How my nursing staff offers me hope as I add to my care team

A columnist is met with generosity as he searches for new night nurses

Ari Anderson avatar

by Ari Anderson |

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In my previous column, I explained how two years ago I was rescued by a heroic person in my life. Just as my main night nurse of eight years was moving away, a new day nurse of mine agreed to switch to nights.

As relieved as I was to have someone covering night shifts, I was equally relieved to have hope refreshing my body. At the time, my whole being was thirsting for hope, as many nurses had turned down my case in recent months. Then I found an oasis in the desert.

But my night nurse is now switching back to days, so I’m back to searching. And as more people turn down my case, I’m once again thirsting for hope.

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Sleeping problems are another part of the SMA package

Canteens of generosity

Yet, trickles of hope are already starting to wet my tongue. Other members of my nursing staff have been letting me drink from what I call their “canteens of generosity” until I can find some new night nurses.

I recently found a new nurse for weekend days. It’s not nights, but these days are almost as hard to cover. This tells me that nurses who are willing to cover difficult shifts are still out there.

When my weekend nurse comes, she’s ready to pour out her kindness. To me, this means digging in wholeheartedly and learning about my care, despite not having much hands-on experience with other SMA patients. What really refreshes my heart is that she voices her concerns about my mom getting enough rest. Out of empathy, she will add hours to her afternoon shift if it means my mom can lie down more.

Nurses who have been on my case much longer will do the same thing. It makes my heart glad to see somebody who’s new to my team care so much.

Another nurse who shares his canteen of generosity has worked with me for 14 years. Having someone stick around for so long shows me that he’s a pillar of strength supporting my care. This nurse does a great job working weekdays, but he will go the extra mile and work a night shift when no one else is available.

To be clear, this isn’t a solution to my night shift problem. His body will only allow him to work a night every once in a while. I respect his limits and don’t want him to push beyond that.

Still, to see someone do what they can in a crisis, even if it’s something small, is refreshing.

Another of my day nurses can’t work nights at all, but she pours hope into me in other ways. She is special because she’s extremely easy to talk to when I’m stressed out. In addition to my mom, this nurse is a crucial sounding board when I need to express my feelings and frustrations. I hope she knows just how vital she has been to my physical and mental health. Commitment is another one of her great qualities, as she’s worked with me for over nine years.

I do have other nurses on my team that give me hope. If any of you are reading this, don’t think I’ve forgotten you! I will do you justice in a future column.

Looking forward to being a ‘watered garden’ again soon

I’m very blessed to have met many special people. Many have moved on, but I still have gratitude in my heart for them. Like Isaiah 58:11 describes, I believe the Lord guided me to these people so that I’d be satisfied in “scorched places” and become like a “watered garden.”

I’ve been a watered garden in the past and hope to become one again soon. I’m not thirsting for actual water but for hope as I search for new night nurses. Thirsting doesn’t mean completely dehydrated, though.

The rest of my nursing staff has given me hope, and I feel this is a precursor to my prayers being answered. My life will come into full bloom once again. Then I can soar higher and help others with SMA even more!

Note: SMA News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of SMA News Today or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to spinal muscular atrophy.


susie Crute avatar

susie Crute

Hi Ari! We are praying for and with you! I get out of bed in the morning, I'm not very much 'with it' yet, and think 'Now who have I promised that I would really pray for them?' And there you are, in my mind and in my heart! 'Ari, Lord, he needs night nurses and we are part of his Team'! I was telling my sister about you on the phone tonight, telling her part of your story, the miracles and the hard times! So she will call out your name too, to the One true God who made you and has kept you all these years! When we get to Heaven, I think, there will be great rejoicing over our team right now...regular people and nurses and you! And of course, no more pain for you! No more, never again...and in the meantime, we stick together! :) Susie


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