Wednesday, August 17, 2011

My Work Daughter

Yesterday I had a lovely morning visiting with my daughter and my "work daughter".

I work from home now but for quite some time I was working at an oncology clinic. 
I really enjoyed working with that patient population, although I hadn't meant to be an oncology nurse...that's a story for another day.

At the clinic, I worked with some really, really great co-workers.  I developed relationships that sustained me through some pretty rough days, friendships that I still value today.  One of those relationships was especially unexpected.

My first summer at the clinic an unfortunate chain of events occurred one week that left me as the ONLY full-time nurse working in an area that needed a minimum of 3 nurses.  A nurse practitioner came to help part of the time, but she wasn't used to working in that area and she had her own responsibilities that she kept having to go do as well.

I was frantic!

It was that week that a new nurse came to work there.
She was in her early 20's and as desperate as I was for help, I admit that I was disappointed to see such a young face arrive.  I'd hoped for someone more experienced, preferably someone with chemotherapy experience.  

Well, as they say, don't judge a book by its cover!
Her name is Kerry and as it turned out, she was like an angel sent from heaven that week.  All I had to do was show her something one time and she was able to remember it.  She was also incredible at taking the initiative and noticing things that needed done without even being told.  She was fearless!  That is not easy when you are thrown into a new situation, especially one as busy as that! 

I'm a middle-aged woman.  It feels weird to even write that because in my head I've not yet grasped that whole middle-aged thing.  Nevertheless, there it is.

This young nurse, Kerry, became one of my best friends.  We don't really have that much in common, I suppose, but somehow we just clicked.  I really came to admire her for her spunk, her intelligence and her nurse's heart.  I also felt very protective of her. 

I worried when Kerry had to face the reality of enduring the death of patients.  We would often get very close to our patients, which was great, but it made a loss all the more painful.  She was so young to have to withstand this heartache so frequently.  One day we were talking about that.  We are both people of faith and I made some comment about when we get to heaven we will know a lot of people.  Kerry was quiet for a moment and then smiled a little smile and said, "Yeah, we'll be the popular girls!"  I knew then she also possessed a quiet strength well beyond her years.

Somewhere along the way, after hearing me speak of "Kerry this" and "Kerry that", my own daughter (who is actually older than Kerry) said that Kerry was like my "work daughter".  It was kind of funny and we often referred to her as that from then on.  Kerry has a lovely mother who is my age.  She's close to her mom and had no "mom void" to fill.  I also have a relationship with my daughter that is beyond anything I ever imaged.  I had no void to fill either.  But nevertheless, a small part of our friendship probably is a bit like mother and daughter.  However it is defined, thinking of Kerry  makes me smile.

One day recently, Kerry asked if I could try to crochet a hat for her baby daughter.  She wanted it to have the look of an owl.  I wasn't sure that I could do it but gave it a try.  Since that day, Maria and I have made many, many hats to sell either on our shop site or at craft fairs or to any shop that wants to carry them.  We are having so much fun making these hats,  making them up as we go.  I thank Kerry for getting us started!

Yesterday Kerry and her two kids came by and posed for me with their new hats.

Shane as a bear.


Shane as a very serious bear.


Riley, probably wondering why this lady
is making her wear a hot hat on a warm August day!