In a Weak Moment, One Nurse Made All the Difference

Lori Dunham avatar

by Lori Dunham |

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“I alone cannot change the world, but I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples.” — Mother Teresa 

In my experience, if someone claims that you can’t make a difference in someone’s life, I’d guess they’ve never walked the hard road of a rare disease.

I think it’s fair to say that most of us in this community can attest to the positive influence that others have on our lives. Whether it’s due to a caregiver at home or a kind doctor or nurse, we can recognize our capacity to make someone else’s day a little brighter. 

One specific, clearly remembered day comes to mind: My daughter Grace had just been diagnosed with Lambert-Eaton myasthenic syndrome (LEMS), and we were traveling five hours to start her first intravenous immunoglobulin (IVIG) treatment.

I was exhausted. Grace was apprehensive and scared. Hospitals were new to us, and we didn’t know what to expect. Would the treatment work? Would Grace’s body have adverse reactions? Saying I was a bundle of nerves is putting it mildly. 

Grace is younger than 18, so all of her treatments happen at the children’s hospital. When we arrived, I noticed how attentive and kind the nursing staff was to us. Not only were they gentle while placing her IV and getting her settled for the long duration of IVIG, but they also seemed genuinely concerned for her well-being. They made eye contact with her. They asked her about her siblings and school. Some brought her snacks and activities to fill her time, while others comforted her with a simple pat on the back or an encouraging smile. 

By the end of the second day, I was ready to go home and be reunited with the rest of our family. Grace was tired of hospital food and being poked and prodded.

We finally made our way to the bathroom one last time, dragging along her IV with my assistance. As I waited outside the bathroom, one of the nurses who had paid special attention to my daughter made her way toward me. She could see that my eyes were full of tears as the gravity of my daughter’s health continued to sink it. She gently placed her arm around me and said, “You are doing good, Mama.” After a quick squeeze, she walked away. 

That’s all it took. I let out a deep sigh of relief, and in that moment, I felt that we would be OK. The nurse’s brief words of encouragement breathed new life into me and gave me strength to continue on in this fight for health and healing. 

Of course, the words hadn’t cost her anything, and she probably didn’t even realize the lifeline she’d just thrown me. Yet, I clung to them for support in the coming hours and days. 

How simple it is to breathe a little goodness and life into those around us. We’ll never know how much it might mean to them. So, be generous with your words. Make them count for something good. And given the opportunity, thank a nurse. After all, they may need to hear words of encouragement as much as we do. 


Note: Lambert-Eaton News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lambert-Eaton News or its parent company, BioNews, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Lambert-Eaton myasthenia.


Cynthia Dagger avatar

Cynthia Dagger

So beautiful and so true. Kind words of encouragement can mean so much. Thank you Lori for reminding us.


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