The Tale of Two Nurses and The Power of Hope

I offer this story from my post-surgery days last month as a bit of humor as well as a small illustration of the power of hope.

On the eve of the four week mark past my surgery, I was feeling good and pretty proud of myself that I hadn’t been overdoing it (not too much anyway) and I was surviving this recovery time. I was thinking I could ramp up the physical activity just a bit when out of the blue I started bleeding. Honestly my first thought was “Oh my gosh, she didn’t really take my uterus out!” but then logic kicked in and I started thinking about more plausible explanations…stitches popping? A tear somewhere? None of my theories calmed me so the next morning I called the doctor’s office. Enter Nurse #1. “Well, that is your body telling you that you are doing too much. You need to back off and monitor this. If it gets worse or you start running a fever, call us back.” Great. So much for progressing in recovery. Now I felt like I had messed up, done too much and I wasn’t being good to my body. Discouraged, I scrapped my productive weekend plans (light cleaning in the house, grooming the horses) and decided I better I sit on my butt, read and watch a lot of TV. All the while the bleeding, although it slowed, continued. And I continued to worry.

On Tuesday, I got the nerve to call the doctor’s office again, sure they were going to tell me I was still doing too much and now that it had been a few more days, I better come in and get checked…mind you it’s a 4 hour drive to their office. But..enter Nurse #2. “What are you, almost 5 weeks? It’s perfectly normal to have some bleeding up to 8 weeks because as you up your activity level and the internal stitches dissolve, some bleeding is likely to occur.” OH REALLY! You could have weighed the pounds of relief as it fell off my shoulders. I LIKE Nurse #2, very much!

I can laugh at myself for throwing out what Nurse #1 said and grabbing on tight to Nurse #2’s words, but besides giving me the news I wanted to hear, and frankly being more present with me on the phone, Nurse #2 gave me something more critical. She gave me hope…hope that I was indeed on the mend and hope that I was “normal” and that I wasn’t doing something wrong. This is just a small example of the power of hope. It changed my whole attitude. I still knew I needed to be cautious about my activity level and that the bleeding was a reminder that my body was still healing but I didn’t feel bad about myself or my progress and that was huge.

Hope is what propels us forward and sometimes it is all we need…hope that we can feel better and be better, hope that we can get through the dark times and find brighter days. That is very much what I try to give each and every one of my clients. Sometimes it’s helping them see a new perspective on a problem, or identify the best case scenario rather than the worst, or helping them see a path to heal from trauma or grief. I have seen how hope can change everything, for me and for those I have the privilege to work with.