Twenty ACH Nurses Receive Honors from their Colleagues

National Nurses Week
May 6th - 12th, 2006

Remarks given by Lyn Marinello at the Nurses of Excellence Ceremony, May 12, 2006

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Thank you for having me. There is an extremely good chance that I will cry, but I WILL get through this. Just bear with me. I’d like to take a brief moment to introduce my family — my husband, Victor, daughter, Deanna, and son, Miles. About four years ago around Christmastime, my son, Miles, very quickly became lethargic and weak. My husband was the first to notice the problem and we took Miles to the pediatrician immediately.

It took two months and all kinds of guesses before he was diagnosed with dermatomyositis. It was a HUGE relief to finally know what we were dealing with; but we really had no idea what we were getting into. I must tell you first, that I’m from a huge family from New York; but they’re pretty much all still up there. My husband is from a very close-knit family but most of them are in Miami. Whatever we were facing; we were facing as a family of four. Miles’ first three-day steroid infusion was February 12, 13, & 14th of 2003. I cannot be positive, but that may very well be why and when he captured the hearts of the Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology clinic nurses. And, from the very beginning, those nurses became our family.
You embraced Miles, as you do every patient. You treated him for his illness. But more than that, you took hold of the entire family. You took my daughter, Deanna, two years Miles’ senior, and gave her just as much attention and love as anybody that you actually physically treated. You soothed the ruffled feathers of a proud father so distraught by the ailment of his only son. And, without you nurses, I’d definitely be in a padded cell somewhere!!! You restrained me when I was going to go all “John Q” on the insurance company, gave me unnumbered shoulders to cry on, and countless hugs to survive many less-than-perfect treatment days. In every essence, you heal the patient AND every other member of the family too. If asked, any one of you would say, “It’s all in a day’s work,” but you continually go far beyond the norm.

I refer back to Valentine’s day, but I believe it’s more than that, but how many hospitals have FOUR nurses to start a simple IV? There were the two nurses who were supposed to be in there. There was the one nurse who continually showed up to massage Miles feet to relax his constant tension, and the fourth nurse who either adjusted his head phones, rubbed his shoulders, or simply distracted him by asking him about his good luck angel, lucky frog, or newest reading material. In short, and quite obviously, it was ALWAYS far more than was necessary or “in a day’s work”.

When steroid infusions failed to bring about the desired effect, we were sent into the hospital for the 3-day IVIG holiday package each month. Because Miles also received methotrexate, we were placed in 2SW – the oncology ward. I absolutely grovel at the feet of those nurses. They are not only gifted in their field, but like the nurses at the AIR Clinic and the Children’s Ortho group, they excelled in being human beings! Each patient seemed to be their “only” patient and each patient received 100% of each nurse. Not just his or her attention, but his or her real, genuine, and sincere care! We spent enough time in all those facilities to realize the difference and incredible value of the nurses. We appreciate you and thank you for all your time and all your efforts.

Fast forward two years and Miles is recovering rapidly. We’re so thrilled we decide on a family cruise vacation – our first trip far from home since all the “excitement” began. Our enthusiasm was multiplied ten-fold because Miles would race up and down the ship’s stairs while the rest of us rode in the elevator. This is a far cry from the boy who couldn’t get off the floor when we first brought him to All Children’s. But that fun kind of came to a rather abrupt halt when, again, my husband noticed that Deanna seemed to be a “bit crooked”. So, the first work day home we were back at All Children’s to see the good folks in Dr.’s Love and Neustadt’s office where Deanna was diagnosed with scoliosis. It was bad enough to warrant a brace every night for around nine months. One of the brightest spots of each re-check, besides the excellent care, was to visit the nurses at the AIR Clinic. Shortly after Deanna was released from her “bondage,” Miles showed us what a “normal little boy” he was when he broke both bones in his left arm just above the wrist. Boy, Dr.’s Love and Neustadt sure were getting tired of us! But every visit was, not only beyond pleasant and expedient, but always educational!

Obviously, as of this date, my children are doing fabulously! Deanna is an honor roll student and very popular in her freshman year of high school, and Miles earned an award in the Running Club, was Student Council Treasurer, and is headed to Iowa (on his own) for a school competition called Odyssey of the Mind. You did much more than “fix” my children’s ailments. You mended their hearts, built up their self-confidence, helped mom and dad immeasurably, and did it all eagerly and effortlessly.

So — as those who know me best are aware, my very emotional stature is best expressed through poetry. Please allow me to sincerely express just how very excellent I think you really are!

Nurses of Excellence

Of all the ways to break a heart, the easiest is to hurt a child
The agony of recovery is anything but mild

The gamut of emotions is felt by every parent’s heart
The thread of life’s a precious one. Easily frayed and torn apart

God always offers solace. Each cloud’s traced with a silver line
No matter how bleak or dismal, there’s the support of something divine

Here in St. Pete, Florida, it’s a ward named Two South West
And the offices across the street containing the medicinally blessed

Caring hands that endlessly tend. Loving hearts to envelope the pain
Open arms to hold a sinking soul. Eager ears for a joyous refrain

You’ve tended to my son and conquered his ailments’ bout
And the only ones to, quite literally, straighten my teenage daughter out!

To all you nurses here at All Children’s; Devoid of wings, though Heaven-sent
I thank God for every one of you. A sincere and heart-felt sentiment

You ceaselessly spend your days mending ailments and raising hopes
You’re the Angels of All Children’s whose halos are shaped like stethoscopes

You tend to more than just patients. You make families whole once more
You offer something more than medicine — A stability at a time so unsure

So, in singing your many praises, for my children’s health, with jubilance
It’s an honor to stand before you all — you Nurses of Excellence!!!