“I attribute my success to this – I never gave or took any excuse”  Quote by Florence Nightingale

As I walk to our Jura Care Home this morning, throwing little stones at Sister Jantje’s window to try and get her out of her bed with a new innovative method…..I knew it’s going to be a very special “nurses day” with Five Sisters in the Home.

DSC_0090 (650x598)

I am waving at my angels already caring. The night angels left after another busy night, trying to keep the Home quiet and peaceful for those who want to sleep, and warm and welcome and with a lot of tea and biscuits for those who wander….

Around my neck, my silver owl, a handmade present from our Chef…

I hugged them all, a candle burning in the Home, a bunch of arum lilies for our Sr.June!

Angels inspired by Florence Nightingale to make a difference with their love and empathy and gentle caring.

Florence Nightingale, born on this day, in 1820, her spirit still alive in every hospital or Home caring for someone. Even before she was 16, she was caring for the people in her village. When she told her parents about her ambitions to become a nurse, they were not pleased. They forbade her to pursue nursing. She had to get married. Nursing was a job viewed as lowly menial labor.
Dear no nonsense Florence, always set to work! She started working in hospitals, and immediately saw opportunities.
In dirty hospitals, she procured hundreds of scrub brushes where people were dying because of infections, and she even asked patients to scrub the inside of the hospitals, from floor to ceiling!
Night after night she walked the hallways with her candle in her hand, caring for the soldiers.
In the hospital, the death rate was reduced by a third!
At the age of 38, she contracted ‘Crimean fever’ and was home bound and mostly bedridden, but that didn’t stop her either, she continued consulting and teaching and inspiring until her death at 90!

And living with us, four wonderful women who also gave their lives to nursing.

Sr.Jantje loves telling me the story about her working at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital many years ago. Little children in her ward, teasing one of being a ‘moffie!” And she will laugh today at the memory, telling me, what did they know about that at that age? And over and over I will hear that story, but I will listen only to see her eyes filled with the joy of remembering and to hear her laughter!

Some days Sr.Jess and Sr.Carol will sit next to each other, and we only realized they were colleagues later. Sr.Carol would lean closer, as if to talk to Sr.Jess some days, and we so wish we could hear the stories they have somewhere inside. Maybe they will share the one, of the difficult elderly patient who used to throw the bedpans at the nurses. He stopped throwing pans at her, but couldn’t believe Jess was English and so “gaaf” (kind). Or maybe the two of them will giggle about the patients asking for their TB (tuberculosis) “mishandeling” (abuse)?

And Carol? Will she share how it was to be on Dr. Chris Barnard ‘s team?

DSC_0100 (750x422)

From left: Carmen, Sr. Carol, Lizel, Sr. Jantje, Shahida, Sr. Jess, Louise, Mandy, Sr. June (Sr Enid below)

And our fourth Nurse,  Sr.Enid, all the way from the U.K.  What would she have to share? When I help her out of her bed, sometimes I will ask her, now what can she teach me, being a Nurse all her life. And she would answer…” Be gentle, just be gentle!” Or will she tell me about the man with a sore on his leg, the doctors could not heal, and  she used vinegar, and asked the man not to tell the doctors how it healed! And today when I asked her to sit for the Nurses photo…..she got upset,  that lady is long dead! I am not going to!!  So that is why Enid is not there!

IMG-20160503-WA0005 (713x732)

It is almost the end of the day for you, but for my angels, the days never end, it just flows into darkness and then again into light…while we care….

And as I touch the silver owl around my neck, I salute Florence Nightingale, who kept an owl for her pet.

She left behind her words…..

“Live life when you have it. Life is a special gift-there is nothing small about it!”