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Opinion: Aiken was thankful for care from nurses
Rick Aiken

Recently my father, Rick Aiken, went home. He went surrounded by his loved ones and on his terms. There’s a hole in our life where he should be, but it’s heartwarming to know how the rest of the community viewed him.

Daddy was always one to give compliments and praise. He wanted people to know that they’d done an excellent job, and that trait continued in his last few days. He would constantly thank the nurses and praise them for their job. I would tell them, “That’s not the drugs; that’s just how he is.”

In fact, one of his last requests was that I write this. He wanted to praise the nurses in ICU for how well they cared for him and how kind they were. And I want to thank them as well. So, if you worked with Rick Aiken while he was at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, this next part is for you:

My family tree is full of nurses. Because of this, I have an idea of how demanding your chosen profession is. I know that it’s emotionally and physically exhausting. I know you don’t get paid enough and sometimes work odd hours. I know that you are still on the frontlines of fighting a pandemic, and you are probably still suffering the effects of that trauma.

In a time when it would probably be easy to succumb to compassion fatigue, you chose kindness. You saw beyond a patient and the human being who was deeply loved. You took some amazing care of my daddy. You helped him adjust his pillows constantly, assisted him with the breathing treatments and everything else. Some of you would stop in just to say “hi.” You made him smile and laugh.

You also took care of us. You gave us blankets as we sat with him and then comforted us at the end. But more importantly, you gave us peace when we left at night. Because we knew that my dad was in the best place he could be. He was being cared for by people who had already started to love him. 

To the nurses in the Northeast Georgia Medical Center ICU, words cannot express how grateful we are to you. Thank you for your compassion and gentleness. Thank you for choosing to work at Northeast Georgia Medical Center. Thank you for all of the things that you do.

Laura C Aiken