Giving Back

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May 11th, 2011

For what seemed like forever, I was in the care of a battalian of wonderful nurses last year. Three different hospitals housed me and made me better. I hugged, cried, laughed and simply chatted with so many dynamic and incredible women and men that I almost felt it impossible to return their selfless giving. Then […]

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https://readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcNursesmain.jpgFor what seemed like forever, I was in the care of a battalian of wonderful nurses last year. Three different hospitals housed me and made me better. I hugged, cried, laughed and simply chatted with so many dynamic and incredible women and men that I almost felt it impossible to return their selfless giving.

Then Reverend Rik, from Beaumont Hospital in Troy, approached me with an idea. He explained that National Nurses Week, in honor of Florence Nightingale’s birthday, is coming up, and asked, “Rodney, how would you like to feature some of our finest in a photo display?”

Bingo. I could wander around the joint, no longer connected to tubes or wires, and document what nurses do. And even though hospitals make money, I would do it for free as my small way of thanking a few, just a few, of the whole cadre that meant so much to my recovery.

My wife Marci, who toured the gallery they put together in the main entrance lobby, remarked, “We were very lucky to have Beaumont, (and Karmanos and Muskegon Mercy), I could leave you there and not worry that you were getting enough attention.” She continued, “I always knew they’d take care of you and stroke your ego much better than I could.”

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It takes a rare breed of caregiver to enjoy and look forward to coming to work where there are sick and dying people all around. As we were looking at the exhibit they expertly put together, we ran into Lucy, one of my favorite of favorite nurses.

She explained that the ward she works on is like her family. She should know, it was her husband’s illness and death from lymphoma 20 years ago that spurred her into becoming a krankenschwester, my favorite German word meaning literally, “sick sister.”

I shouldn’t use that term around Elli though. He’s my guy friend who, when photojournalism pulled the rug out from underneath his family, decided to go back to school and become a nurse. “Sick sister” doesn’t describe him. He’s closer to being a sick puppy. I’m just messing with you man; your patients will be lucky to have you when you finish your training.

For those nurses I wasn’t able to photograph during my tours, please don’t feel left out. I’ve always felt bad, even as a news photographer, when I’d show up at a classroom and only focus on a few of the kids. Nurses, I’m told, aren’t like fifth graders who beg to have their pictures in the paper. As a matter of fact, most of my subjects were reticent at first. And that, perhaps, is their greatest trait. They’d rather do their jobs with no fanfare or fame. Just knowing that they’ve been able to help out appears to be enough for them.

We could all learn a lesson from that, couldn’t we?

https://readthespirit.com/rodney-curtis/wp-content/uploads/sites/14/2013/03/wpid-rcNursesriktoo.jpg

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