Suarez-Orendain: Angels without wings

Leticia Suarez-Orendain
·2 min read

I panicked after I was informed my May column would come out this week instead of next week as I expected. But this is not about my journey in panic. It is about what panic means to me.

Panic conjures the image of chaos created by an emergency, as when I am now writing this column in auto-panic mode.

Emergencies of the medical type give me a vision of hospitals. And hospitals remind me of doctors and nurses threading through the door and darting from one emergency room cubicle to the other.

Nurses are beautiful creatures. I call nurses my angels without wings. We have heavenly hosts, spirit beings, as our earthly guide, protector, admonisher and harbinger of good or bad tidings.

While nurses are wingless, these flesh and blood angels can quickly fly to our side to administer aid.

Doctors are my knights in shining armor, but nurses are to me angels without wings.

I remember being in Baguio City where I had a surgical procedure. That was years ago but I remember the operating room nurse. She hovered above me, covered my body with a thick blanket when I shivered with cold, and talked to me until the anaesthesiologist arrived.

Nurses, like real angels, are busy too: recording medical histories and symptoms, monitoring patients, administering medication and treatment, and performing diagnostic tests.

Nurses are my heroes and heroines, especially those who choose to stay to serve the land no matter the hardship. It is very painful when some of my champions decide to work outside the Philippines because their nurse’s salary can’t fully cover even their wingless shoulders.

I understand, my angels. I am still proud of you wherever you serve.

I am writing about nurses because of the urgency of their important role during this pandemic. I also know May 7 to 13 is National Nurse’s Week. Between days are National Nurses Day (May 6), Student Nurses Day (May 8), the Wednesday of the week as School Nurses Day, and International Nurse’s Day (May 12). May 12 was chosen for the international celebration because this is the birthday of Florence Nightingale.

In 1953, according to Holiday Insights, Dorothy Sutherland of the US Department of Health, Education and Welfare sent a proposal to President Eisenhower to declare a “Nurse Day” in October. But it was only later when it became official, and in May.

Sixty-eight years have passed since that thoughtful proposal was made. How have we been treating our angels without wings?

For all the two cents’ worth Prose-sake can give, I hope we can hold our nurses with better pay.