You’ve had my child in the pediatric ICU for a week now. This means you’ve had me and, by extension, my eccentric husband, who rolled into the hospital with two travel bidets and a cutting board, upon which he is currently threatening to carve an entire rotisserie chicken.
We’re going to spend Thanksgiving together, all of us. And to all of you other nurses outside of pediatrics, I see you too. It’s easy to show kindness to a child. The rest of you are caring for all sorts of objectionable characters—someone’s racist step-brother, Apple Watch owners, thumb ring wearers, the coffee-worship-as-a-personality crowd, front-hugging colleagues. Not to mention the manspreaders, loud eaters, sentence finishers, people who RSVP maybe, reply all dumdums, three-people-across sidewalk hogs, and people who leave internet comments on articles they haven’t read. You’ll be keeping all of them alive on Thanksgiving. So thanks? I guess?
Most people won’t think about how you’re here. On Thanksgiving’s past, I was blissfully unaware that this terrible, fall-flavored, cider-scented medical nightmare scape existed as a microcosm. I was too busy getting supersonic hammered on mulled wine as my mom told me my lipstick shade looked a little whorish. But this year, I’m in the hospital with you as you save my daughter’s life, the only person I cannot live without. Which means I also cannot live without you. Nurses, this year, I am thankful for you.
Elton John once said that his gift is his song. But I was cursed with the musical ability and taste of a pacific northwest raccoon who has fleeting memories of digging through the trash during the riot grrl era. So, needless to say, a song won’t be forthcoming. I am, however, a humor writer. So instead of flowers or more art from my child, I’ve written a list of things I would do, if I could, to express my gratitude to you:
I’d pay you all a million dollars a year. That one’s a given.
I’d invent cords and tubes that untangle themselves. No, wait. Cords that are impossible to tangle. Actually, I’ve got it: How about cordless cords?
For any patient that claims a 10 out of 10 on the pain scale while scrolling on their phone, I’d make them repeatedly watch the scene from Marley and Me where the dog dies until they finally admit they’ve never understood the true meaning of pain until right now.
Nurses go to the front of the line in this Taylor Swift ticket lottery. Alternatively, Taylor Swift plays a private concert in each of your homes and tells you how tasteful and well-appointed your furnishings are before packing up her stuff and leaving your house cleaner than when she came in.
Just once, every nurse can send me the name of the doctor they hate the most, and my squad of blisteringly clever writer friends and I will absolutely roast them on the internet while you keep your hands clean.
The time it takes to orgasm? Ladies, I’m going to cut that in half for you. Let’s get this done faster. Men? I’ll double it. Enjoy yourselves.
Much like we thank veterans for their service, I’d make it a rule that if you run into a nurse in public, you have to say, “You are a better person than me.” And then you’d have to list the three hottest things about them. I understand that this will make trips to Starbucks take forever, but it’s the law now.
This only scratches the surface of what I would do if I could. You truly saved me from hell. And by that, I mean you warned me that the volunteer clowns were coming to the pediatric wing. But I also mean that when I was catatonic with fear, sinking into the place no parent should ever go, one of you always came to get me. When the Greek chorus of characters in my life was chanting, “Is there anything we can do?” it was your voice that rang clear with, “I’ll tell you exactly what we’re going to do to make this okay.” It was all I needed to hear.
So, nurses, you can tell everybody this is your short humor piece. I know it’s not much, but it’s the best I can do.