A Tribute to Nurses

Without going into too much detail, I have — through no fault of my own — had the occasion at various points in my life to spend time in the hospital.

Except for the birth of Son and later Daughter, none of these occasions were for pleasant reasons. As a matter of fact, they were for extremely unpleasant reasons. And were it not for the presence of those ministering angels, otherwise known as nurses, my time spent in those hospitals would have been unbearable.

WP_20140915_18_25_12_Pro[1]May 6 through May 12 is National Nurses Week. Did you know that? Well, now you do. It would be nice if we could give them all flowers, wouldn’t it? Costly, but nice.

In any case, if you know a nurse, or currently have a nurse caring for you (gosh, hope you start feeling better soon), then please stop for a moment and let them know how much you appreciate every blessed thing they do. Go ahead and do it now. I’ll wait …

I would like to pay tribute to all the women and men who serve in this noble profession by offering my memories of three particular nurses who helped me at different times in my life. I’m afraid I do not remember their names, because I’m not someone who remembers names even when I’m well. Yet each of them are wonderful human beings deserving of the highest praise. We mere mortals shrink in their presence.

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First up, the ministering angel who helped me when I was just a teenager and was in a car accident. Let’s call her Angel 1. It was Angel 1’s duty to clean my wounds before the doctor came in to sew them up. I was awake and feeling everything by this point. Get the picture?

Click to Jump to Recipe

Now, just so we’re clear, I am by nature a very calm, mild-mannered soul, not one to cause unnecessary drama in any circumstance. But tell me this, if it was you lying in a hospital emergency room with open wounds and someone walked toward you with a stiff brush, how would you react? Hmm? Yeah, that’s what I’m talking about. More than just a wee bit nervous, right?

Well, Angel 1 obviously had this onerous duty before and knew what it took to talk a 16-year-old girl off the ledge. She spoke in cheerful, soothing tones, commented on the loveliness of my blood-spattered dress, and when she discovered I was a dog-lover, proceeded to tell me about the puppies her dog recently had. She told me their names, their colors, their spunky personalities, the funny way the dominant one always stepped into the food dish, and the way the smallest one chased his tail and never knew what to do when he caught it. By the time my ordeal was over, the tears in my eyes were more from joy than pain, and I loved her and each of her puppies with all my heart.

Only later did it occur to me she probably didn’t have single dog in her house. For Angels know what they need to do in every circumstance, and Angel 1 knew she had to talk about puppies.

Fast forward a decade or so, and now I am in the hospital after having an allergic reaction to an antibiotic. Besides the rash on my arms and legs, the size of my lips surpassed that of Mick Jagger’s and my oxygen level was sinking fast. Angel 2, also an emergency ward denizen, coolly inserted IVs into both of my arms, hooked up the oxygen in the blink of an eye, and asked for the name of the doctor who did my botox injection, suggesting I might want to sue. I was coherent enough to catch the joke. I was also coherent enough to notice the size of his muscles. Most impressive.

Angel 2 focused on keeping Husband calm and assured him that all would be well, which it was. Angel 2 even visited me the next day in my room, to see how I was doing and to ask if I got the license number of the truck that hit me. Angel 2 was a funny guy. And buff. I’ll never forget him.

Angel 3 entered my life after I had a six-hour surgery. It was the morning after and I was still pretty fuzzy about the whole situation. She was standing to my side holding a straw to my mouth so I could drink, as I was completely immobile. She couldn’t have been more than five feet tall and was fairly young. As I studied her face, I became vaguely aware of seeing her the day before and experiencing some sort of uncomfortable situation. Finally I had to ask, “Were you my nurse yesterday?” She affirmed that was true. I drank a little more, then asked, “Did I throw up on you?” She laughed and admitted that was also true. I apologized, to which she responded that it was no big deal, she got thrown up on nearly every day, and that mine was most impressive in its velocity.

Did you catch that people? She has a job where she gets thrown up on NEARLY EVERY DAY! How long would you last in a job like that, huh?! I wouldn’t make it five seconds past the first time it happened. Yet not only did she stick with her job, she continued to care for me and even congratulated me on the caliber of my discharge. If that isn’t the description of an angel, I don’t know what is.

Of course, I fully realize nurses are normal human beings, but the fact is, they accomplish superhuman things. Plus, they typically see us at our worst: diseased, injured, scared out of our minds, worried sick about loved ones, or any number of things that might bring us to their care. If one were to lose their cool or patience, I wouldn’t blame them, but I’ve yet to see it.

Okay, so on to the recipe I’ll be sharing with you. I bet you’re expecting Angel Food Cake, right? There are a number of reasons I won’t be doing that. Primarily, I don’t like Angel Food Cake. It’s such a waste of calories, in my opinion. If I’m going to eat a cake, I want it to be worthwhile — like a rich chocolate or a lemon pound cake. Those are calories worth getting in line for. But if you’re really longing for an Angel Food Cake recipe, go here.

Instead, I’m thinking of something less fussy and more satisfying, perfect for someone who works on their feet on day. The following is my favorite crockpot recipe, because it’s easy to prep and yummy to eat. And since yesterday was Cinco de Mayo, it works even better. This meat is fantastic for tacos, burritos, taco salad, or even soups or casseroles. Frankly, you’re only limited by your imagination.

Shredded Beef for Tacos (or anything your heart desires)

  • Servings: 24 tacos
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print


  •  4 to 5 pound boneless chuck roast
  • 1 onion, sliced thinly
  • 2 packages fajita seasoning (you expected taco seasoning, didn’t you? Fajita seasoning adds a more smoky taste to the meat. Try it – you won’t regret it.)
  • 2 cups water


Put roast and onion in crockpot. Mix together seasoning and water and pour over the roast. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours. Once it is done, use two forks to shred the beef (don’t worry, this goes fast). Add to warmed taco shells with cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, salsa, etc. You can also make a great “burrito bowl” (like Chipotle!), by filling a bowl with rice, meat, beans, sauteed peppers and onions, cheese, avocado … yum!

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