Sometimes you have to sink before you learn to swim

There was a new patient that came in today.  She was older, in her sixties and not new to dialysis. 

She had moved from Texas to be closer to her daughter who also moved from Texas a few years ago.

The nurse was busy with care plans that had to be done before next week, so she asked me to get her basic history for her, she wasn’t my patient, but I like doing them.

The moment we made eye contact I knew I had seen her before, we both recognized each other but we just couldn’t place one another.

We asked each other questions to see where we knew each other and kept coming up blank.

She kept smiling and telling calling me “Kimberly,” because that what is on my name badge.   I told her I haven’t been called Kimberly since I was a baby and usually only because I was in trouble.  She smiled at me and gave me a small chuckle.

“Kimberly,” she said, eyeing my reaction, “that was my daughters name.

I smiled and instantly knew by the way she said it, it was her daughters name, now it belonged to the universe and to me.

I smiled back, it was infectious and I glanced down at my name badge, staring up at my face, a picture taken when I was just 18 years old, my face thin, my hair shorter.  I looked like a baby.

I asked her when she started dialysis, she told me since 2005 “before Katrina”.  I paused and looked up at her and eyed her.

“Are you from that area?”

She nodded and smiled at me, patting my hand with her free arm.  She started talking before I could say anything else, about how she spent a few days on her roof with her family before she airlifted her out.  She was then moved to a small town in Missouri where she dialyzed and slept all in the same building.

Silence filled the small space between us as we eyed each other again.  I smiled and said “I think I remember where I know you from.” I stated.  “I was there too.”

I was.  I had volunteered to provide my services after Hurrican Katrina displaced all the dialysis patients.  The Red Cross sent me to a small town in Missouri where I spent two weeks working 16 hour days and sleeping next to co-workers and patients alike.  It was the most fulfilling thing I have ever done.

We narrowed it down to being at the same place for a few days, I probably even took care of her, ate with her and slept beside her. 

I never expected to come in contact with her again and I am thankful I did.

I told her it was okay if she called me Kimberly.



~ by Kim on May 17, 2008.

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