Although many people will participate in this anthology who have no connection to Princess Margaret Hospital, it is still the epicentre of the project. My intention is to occasionally celebrate something wonderful about the hospital – a vignette – to give people a taste of what an incredible place it is. I will try not to be too sentimental, but sometimes it’s hard when it comes to the people who have helped me there. Here is this week’s vignette: Manny the Chemo Nurse
There are many wonderful nurses in the chemo unit, but my particular favorite is Manny. Manny is probably everyone’s favorite. He’s muscular, tattooed and carries a huge smile. Everyone knows Manny. He has endless energy and you can see how hard stillness is for him.
It is like poetry in motion to watch Manny work. He never stops, his eyes watchful, planning what to do next. He is economical with his movement, no wasted energy, but precise and confident. He never fails to get the vein first time, no muss, very little pain. My visits are short and snappy with Manny. No extra rituals beyond the minimum requirements.
This efficiency of movement would have served him well in the years that he spent moonlighting as chef and bartender. He told me he was moved from the kitchen to behind the bar because of his energy and ability to entertain the customers the same way that he now entertains the patients. He would have been great up on the stage.
It t is because of him that the television in the chemo unit plays the food network instead of the 24 hours news channel. He is funny and kind and gives a party-like feeling to the unit even as he keeps patients flowing in and out like an efficient faucet. You never feel rushed and always feel valued. You can also see that the dynamics between nurses is more lighthearted when Manny is there. He has an effect on the entire unit.
I was about to say “If only they were all like Manny”, but maybe he is better appreciated as a unique individual. Too much energy like his might make the place explode. We will enjoy one of him all we can.