On Friday night I had a bit of a doozy. Encouraged by a bit of weight loss I put my engagement and wedding rings back on after their two-year holiday in the bedside drawer. I headed out with some girlfriends feeling triumphant.
That was until I looked down half way through the night and realised that my ring finger was turning a worrying shade of reddish blue. Like when I tried to shove my size 14 hips into my pre-baby size 10 jeans, an angry muffin top had exploded above my engagement ring. By the time I got home it had developed its own ‘heartbeat’ and the pain was horrendous. After failing to compress my finger’s now indigo-coloured swelling, I started to panic and made my way to the local emergency department.
I’m not quite sure what the triage nurse thought when a crazed woman with a blotchy mascara-stained face presented her with a bloated blue finger at 2:30am. All the while crying uncontrollably. Whatever she thought, she didn’t show it. She handed me a tissue and some painkillers and calmly explained that it would all be ok and they would help free my bulging finger from its white gold choke as soon as possible.
"I started to panic and made my way to the local emergency department." Image via iStock.
Half an hour later the same nurse was cutting my rings off my finger while distracting me from the pain with humour and compassion. During my short time in the emergency department I was in awe of her kind and considerate nature, her genuine care for everyone she assisted and her professionalism while dealing with a variety of cases far more serious than mine. As I climbed into bed at 3.30am I decided to write a thank you letter to the nurse who had assisted me through my ridiculous saga and it was then I realised that I didn’t know her name.
That exceptional nurse is just one of the many unsung heroes working in health and community services across Australia. They’re the midwives who held our hands through the pain of childbirth, the nurses who cleaned up the mess during our child’s severe bout of food poisoning and the aged care workers that treat our loved ones like family.