A Nurse’s Story: Part One

One of R.N. Chellie’s favorite quotes.
January 2012

With all of the recent craziness regarding The View’s negative remarks regarding Kelley Johnson, Miss Colorado’s monologue about her career as a nurse, so many remarkable personal stories have emerged from around the world. With Rachele’s (Chellie) permission, I am sharing with you, her story, which touched my heart deeply. Chellie, her husband, and her son live together in Jacksonville, Florida:

Chellie 3/13/14

To all my nursing friends out there, thank you for taking care of me… I’m still an RN but now you guys are caring for me as I’m dying.
My Motto is: “People don’t care about what you know, but they know how much you care.” As a Neuro ICU nurse that worked night shift, I was often complimented by my patients’ family members for the care I gave, particularly when I would bathe my patients. It was my practice to talk to my unconscious patients like I would talk to any patient, taking the time to tell each patient what I was doing as I was doing it.

Nurses are angels in comfortable shoes. Anonymous

 This might sound weird, but bathtime was one of my favorite responsibilities on night shift. I would do things like ask the spouse to bring in my patient’s favorite lotion or soap, and in doing so, I knew the patient felt better, more like themselves, regardless of their GCS score. Of course this was not hospital policy, but it was my policy to make my patients – most of which were dying feel as good as possible. And when I bathed them post-mortem, I would try to put the patients’ favorite cologne/perfume/lotion on him/her, so when the family came in, it would bring comfort to them.
I loved my job so much that I would volunteer to work 60 hour weeks. Even when I was exhausted my goal was to treat my patients like I would wish to be treated…
And then I got sick.11001589_10100610244908192_5420019489043449838_o
My only way to deal with being sick was to take care of other people who were *more* sick. Looking back, working in an ICU while on chemo probably wasn’t the ideal choice, even with my physicians’ cautious permission. So I avoided patients on infection protocols and worked with a central line and a feeding tube hidden discretely under my “costume” scrubs and my “doctor’s stethoscope.” I literally worked until the day my doctors placed me on hospice, but at that point I was too sick to stand up, much less pull a 12 hour busy ICU shift, so I knew it was time.

I attribute my success to this—I never gave or took any excuse. Florence Nightingale
The day I had to resign I was so devasted my friends – all nurses – came to my side and took turns staying with me. They knew that nursing was more than just my job. Nursing was my identity, it’s branches wove so deeply into my heart we all feared without it my heart would simply stop.
And if that didn’t kill me, the deep sobs that shook my weak, emaciated body and the tears that worsened my dehydration would.

Courage is being scared to death...and saddling up anyway. John Wayne

Not even a week later I was hospitalized with sepsis, and during that stay and I picked up C-diff. I WAS sick and gross because, well, C-DIFF. And on a day when I was filled with despair, two of my favorite nurses [ Karah and Amanda] came to visit with a basket of my favorite Bath & Body products. They proceeded to give me the best bath I’ve ever had in my whole life. Once again I felt human, and with that came hope; because without hope, humanity is gone.

10320917_10205576509444629_7790871442168099817_oTo Be Continued…

Click here to see a quick video reminding us of how invaluable our nurses really are…(you may need a tissue…).   Nurse Renee happens to be a nurse in our community of Marietta, Georgia. Thanks, Nancy B. for this precious video!

4 thoughts on “A Nurse’s Story: Part One”

    1. HI There and thanks so much for reading and leaving this comment. I live in GA and only know your sis through social media, but she is awesome…Wishing you all the very best and that she can keep fighting!!! There is so much we can learn from Rachele’s life and I agree that she is strong and beautiful -inside and out!

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