Don't Curse the Nurse!

Sharing support with stories & humor

The hats

on May 26, 2014

  Image    Maybe I am prejudiced after all.

I treat them different — the patients that come in with the hats on, that is. They are almost always in wheelchairs, and they don’t talk much. At first their eyes seem vacant. Then you realize it’s not the case, they’ve just seen a lot, and life now is a surreal but glossy 8×10 in comparison to their past.

But back to the hats.

            Even though they are in a building, these patients don’t take their hats off. And no one would ask them to. The caps they wear are faded from the sun, the threading on the bill frayed from the fingering they do when they pull it lower. In the center skull of the cap is the embroidered emblem of the military branch of which they served. Their years of service or the war they fought in is always stitched in gold. They don’t wear their caps in a jaunty way like high school punks. The hat is all the way on, the bill pointed straight forward, protecting their eyes from sunlight and glare from fluorescents, not obstructing their vision, or yours of them. You can see the dark pupils of a veteran, the straight on intensity of their stare.

            When I see the hats, I feel like a new nurse again. I’m nervous, overly eager to please. I keep my voice low, my tone gentle, almost submissive. It’s not fear. Its overwhelming respect —admiration for their willingness to risk their lives so I can exercise all the freedoms I have.

            I often have to ask them to remove their hats before leaving the pre –op area. When I do, I take the hat in two hands and walk it to waiting family member.

            If they can leave it on great, if not, it is never thrown casually in a belongings bag.

6 responses to “The hats

  1. Mary K says:

    My dad was wearing his this weekend. I love the way you treat the vets!

  2. Skye-writer says:

    What a beautiful tribute to men who have given so much. Thank you for your service to them.

  3. Ava Zeldes says:

    I love your blog and particularly this post! It’s a moving tribute to all those brave souls who fought so hard for this country. On a lighter note, I represent Medical Scrubs Collection, an e-commerce site selling brand name medical scrubs. We have a blog as well and in our most recent post have actually featured you. Follow the link to read our post:

    Feel free to drop me an email; I’d love to connect!

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