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Mother Power

When I was a nursing student doing clinical placement on the burn unit, I learned what it meant to be a mother…although, I never knew that at the time.

The senior nurse on the unit approached me and asked if I would like the experience of assisting with one of her patients. She would take the 36 year old woman (we’ll call her Jane) who had 3rd degree burns on over 85% of her body into the physiotherapy room and place her in the tub. Following that, we would do her dressings together.

I thanked God that this was a sterile procedure and that I had to wear a mask….my facial expression needed to be covered seeing the depth of the damage to Jane’s body. As I stood there alongside the deep bathtub, she laid back to relax and her arms floated to the surface. It was then that I noticed Jane had no hands. I don’t know what it was but at that moment, I became very curious. Her missing hands shocked me but also intrigued me.

Once we had completed the dressings and left the room, I immediately asked the senior nurse: “What happened to Jane’s hands?”

She replied: “Her 8 year old son was also in the fire” and then the nurse walked away.

I was puzzled – what did her 8 year old have to do with Jane having no hands? Just then, my cohort who had a 2 year old son pulled me aside and teary, told me that Jane used her hands to put out the fire on her son….that she did so while on fire herself and until she could no longer use her hands.

Five years later, my first son was born and I remembered Jane. I finally KNEW what mother power felt like.

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