In April, 2010, when Andrew was 2 1/2, a tumor was discovered behind his eye. The tumor was removed, but it was found to be an aggressive cancer. He endured seven months of chemo and six weeks radiation. In December of 2010, the day after his last treatment, he was rushed to the ER with an almost fatal bacterial infection. He survived.

He is now seven-years-old!! I don't visit here much, because during the ordeal, this is where I dumped everything--my rage, my fear, my sadness, my ugly, my hope, my everything. But I want all of you who supported and prayed for us to hear his updates. You helped me survive, and I am deeply thankful. Every once in awhile, I will check in to let you know how he's doing. Please continue to pray that cancer will never return to his body. Thank you.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

My Nurse Ursula

Okay, so this is probably something I should be mature about, and discuss it with the person...but that is hard, isn't it?  And I keep considering it, but haven't quite figured out if it is worth the fuss and hard feelings.  So, I am being immature, and writing about it here.

I have an issue with the nurse assigned to Andrew's care.  It might be because the first time she met me, she treated me like I had committed a crime. She seemed relish the chance to describe the consequences of cancer, and was strangely cold while describing the torture my child must endure for quite some time.  Or, perhaps it was more like I had just signed up for "Cancer bootcamp" and she felt it was her job to lay it all out there.  No emotions, just the facts. 

Since that day, when she forgot that I might have some intense feelings about my son and his cancer, I have resented and disliked her.  I should probably just let someone know and move on.  Perhaps  I will.

But instead, because I don't really want to cause waves, and because I try to convince myself that she is really "not that bad," and I don't want to be seen as a complainer, I keep hoping that maybe she will redeem herself.  And, she has been pleasant enough.  She still really lacks empathy, but I think she is trying.

But the resentment is already there.  I'm afraid everything she says now rubs me the wrong way.  The other day she commented on  "how many of our kids are so smart."  First I thought, well, why wouldn't they be?  Then I thought, YOUR kids???  Have YOU ever spent the night in a double-booked hospital room with a crying neighbor while you worry yourself sick about my child's cancer? Have YOU ever had to dread putting my child to sleep knowing that as soon as his pain meds wore off he would be up, crying in agony?  Have you ever had to give three mouth treatments a day to your child and watch him turn into a mumbling miserable mess?...No.  You lay no claim to my child.  He is in NO way YOURS.

And I immediately pictured her as Ursula the Sea Witch, receiving some strange pleasure from having ownership over all of these  "poor, unfortunate souls," --mere shriveled up shadows of the children they used to be.  And I wanted to remove Andrew from that group.  He is NOT hers.  She may take his blood, and hook him up to IVs, and tell me about the all the possible side effects of his medications.  But he is not hers in any way.

Hmmm...maybe I should make my title "The Nurse Ursula."  I don't want to claim her as mine, either.

I guess I'm a bit touchy about all of this...


  1. The second time that Monkey was sedated for test thanks to this nightmare our assigned nurse fell asleep FELL ASLEEP while my baby was lying there on the table. I was irate! Yes she had the PICU anesthesiologist and the respiratory therapist and me in the room watching Monkey but are you kidding me?! She then fell asleep again while monkey was still sleeping off the anesthesia a couple of hours later and it was just her and I in the room and I am not all that equipped to be watching the monitor to make sure my daughters stats are good. Yeah that was the last time she was near my girl! You bet I through a fit.

  2. I remember my first oncologist would also enter the exam room in a haze of cigarette smoke. I was like - really? You treat kids with cancer and smoke?! I lost a lot of respect for her. She was also (not surprisingly I guess) very low on empathy. Thankfully she moved on and I got an oncologist who was kind and patient and gentle and perfectly suited for his occupation.
    Is it possible to switch? Even if it ruffles some feathers, you don't need any extra aggravation during all of this. It might not be worth it to just hope she changes... I don't think you can teach somebody to be authentically empathetic.
    Good luck!

  3. Wow. Yeah, you really painted a picture there. I'm sorry you have callous nurses on top of everything else. I don't imagine there's harm at all in saying "Andrew's NOT yours." I hope some of the other nurses are nicer. Maybe you could ask to have a new nurse, and cite unreconcilable differences. (Or is that for divorce?)

  4. Well In my opinion ask for a new nurse. You are already going to be dealing with a lot for the next while. You don't need any added sress. Since this is for the long haul not just a day or two just do it, ask for a change. Talk with either the head unit nurse or your patient advocate if you don't know who that is call the hospital operator and ask.

    We 'fired' a doctor who had attitude problems I think it is far less consaquncial (sorry bad speller) to 'fire' a nurse.

  5. I don't think posting your feelings on your blog is immature. I wouldn't have said anything, but would have thought it too. Very interesting metaphor.

    She's probably low on empathy and emotion as a coping mechanism for a tough job... Maybe? It's a shame she can't show some compassion to help make your burden a little lighter.

    If I were you I'd chat with her and try to find out more about her (kids/grandkids?). Once you two find some common ground she might show another side to herself. I'm hoping anyways...

  6. Just like Amber said... you're the boss and you should feel comfortable firing any employee that is not working up to your standards. I think people forget that the doctors and nurses work for you, they are not there to be mini gods.

  7. I've been lurking on your blog and your son and your family have been in my prayers daily. However, I have to come out of my lurk to comment since I see this at work all the time. Contact the Nurse Manager on the unit and tell her you want to be assigned to someone else. The Nurse Manager needs to know that her nurses aren't providing you with the best care. If it's a good hospital and a good manager, you'll receive an apology and new nurse immediately. And if you don't get a response contact the next higher up, either a nursing director or Vice President of Nursing. Good hospitals don't put up with bad nurses.


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