The Tribune Democrat, Johnstown, PA

September 11, 2011

Givers of care are angels of mercy

Robin L. Quillon

— Maybe I’m a hypochondriac, but I’d rather watch the TV show “Glee”  or eat dill pickles than visit a hospital.

However, over the past few months I’ve visited several friends in the hospital here in Johnstown. One older friend took a nasty fall from his bicycle as he rode an abandoned railroad trail with his son and grandchildren.

His was a freak accident. His injuries were so bad the hospital nearest to the accident could not handle his case, and therefore he was flown here from Maryland.

The good doctors did everything possible they could for my friend, but unfortunately he did not survive his injuries.

 When I stood at his bedside, I don’t think I’ve seen as many complicated-looking machines with digital readouts and blinking light, tubes, IV bags, hoses, and high-tech equipment in use at one time for one person in my life.

The nurses and doctors moved in perfect unison in his behalf – but it was just his time to go.

I visited another elderly friend recovering from open-heart surgery. The operation was a grand success. She reports she has never felt better in her life now that blood is flowing as it should. 

Another friend had successful back surgery and is now home and feeling much better.

All three of my friends were on different floors in the hospital at the same time. As I wandered from floor to floor during all hours of the day and night, I could not help but stand in awe of what our nurses do on a daily basis. To all the nurses I say, thank you!

Thank you!

I, for one, am so grateful there are men and women willing to be nurses. This has to be one of the toughest jobs there is.

I could not do this job.

I’d crack under the pressure.

In fact, the very thought of even working a few hours on any floor in the hospital makes me break out into a cold sweat.

No way, man.

To you nurses, I ask, what is your secret to staying so calm and collected? How on earth do you tune out the crying, the moaning and writhing from pain, the complaining from patients, and going from zero to 60 in terms of emergency – every day?

In jest, I also ask; Do you ever have a day when you just feel like slapping a patient or a doctor? Tell me honestly, how do you really feel about the call-nurse light?

Have you ever slipped and told your spouse or loved one to stop being a baby and just suck it up? Have you ever wanted to tell a patient to stop faking it? Have you ever had to check yourself at the dining table and refrain from telling a story that would cause others to gag? 

Have you ever had one of those patients that you felt really good about jabbing them with a 14-gauge needle?

Be honest. Have your experiences as a nurse led you to believe the federal government should require a permit for people to have children?

Do you agree there are certain patients who could benefit from the delivery of Prozac via a 12.5-horsepower Black & Decker pump?

And finally, are you really smarter than the doctors in the wee hours of morning?

All kidding aside, thank you for always being there for us. Thank you for putting up with us, even though some of us are miserable patients.

Thank you for your tender touch and empathy. Thank you for your encouragement, optimism and patience.

You all are indeed angels of mercy and, for me, without you a hospital visit would be about as bad as watching “Glee” or eating dill pickles.

Robin L. Quillon is the publisher of The Tribune-Democrat. He can be reached at

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