Jim Durfer: Praise for the Spartans among us: nurses

Daily Hampshire Gazette | By Jim Durfer | Thursday, May 19, 2016

Over my lifetime I’ve been fortunate to meet and befriended some real honest to God tough guys. Carrier pilots, Marines, Seals, Green Berets, Statie’s and Watertown cops all have bent an elbow with me on more than one occasion.

Recent events in my life have added an extremely underreported group of tough guys: nurses. On their best days they will watch people suffer. They will constantly see the worried faces of the patient’s relatives. They work long and irregular hours under these tremendously psyche-draining conditions.

The physical tasks as they move or reposition patients takes its bite on their backs and knees. The constant exposure to every bug Imaginable also takes its toll. I was in the hospital for six days and not once did I see a face crack or experience anything but unadulterated empathy.

My homecare nurse, Cindy, along with my ALS clinic nurses have watched me deteriorate from a strong, full-of-life man into a paralyzed dependent, what I call a bag of laundry in a chair.

Imagine the strength it takes to watch and be able to nothing for a patient who has inevitably become a friend.

Not to be outdone, imagine the strength and courage it takes to staff a combat hospital where they literally see the same kind of young-faced boys ripped apart day after day. That, my friends, is what you call tough.

So to all the nurses out there, know that one tough guy recognizes your strength, courage and Spartan toughness. Love to Cindy, Darlene, Kristie, Betty, Ashley, Julie, Laurie, Deli and the rest. You guys rock.

Jim Durfer lives in Florence.

Summary: 

Recent events in my life have added an extremely underreported group of tough guys: nurses. On their best days they will watch people suffer. They will constantly see the worried faces of the patient’s relatives. They work long and irregular hours under these tremendously psyche-draining conditions.

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