DebraReaders' Choice Winner
Debra's Story


Being a professional in the medical field affords me many opportunities to care for others with numerous rewards. They measure from the smallest smile, touch or to a heartfelt thank you. Sometimes the caregiving is not so much a physical caring of a person but a caring of the emotional well-being of a person. The art of caring, is being in tune with both aspects. It encompasses willingness to go the extra step in touching someone's life.

The incident that comes to mind involved a tragic accident in which a 17yr old was critically injured and not expected to survive. Once the family arrived from states away, I provided open visiting to allow them as much time as possible with their loved one. The sisters and mother all were very emotional as expected. They had many questions and openly displayed their grief. They sat there cherishing their final moments.

The dad was stoic all night and didn't speak or acknowledge in anyway the grim situation. He was strong for his family. The mother and girls decided to nap a little, I assured them I'd come and get them with any change either way. As I was bathing their son, I saw dad come in alone and peek around the curtain. I told him to come in, that I could use some help. I already sensed how helpless he felt. Fathers are 'to fix' -he hadn't been even able to allow himself to touch his son. had him sit by the bed and encouraged him to touch him--he couldn't, thus through the bath I cleverly needed help lifting his arms. The moment he touched the tears flowed. I said, tell me about your son, the stories and tears continued to flow.

The most poignant part of the story; the father shared that his son had recently gotten a tatoo against his (dads) wishes. The dad shared, he was angered about it, he reprimanded him about how it will be there forever, the risks etc. Then he asked where he had gotten it. The next day at supper he sat by his son and his sleeve pulled up; revealing the exact same tatoo in the exact location on his arm. The son was livid and reprimanded him with the exact same words. Now with tears streaming down his face as he laughed and cried, he said it's ALL I have left of my son. The tatoo and the memories.

A few months later they came back to visit the path of their son's last trip. The dad stopped and thanked me for giving him those last precious hours with his son, for seeing exactly what he had needed, when he didn't know what he needed.

These are the most rewarding caregiving moments.