we usually remember the names of our doctors,
but often we forget the names of our nurses.
I remember one.
I had breast cancer a few years ago,
and somehow I managed to get through the surgeries
and the beginning of the treatment just fine.
I could hide what was going on.
Everybody didn’t really have to know.
I could walk my daughter to school,
I could go out to dinner with my husband;
I could fool people.
But then my chemo was scheduled to begin
and that terrified me
because I knew that I was going to lose every single hair on my body
because of the kind of chemo that I was going to have.
I wasn’t going to be able to pretend anymore
as though everything was normal.
I was scared.
I knew what it felt like to have everybody treating me with kid gloves,
and I just wanted to feel normal.
I had a port installed in my chest.
I went to my first day of chemotherapy,
and I was an emotional wreck.
我的护士 乔安妮 走进病房
My nurse, Joanne, walked in the door,
and every bone in my body was telling me to get up out of that chair
and take for the hills.
But Joanne looked at me and talked to me like we were old friends.
And then she asked me,
“Where’d you get your highlights done?”
And I was like, are you kidding me?
You’re going to talk to me about my hair when I’m on the verge of losing it?
I was kind of angry,
and I said, “Really? Hair?”
And with a shrug of her shoulders she said,
“It’s gonna grow back.”
And in that moment she said the one thing I had overlooked,
那就是 在将来 我的生活会恢复如常
and that was that at some point, my life would get back to normal.
She really believed that.
And so I believed it, too.
现在 当你与癌症抗争时 担心失去头发
Now, worrying about losing your hair when you’re fighting cancer
may seem silly at first,
but it’s not just that you’re worried about how you’re going to look.
It’s that you’re worried that everybody’s going to treat you so carefully.
Joanne made me feel normal for the first time in six months.
We talked about her boyfriends,
we talked about looking for apartments in New York City,
and we talked about my reaction to the chemotherapy —
all kind of mixed in together.
And I always wondered,
how did she so instinctively know just how to talk to me?
Joanne Staha and my admiration for her
marked the beginning of my journey into the world of nurses.
A few years later, I was asked to do a project
that would celebrate the work that nurses do.
I started with Joanne,
and I met over 100 nurses across the country.
我花费了五年的时间 给护士拍照 摄影
I spent five years interviewing, photographing and filming nurses
for a book and a documentary film.
With my team,
we mapped a trip across America that would take us to places
应对我国所面临的衰老 战争 贫困 犯罪等最大的公共健康议题的地方
dealing with some of the biggest public health issues facing our nation — aging, war, poverty, prisons.
And then we went places
where we would find the largest concentration of patients
dealing with those issues.
Then we asked hospitals and facilities to nominate nurses
who would best represent them.
One of the first nurses I met was Bridget Kumbella.
Bridget was born in Cameroon, the oldest of four children.
Her father was at work when he had fallen from the fourth floor
and really hurt his back.
And he talked a lot about what it was like to be flat on your back
and not get the kind of care that you need.
And that propelled Bridget to go into the profession of nursing.
Now, as a nurse in the Bronx,
she has a really diverse group of patients that she cares for,
from all walks of life,
and from all different religions.
And she’s devoted her career to understanding the impact
of our cultural differences when it comes to our health.
She spoke of a patient —
a Native American patient that she had —
that wanted to bring a bunch of feathers into the ICU.
That’s how he found spiritual comfort.
And she spoke of advocating for him
and said that patients come from all different religions
and use all different kinds of objects for comfort;
whether it’s a holy rosary or a symbolic feather,
it all needs to be supported.
This is Jason Short.
Jason is a home health nurse in the Appalachian mountains,
and his dad had a gas station and a repair shop when he was growing up.
So he worked on cars in the community that he now serves as a nurse.
When he was in college,
it was just not macho at all to become a nurse,
so he avoided it for years.
He drove trucks for a little while,
but his life path was always pulling him back to nursing.
As a nurse in the Appalachian mountains,
Jason goes places that an ambulance can’t even get to.
In this photograph, he’s standing in what used to be a road.
Top of the mountain mining flooded that road,
and now the only way for Jason to get to the patient
living in that house with black lung disease
is to drive his SUV against the current up that creek.
那天 我们一起 撕开了车的前护盖
The day I was with him, we ripped the front fender off the car.
The next morning he got up, put the car on the lift,
fixed the fender,
and then headed out to meet his next patient.
I witnessed Jason caring for this gentleman
with such enormous compassion,
and I was struck again by how intimate the work of nursing really is.
When I met Brian McMillion, he was raw.
He had just come back from a deployment
and he hadn’t really settled back in to life in San Diego yet.
He talked about his experience of being a nurse in Germany
and taking care of the soldiers coming right off the battlefield.
通常 在医院 他往往是战士们
Very often, he would be the first person they would see
when they opened their eyes in the hospital.
他们趟在病床上 没了四肢 看着他
And they would look at him as they were lying there, missing limbs,
and the first thing they would say is,
“When can I go back? I left my brothers out there.”
And Brian would have to say,
“You’re not going anywhere.
You’ve already given enough, brother.”
Brian is both a nurse and a soldier who’s seen combat.
So that puts him in a unique position
to be able to relate to and help heal the veterans in his care.
This is Sister Stephen,
and she runs a nursing home in Wisconsin called Villa Loretto.
And the entire circle of life can be found under her roof.
She grew up wishing they lived on a farm,
so given the opportunity to adopt local farm animals,
she enthusiastically brings them in.
And in the springtime, those animals have babies.
斯蒂芬修会把这些小鸭子 小山羊 小绵羊
And Sister Stephen uses those baby ducks, goats and lambs
as animal therapy for the residents at Villa Loretto
who sometimes can’t remember their own name,
but they do rejoice in the holding of a baby lamb.
The day I was with Sister Stephen,
I needed to take her away from Villa Loretto
to film part of her story.
And before we left,
she went into the room of a dying patient.
And she leaned over and she said,
“I have to go away for the day,
but if Jesus calls you,
You go straight home to Jesus.”
I was standing there and thinking
it was the first time in my life
I witnessed that you could show someone you love them completely by letting go.
We don’t have to hold on so tightly.
I saw more life rolled up at Villa Loretto
than I have ever seen at any other time at any other place in my life.
We live in a complicated time when it comes to our health care.
It’s easy to lose sight of the need for quality of life,
not just quantity of life.
As new life-saving technologies are created,
we’re going to have really complicated decisions to make.
These technologies often save lives,
but they can also prolong pain and the dying process.
How in the world are we supposed to navigate these waters?
We’re going to need all the help we can get.
Nurses have a really unique relationship with us
because of the time spent at bedside.
During that time,
a kind of emotional intimacy develops.
This past summer, on August 9,
my father died of a heart attack.
My mother was devastated,
and she couldn’t imagine her world without him in it.
Four days later she fell,
she broke her hip,
she needed surgery
and she found herself fighting for her own life.
Once again I found myself
on the receiving end of the care of nurses —
this time for my mom.
My brother and my sister and I stayed by her side
for the next three days in the ICU.
And as we tried to make the right decisions
and follow my mother’s wishes,
we found that we were depending upon the guidance of nurses.
And once again,
they didn’t let us down.
They had an amazing insight in terms of how to care for my mom
in the last four days of her life.
They brought her comfort and relief from pain.
They knew to encourage my sister and I to put a pretty nightgown on my mom,
long after it mattered to her,
but it sure meant a lot to us.
And they knew to come and wake me up just in time for my mom’s last breath.
And then they knew how long to leave me in the room
with my mother after she died.
I have no idea how they know these things,
but I do know that I am eternally grateful
that they’ve guided me once again.
Thank you so very much.