The Last Card

Originally published May 14, 2012

mothers dayThis morning started off great – the weather was beautiful and I was doing the morning shift in the Chemo Room at the Cancer Centre – which meant I could spend the rest of the day at the beach in White Rock.   But then I put my size 11 foot in my mouth!

I walked into the Chemo Room at 8:00am and went through my usual routine of checking each of the 6 treatment pods and saying hello to each of the nurses and support staff.  This morning I had planned to ask each of the ladies if they had an enjoyable Mother’s Day yesterday.  As I made my way through each of the pods, each nurse answered that they had had a wonderful day and they beamed with pride and happiness as they gave me the highlights of their particular day.

Things were going great until I reached the last treatment pod.  I smiled at the nurse (whom I am very fond of) and asked her about her Mother’s Day.    The nurse (who shall remain nameless) looked at me and said “Terrible!  My son got up and I made him a nice breakfast and then he ran out of the house to join friends for the day.  My husband went to his mother’s place and spent the day there power washing her driveway – while I sat at home, ALONE.  I didn’t even get a Mother’s Day card!”

I could see that she was really upset – so I said “Come here and let me give you a big hug”.  And as I hugged her, I felt so bad about asking her – and now I had re-opened the hurt.

I have mentioned in previous blog posts how great each of the staff members are – without exception – they are dedicated, caring and loving towards patients and other staff members.  So it was particularly sad to see one of these Angels hurt – and hurt so deeply.  But it didn’t affect her performance –  she just continued doing what she always does – a wonderful job caring for her patients.

I decided to go to the Hospital Gift Shop to see if they had any Mother’s Day cards left.  I was in luck – they had one left – and it was a “beauty”.  If I was picking out a card for my Mom – this was the one that I would have picked – it was perfect!  Inside I wrote “Dear (Nurse’s name)” and under the verse I wrote  “Hugs and Luv” and under that I signed it “From Your Other Family”.  I didn’t think that it would be appropriate to sign it with my name – besides, it would be better if she got it from “all of us”.

I went back to the Chemo Room and quietly put it on her desk in the treatment pod – while she was busy with a patient and then left the treatment area.

About twenty minutes later, I was walking by her treatment pod and noticed that the envelope had been opened – and she had obviously read the card. Suddenly, I got a sick feeling – maybe I have made things worse.  Maybe giving her the card was like “rubbing salt in a wound”.  And what would she do with the card – take it home and show it to her son and husband?  What have I done?!

As I turned to walk away, she called out to me –  “Dan, were you the one who gave me the card?”

I walked over to her and sheepishly admitted that I had – and was bracing myself for a scolding.  But instead she gave me a big hug and with tears in her eyes, told me that I had made her day – and that she was now very happy!

Sometimes, things work out pretty good.



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An almost famous Film, Television & Stage Actor living in Vancouver, BC (as in almost pregnant). His other passions include: patient advocate (he had Stage 3 Throat Cancer) ; daily power walks at the Promenade in White Rock; and of course, spoiling his dog Holly Golightly. If you like the stuff he writes about - please leave a hug (or a comment).

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