I can remember so distinctly that day back in 2004.
I had called my next patient to arrange a home visit and her voice cracked while we talked. She had recently been discharged from the hospital after having bowel surgery with the creation of a colostomy.
It was mentioned to her that this stoma may become permanent and to her those words seemed terrifying and endless.
As I entered her home, she greeted me with a smile and some kind words, but I could tell that under that soft shell, there was an elderly woman who was scared to death of taking care of her colostomy.
It took several home visits to teach her how to care for her ostomy and regain her independence, but we did it! The sense of accomplishment was overwhelming and felt by both of us that late summer day.
Who would have thought that almost 8 years later, I would receive a telephone call from the surgeons office to help her with her colostomy. She returned to her surgeon's office because of some irritation around the stoma, but what she did not mention is that she was still wearing the same size colostomy appliance that I fit her in 8 years earlier.
When she came to see me as an outpatient, she was walking with a cane and doubled over in pain. She had been walking like this for quite some time just to try and relieve the pain and pressure from around her stoma. Her stoma was too large to fit into the small pre-cut hole of her current appliance and it was damaging the surrounding skin and causing her excruciating pain.
That afternoon, she walked out of our visit with her head held high, and not hunched over her walker. She said that it was the best she had felt for some time and could now go out of her house to shop and enjoy family functions.
I cannot tell you how rewarded I felt to be able to help her again. The simple, but important actions of being a nurse had helped yet another patient continue to be independent.
To have every one of my patients continue to grow and learn more about themselves and regain their function is my personal goal. This is why I chose to become a nurse.
Wendy Surguy is a registered nurse from Milford, DE.
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