While Hannah made a lot of progress in going down to the hospital last year, she is learning it all over again this year.  She can be quite shy and slow to warm up.  I love to watch her progress as she gains confidence and gets more comfortable each time we visit the hospital.  She was quite unsure a couple weeks ago and tilted her chin down, looking out the tops of her eyeballs, with the tip of her finger in her mouth.  She stood still a few minutes watching a nurse and patient play a game from a distance.  Then, this sweet nurse, quietly asked Hannah if she would like to sit in her lap while they played the game.  Hannah immediately said yes, and her smile came out little by little as she felt welcomed, but not pressured.  The nurse didn’t do some elaborate, funny talk or game where everyone watched and laughed (which often works too)….She just accepted Hannah as she was and quietly let her know it was ok to take it slow.  I so appreciated this and learned quite a bit from it.  Sometimes my kids need a little pushing to do something they feel uncomfortable with, and sometimes they need the freedom to just stand there and take very small steps in their own time.  Both are progress, which I’m learning to celebrate.  “Progress over perfection” is one of my focus points this year.  I pray God will give me the wisdom to know when to push and when to step back.  I’m thankful for the chance to watch our nurses figure out the balance of pushing our patients while still letting them know its ok if the patient is not ready to smile or engage, they’re still loved.  I also pray that all our nurses, both the crazy, outgoing ones, and the quiet, soft spoken ones will get a glimps of how God uses them in this place, in people’s hearts, whether they get credit or attention for it or not.

A part of my job is to take each patient’s photo before they are discharged from the hospital.  It is supossed to be a quick task, but ensures each patient gets a photo to take home with them.  It actualy has ended up taking most of my day, because each patient wants a photo with each nurse that has cared for them and has come to be their friend.  They want to remember them forever.  They are the ones that fill in the long, long hours while the patients and caregivers are stuck in the hospital.  They try to make stubborn teenagers wear their boots, encourage kids to not scratch their skin grafts, make them take medicine, ask how many times they have pooped, and then tend to all the medical stuff that keeps them alive and healthy that I know nothing about.  They have to deal with exhausted caregivers that just want to go home.  Our nurses make it a fun place for the patients. Some are quiet, and feel like they may go unnoticed.  But, the patient remembers his/her nurse and how she cared for him patiently and kindly.  A patient will often request a photo with a nurse that isn’t working that day, because they have bonded with someone specific.   We have lots of nurses for this place to run, and it’s easy for them to feel like “just another nurse.”  But, to the patients, they are a special friend that made this tough road of surgery and recovery fun and pleasant, and showed them the love of Jesus each step of the way.  I am so thankful for our nurses and their huge hearts and persistence in the exhausting and gross times.  I hope they know they are noticed and remembered.