnation in a bud vase. She took it to Mother and told her that it was from Daddy. Because Daddy’s health had deteriorated at that time, he didn’t know the difference. But Mother did, and my sisters and I did. It was such a sweet, precious thing to do.
We loved those ladies and men, because they loved our parents.