April 21 • 09:10 AM

Pre-teen's view of 'ancient history'

February 08, 2017
I am awed by the amazing women I'm encountering during my mom's recent hospital stay.

These women have homes and families to take care of, and here they are, taking care of someone in my family too. And they're doing it with a smile, a kind word or uplifting comment, a joke, and of course their expertise.

They're nurses. They're tasked with everything from monitoring vital signs and setting up IVs, to offering pillows and a sheet to visitors like me who are spending the night.

It's impressive beyond words what their work day looks like—most of it spent on their feet dashing from one room to the next, dispensing life-saving drugs to multiple individuals whose needs are as different and varied as all the colors in the rainbow. The patience required to look after so many patients is heroic and not lost on me. By the time things are squared away with my mom on Saturday night, everyone's exhausted and a little bit stressed out. Devon, the nurse on duty for the midnight shift, handles it all with compassion and friendliness.

On Sunday morning, we're greeted by Dawn. It's one of those synchronistic moments when she tells us her name, as I have a sister named Dawn. It's not very common, so it's nice to meet another 'Dawn' whose friendly and funny just like my sister. Though she's about 15 years younger than my sister Dawn, turns out they share the same middle name as well—'Marie.' We chalk it up to a Catholic mom had a little bit of trouble getting the priest to agree to baptize my sister (there are no saints named 'Dawn') until she used the middle name. Dawn the nurse is Catholic too, not that it matters...again, synchronicity.

While she's going about getting my mom hooked up to a new IV, nurse Dawn answers our questions with a mix of humor and candor. She tells us about her young kids, and mentions that her oldest is 12. I'm shocked because she looks like she's in her very early 20s at the most. Lots of people look like that to me these days, but nurse Dawn's even more of an exception.

Along with caring for her husband and kids, Dawn's caring for my family—and lots of others, too. Again, I'm amazed.

In one of the conversations, technology comes up. This is no surprise, as it's in our face with just about everything at the hospital. From the digital thermometer to the automatic blood pressure monitor, high tech is everywhere.

Dawn tells us a story about a recent technology-related convo she had with the 12-year-old. Seems he wants his folks to fork out the dough for a cell phone—but not just any cell phone, he wants an iPhone.

Dawn relates her response, saying she told her son about the first iPhone she ever purchased.

"I told him when I bought it I was old enough to make a decision about which one to buy, and I also had the money to purchase it and pay for it," she says.

Apparently her son was not impressed. We guffaw when she tells us his immediate response.

"He rolled his eyes and said 'but Mom, that was in the nineteen hundreds!" Dawn grins.

Indeed...those 1900s...that simpler time in ancient history when pondering the purchase of an iPhone wasn't on the radar for most 12-year-olds. Yep...I remember when...

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Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.
04 - 21 - 18
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