1. Nesbitt, Tonesia

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Being a single mother is not easy, let alone being the single mother of a child with multiple disabilities. When my daughter was born 9 years ago, the doctors were not certain she would live. Within the first hours of her life, she was given an electroencephalogram and was diagnosed with epilepsy and cerebral palsy. After 2 weeks in neonatal intensive care, Mary was finally cleared to go home. I felt relieved but full of questions.


One question was: Why did I have to speak to a psychiatrist and a social worker? These were people I would rather not deal with-ever! As a child I was aware of how these "professionals" were nosy, judgmental, and ruined people's lives. So, needless to say, I was not exactly thrilled to talk to either one. Because I had to, I limited the conversation as much as humanly possible. I did not trust the social worker because she said: "Perhaps you should consider other options because of your lack of experience in caring for a child with Mary's needs." It hurt. I loved Mary and knew I was the best person to care for her.


By the grace of God, a lot of those "what if" questions were answered when we went home. That is when we met Krystal, a sweet and informative home care nurse. Originally, I thought this was a joke. How in the world could she help us and what was her angle? I proceeded with caution, but as Krystal explained the resources that were available for Mary, I began to feel more at ease-even hopeful. I no longer saw her as an evil outsider ready to pounce, but as a friend in a time of need. Things went so well that my entire family liked her. Believe me, that is not an easy thing to accomplish because we believe in taking care of our own. We always survived and thrived together; help from outsiders was never necessary.


As time passed, I looked forward to her visits and seeing Mary's progress and weight gain. Krystal was well intentioned and very helpful. So much so, that by the time 6 months passed, she felt her services were no longer needed because we exceeded her expectations. Although it was sad to see her go, she left an everlasting impression on me. A nurse is a friend to the sick and a valuable resource.


Therefore, by the time the second storm hit me 4 years later, I was ready and prepared to accept nursing support again. After 2 weeks in the hospital due to respiratory complications, Mary was discharged home with IVs. Two nurses offered comprehensive training with demonstrations and a positive attitude. They gave me further understanding of nursing. Their instructions on how to maintain my child's health were clear. They were also personable, telling me where they went to nursing school and how much they liked it. From the very first visit, they showed themselves to be caring and trustworthy.


My experiences with Krystal and the nurses from home care inspired me to pursue nursing as a career. I value the insight and knowledge gained from them. I see that nursing is so much more than bed pans and needle sticks. Instead, it's an opportunity to make a difference when it matters the most. So, thank you Krystal for helping to "right" this part of my story, our story, and I pray to one day be the nurse who can offer help in the time of someone else's need.