Saint Francis Foundation

A Tribute to Our Nurses

Where on earth do these people come from?  

But maybe I have it wrong using, "on earth."

Patricia Alerding Horgan wrapped up 49 days of intensive and acute hospital care at two major league hospitals to repair a gusher in her neat brain that had knocked her flat. Forty-nine days. Seven weeks of the most amazing, unrelenting work. Forty-nine days.

Over those 49 days, nurses working nearly one hundred 12-hour shifts tended to her, cared for her, fixed her, comforted her, guided her, tidied her up, made her nearly whole again, were nice to her always with a gentleness and skill and professionalism that humbles any poor fool like me who imagines having made even the slightest worthy accomplishment over a long lifetime.

And not one of those nurses -- not one -- was anything but wonderful. How can that be? Give me 98 sessions of journalists or lawyers or mechanics or bank clerks or pilots and there would be duds galore, there would be some less good than the next, there'd be flops. 

But not so with the nurses. It was dazzling. They were always good, these nurses of Saint Francis Hospital in Hartford and Yale-New Haven. And they made those of us trembling at the distress of the woman in their grand embrace feel protected, safe and hopeful in the quality of their kindness and their healing artistry. They were tireless to a stranger; they were deft and wise in a season when corner-cutting triumphs elsewhere; they cared not about her stature, her background or her place in society. They cared only for helping her. They cared for her. They cared. One and all, nurses did that. That's their job.

Where do they find these wondrous people?  Pat was far from done with them as she entered extended acute rebuilding at Mount Sinai Rehabilitation Hospital to rebuild her from the rubble of her ordeal. They have a lot to work with, of course, but who can doubt that the next battalion of nurses did the same grand wonders once more. Just as they always do. Unfailing majestic, these nurses.

What wonders they are.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. 

~~Denis Horgan

Pictured above:  (l to r)  Diane Bernier, RN with grateful patient, Patricia Alerding Horgan