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Me and My Nurses
Published June 4, 2018

This is a story about me and my nurses.

My name is Clifford but all my friends call me C.J. The J stands for Jacob. I was born with a condition called Spinal Muscular Atrophy, a neuromuscular condition similar to Spinal Muscular Dystrophy and ALS/Lou Gehrig's disease. I have never been able to walk. My arms and hands do not work properly, and I am starting to have emotional problems. But all is not lost – I have a wonderful family, and my nurses are part of that family.

My wonderful aunt has always been there for me when I needed her. However, she has to work to be able to pay the bills. This is where my nurses come in. Without them, my aunt would not be able to work, and I would not be able to survive. My nurses help me with all of my daily needs, such as giving me a bath, administering my medications, and countless other tasks that I am unable to do by myself. But they don't just provide physical help. When I am feeling down, they help me emotionally as well.

Recently I have been struggling with depression. My nurses have helped me deal with the difficulties of depression. Because I am unable to sit up, I am also unable to visit any of my friends. I do not have any kind of a social life and sometimes get very lonely. However, I am never alone – my nurses are always there for me.

Let me tell you a little bit about my nurses. I am 28 (about to be 29). I did not get nursing until I was 14. The first nurse I had when I came home was a woman named Carla. Carla worked with me for about a year and then left to become a paralegal. Until about six months ago, when I woke up one day to find Carla orienting with me. I was so surprised and happy to see her again. She is an honest, hardworking person who tells you the truth – whether you like it or not. She is a kind, compassionate, wonderful human being who will do anything to protect her patients. I am so glad that she is back with me.

When I was 15, I met a nurse named Kay. She was an older nurse but she has always had a youthful exuberance about her. Kay knows her stuff. She is the nurse who does most of my major care. When my arms were starting to fail she would help me play video games by helping me move my arms into the right positions. I can no longer play video games but I always remember how she used to help me with that. I am very grateful to her for that and for all of the help she has provided. Kay has always been there for me. Even when I was in the hospital, she came to visit not as a nurse but as a friend. I really do appreciate everything she has done for me.

I have two nurses from Nigeria, Ade and Dele, who are really laid back and awesome individuals. Usually, I talk to them about sports and politics. They have taught me so much about their country and other cultures that I don't think I would have ever learned on my own. They are both very dedicated workers. I don't think either one of them has missed a single shift – and I have known them for over eight years. I really appreciate their hard work and dedication.

I have another nurse named Glenn. He is also a dedicated worker and he's very down to earth. We usually talk about all kinds of stuff: politics, football, Danica Patrick, and all kinds of other things. Glenn is funny, sometimes irritating, but he really is a good person. Glenn’s wife used to work with me a long time ago and she is a good person as well.

Then there is a nurse named Cecilia. Forgive me if I screwed up the spelling. She is quite a character. Cecilia believes in protecting the environment and usually gets carried away with it. But she truly is a wonderful person who will fight tooth and nail to help her patients. She also knows her stuff and is a dedicated worker. When I first met Cecilia, roughly 13 years ago, I thought she was kind of weird but, as time went on and I got to know her, I became close to her. I am glad that I got to meet her. She truly is a special person.

All of my nurses, Barbara, Bindu, and countless others that have worked with me, have been absolutely amazing. I am so grateful to have them in my life. I am sure I am not the only patient to have wonderful nurses. There are so many more nurses out there that are helping people like me in more ways than they probably realize.

Finally, I want to mention three more nurses that have worked with me that are no longer with the company but have had a wonderful impact on my life. Tarah, who helped me when I needed some advice. I did not exactly follow her advice, as she said, but it was great advice and very helpful. Robert, who was a wonderful person to talk to. I did not know him for very long, but it was fun to talk to somebody that had a lot of the same interests. And finally, a woman named Bobby, who helped me realize how the world actually works. I did not know Bobby for very long either, but she had a profound impact on my life.

All of my nurses have helped me in more ways than they probably realize. I am truly thankful for all of the help they have given me and the concern they have shown. I know I do not always seem appreciative but I am thankful for everything.

Cecilia always says to me, “No one on the news ever thanks the nurses.” But that is not true, because I will say it. Thank you to all of the nurses for everything you do.