All through Jen’s therapy we spent a substantial period of time in hospitals. Prolonged stays of 12-15 days weren’t unusual, and hospitals got here to really feel like our second house. Regardless of the appreciable effort made by hospital workers and administration to create a peaceable setting and to preemptively meet the wants of each affected person, emotions of elevated stress, worry and nervousness have been fixed, and the emotional and bodily toll was extraordinary.
Fortunately, there was one other fixed: our nurses. We noticed them greater than anybody else, together with our households, and we shaped a particular bond, an “Us vs. Most cancers” mentality. Whether or not they have been relentlessly following up with docs on our behalf, monitoring down further pillows and heat blankets or simply lending an ear, our nurses grew to become our lifeline.
On the times once we had a complete room to ourselves, the nurses would convey of their nail kits and our room would rework right into a salon, the place Jen might nearly really feel like she wasn’t a most cancers affected person caught in a hospital. Jen’s favourite bakery was situated alongside the route of 1 nurse’s stroll to work and he or she would usually choose up a shock deal with for Jen. On nights once I slept on the hospital, I all the time awoke with an additional blanket protecting me.
Day after day, our nurses have been the glue that held all the things collectively.
Throughout the present coronavirus pandemic, the function of nurses has taken on an excellent better significance. By placing themselves in danger each time they go to work, nurses exhibit braveness, empathy and resilience. Their dedication to look after the sick and struggling is a testomony to the power of their character.
A Privilege Unlike Anything Else is my try and say thanks to the entire nurses who make this world a greater place. Might is Nationwide Nurses Month and all through the month portraits of nurses shall be exhibited in locations of prominence on the important campus of College Hospitals Cleveland Medical Middle, The MetroHealth System, and The Cleveland Clinic. Alongside every portrait would be the sitter’s response to the query “Why did you develop into a nurse?”
Earlier than I made the primary portrait on this collection, I knew this is able to be an emotional venture for me. How might it not be? Over the course of 4 weeks, I had the privilege of assembly and spending time with 30 native nurses. I listened as every of them shared their experiences and beliefs, their challenges and hopes.
After a yr of struggling by the COVID-19 pandemic and social and political upheaval, these conversations have been a present and a reminder. They renewed me and gave me religion within the kindness and good that lies inside every of us.
What stood out to me most about every nurse I met was the real lack of ego all of them shared. Don’t get me improper, these are assured and very succesful individuals, however when it comes all the way down to it, the work they do isn’t about them. It’s in regards to the individuals they assist, and the privilege they really feel in caring for and supporting others throughout a few of life’s darkest moments. It’s in regards to the huge image, and it’s a lesson I’m so grateful to have acquired.
Concerning the writer: Angelo Merendino is a portrait and model narrative photographer based mostly in Cleveland, Ohio. The opinions expressed on this article are solely these of the writer. You could find extra of Merendino’s work on his website and Instagram.