One of the strangest things about our experience at CMPC has been the nursing strike. Nurses define your hospital stay, no matter what the reason for being there. Their diligence and caring make the difference between comfort and pain. Their crisis management and knowledge can make the difference between health and disaster.
This hospital-”The Baby Factory”-is well known for its fantastic nursing staff and we have met some really wonderful CPMC nurses here during the strike. That said, from the day after we arrived frightened and confused to the day before we leave happy and confused, we have mostly been in the care of replacement nurses. Replacement nurses travel from all over the country to take patients in the event of shortages, emergencies, strikes, etc. They are wonderful women who, in addition to answering the constant requests for juice, drugs and spongebaths (they refused me everytime), have to weather the political storm of a strike to give the best care that they can.
Needless to say, politics abound in a strike. We have friends in the unions, friends out of the unions, friends in the administration and of course, we have the patient’s perspective. It’s a minefield to say the least…one that I will avoid for the moment and just say that we support nurses- union, non-union, replacement etc. With their humor and patience and incredible abilities to do the minute-by-minute minutia, they make us comfortable, reassure us and keep us healthy and sane, freeing doctors to see hundreds of patients and still get in a round of golf or sail their yachts every once in awhile.
Last night and yesterday, we said goodbye to a lot of new friends that will be a part of Grace’s life for years to come. Jenn commented that it felt like the last day of camp. I agree. Camp ScaryCrazy where we got to put on an elaborate play in the talent show with Jenn’s body as a prop and a happy ending to beat them all.