LUCY is an oncology nurse with very special eyes.
BY Sue Peck
PUBLISHED June 16, 2015
LUCY is an oncology nurse with very special eyes. The light in Lucy’s eyes is extraordinary. The beholder is held captive.
IT IS A DEEP HURT for the pain of the patient. It reflects her deep intense feeling to help. To be able to share the suffering of a cancer patient is a gift given to Lucy. Best of all, she is willing to share this gift. My sister is a cancer patient. I am her caregiver.
Lucy’s eyes give my sister and me compassion, understanding, thoughtfulness, fire for life, laughter, joy, help and determination. What affects my sister ... affects her!
My name is Sue. My sister’s name is Betty. I was with her when she was given the cancer diagnosis. I recall thinking that I must stay strong for her. However, I was lost, sad, confused and despondent. I thought it would be easier to die than to give her up. I am 78 years old. She is 80. We have raised our families and shared many wonderful days. I just could not imagine a life without her. She is my confidant, my traveling companion and my keeper of secrets. What would I do?
In despair, I looked up into Lucy’s eyes. The light I saw there radiated compassion. Without speaking, she transferred her understanding of my pain. The thoughtfulness in her eyes showed that she knew what I was feeling. It was powerful enough to say, without a word, “I will help you take care of your sister.”
Imagine the wave of relief that came flowing into my soul. There, in the doctor’s office, I handed Lucy my heart. And in an unspoken whisper said, “Thank you.” Without a doubt, the light in Lucy’s eyes had conveyed the message that she was able to understand the feelings of another. She had projected the courage that was so desperately needed. I had received a marvelous gift.
There is fire in Lucy’s eyes when she speaks earnestly to her patients. There are no promises of miracles. She tells no lies. She goes directly to the point and is painfully honest. The patient wants to hear something good and positive. Lucy’s response is, “We are ready to try a new approach. The doctor and I will do everything possible to help you.” Assurance that all is being done is what one needs. Lucy, with fire in her eyes, tells you that and you believe her.
Lucy’s eyes sparkle with laughter. Her eyes twinkle with pleasure as the bubbling laughter escapes. Whether it is a feather in a cap that covers a bald head or a funny sound a patient makes while being stuck with a needle, she can laugh. It is Lucy’s responsibility to make sure the patient and caregiver are aware of dates of treatments, required blood tests and doctor’s appointments.
She creates a monthly calendar with all the necessary information. She giggles as she marks the dates and makes happy comments such as, “We will sure be happy to see you in three weeks.” Her eyes glow with a feeling of joy that relays that there is much to look forward to at our next visit.
Lucy’s eyes can cry with no tears. She does not avoid the pain or the sadness. She faces them with eyes so full of tears that it is impossible to know how she contains them. The joy of laughter is gone, the fire of expectations disappears and the compassion for pain is intensified. She strangles the sobs with a long deep breath. She needs extra strength to deal with both the patient and the caregiver. She is determined to give that care without tears. This wonderful nurse displays an inner core that is immeasurable by human standards. It is impossible to explain.
Lucy’s eyes can accept. Lucy’s eyes become darker, calmer and project that it is no longer a choice of acceptance or rejection. She does not glance away. She faces the inevitable head on. The absolute peaceful realization of life and death shines through her eyes like a beacon from a lighthouse. She offers a course to follow to the end. An awareness of her determination to share the hardest part is put forth by the kindness in her eyes.
Avoiding reality is not her style. She confronts truth with eyes that do not blink. Lucy, with her medical knowledge, does not hide from the truth. Through her eyes, she gives the patient the courage to accept the outcome. Lucy is strong and she makes the patient strong.
Lucy inspires confidence in the doctor. She is full of assurance in the other members of the staff and relates great stories about the work they do. She understands that the patient is struggling to cope. Her eyes smile with the serenity of hope and inspiration.
What wonderful gifts from an extraordinary oncology nurse. These gifts cannot be purchased. They cannot be earned. They must come through the light in Lucy’s eyes! i