The Joy of the “r”

Can we talk about nurses?

Yesterday I had the honor of meeting with three folks from Carolinas Medical Center. 

Jo Aitken was one of them. 

I’ve known Jo a long time. Last spring she was part of a Red Boot Step Study I led. 

She has since become a huge spokesperson for the program; hence our meeting yesterday. She wants to bring Red Boot to her peers at CMC. 

I mean duh right? Nurses engage with all of us…the poor, the rich, the sick, the sad. There isn’t one person, unless you’ve just been living in a cave, who hasn’t at some point encountered time with a nurse. 

Being a nurse isn’t always sunshine and unicorns. 

Not. Even. Close. 

Not only do nurses have to address the medical issue on hand…there’s a ton of other “stuff” going on that they have to take into account. No patient or minute is the same.

Yesterday Jo and her colleague Anita shared one story after another about the wonder and challenges of being a nurse. People under duress say all kinds of things. Politics, race, religion…none of these subjects are off limits and Jo has credited Red Boot for helping her handle these tough moments, with grace and understanding…to see the patient AND the human. 

One story from yesterday, in particular really struck me. 

It’s short and it’s sweet and I call it the “Joy of the r.”

It goes like this.   

Jo was assisting someone…either a patient or the mom to a patient…I can’t remember. While reviewing all the paperwork, Jo noticed something rather extravagant on the woman’s registration. 

The most beautiful cursive r you can imagine. “It was that perfect r that you learn in second grade when you’re learning cursive. The two little points and the most perfect lines from there. I hadn’t seen an r like that since I was a kid. This woman had to be a teacher. I mean who else makes r’s like that anymore?”

And so Jo in her awesome Jo-like-fashion (those of you who know her know what I mean by Jo-like-fashion!) says to her…

“You’ve gotta be a teacher. Are you?”

“Yes, I am,” the woman replied. “How did you know?”

Jo went on to talk about her beautiful “r”. The perfection of it. The time she took to craft it. She celebrated something that at first glance to many would have either been NOT noticed or insignificant. 

She honored this woman by taking the time to observe, be present, to honor her. The r wasn’t just an r….No!

It was the portal into something much deeper. 

This human being’s story. 

 And there you have it for a Friday morning. I told you it was simple and sweet and perfect.

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