Unexpectedly Running into a Fully Recovered Patient

By: Jamie, nurse for 13 years

Running into a Former Patient

My first job as a nurse was working in a trauma unit. It was at a level 1 facility so all the major trauma went to that hospital. One of my very first patients was a young adult male who had been in a jet ski accident. His injuries were life-threatening and the doctors did not think he would survive. His family believed he would and persevered through treatment and the patient recovered enough to transfer to rehab.

The last time I saw him in the hospital he was unable to speak, eat, or walk. Then, a few years later, I happened to run into him and his family at Starbucks. We didn’t recognize each other at first. His wife, however, recognized me as she spent countless hours at the hospital with him. She saw me and ran up to give me a hug and thanked me for everything. It took me a minute to put it all together, as it had been probably six years but when I did, I could not believe my eyes. The patient was walking and talking and able to enjoy his family including five kids.

My kids were with me and also got to experience the joy that I felt seeing his recovery, in addition to understanding what I do for my job and the joy it can bring to families. All the kids gave me big hugs along with the patient. We happen to frequent the same Starbucks and run into each other now and again. It’s always a joy to see him and brings a smile to my face every time. It reminds me why I love being a nurse.

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