I have worked as a postpartum nurse here at the Brigham for 33 years. I recently cared for a new mom and her sweet newborn daughter. As I always do, I asked her if she had a name for the baby. She told me the baby was named for her great-grandmother. She went on to say that, during her pregnancy, she had found a proclamation thanking her great-grandmother for her work as a nurse during the 1918 pandemic. She thought it was fate and had to be her daughter’s name. I agreed and shared with her that my own grandfather, on my father’s side, had died in the same influenza pandemic in Boston in 1918. My dad was 3 years old when his father died.
We talked about how, before this year, not many people had even heard about the 1918 pandemic or its tragedies and heroes. We talked about living through this present pandemic — as a pregnant, worried young mother and as an old nurse. I loved our talk and felt such a human connection to this patient that truly is the best part of my job as a nurse.
This year has challenged us all to dig deep to find some good, some meaning, some hope. I honestly find it every shift in my patients, in my co-workers, in each person I pass who is holding onto hope throughout these trying times. We both thought it was amazing that we, by fate, were randomly placed together to share our stories. We talked about the gifts of this year. This sweet little baby is one I’ll always remember.
Colleen Myers, BSN, RN, RNC-MNN, CCE
Nurse-in-Charge, CWN 8/9