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I was a new nurse during a 12-hour day shift. I went to the fridge to grab my bag for a quick lunch. I was starving. It had been a busy day with lots of orders and patients coming and going for tests.

As I rounded the corner from the nurses station, I saw a woman out of the corner of my eye. She was the wife of the patient in room 502, and she looked concerned.
As she walked up to me I sat my lunch bag on the counter. She looked at me and said she was sorry to bother me, but she thought her husband needed some help. I said of course, and went to his room with her.

I could tell he was in immediate distress, his breathing was labored and his oxygen saturation was way too low. I kindly asked her to go to the waiting room so I could take care of him, and I quickly called the code team. After about an hour we got him transferred to ICU. From there I just went on with my shift – another day with no lunch!

About a month went by and I was working and a man walked up to the nurses’ station with some treats. I was paged to the desk. I came up and said, “Can I help you?”

The man looked at his wife and said, “She doesn’t remember?”

I apologized because I see so many people and as he spoke his voice cracked.

“I was in room 502 and you were about to take lunch when my wife came and asked you to come and look at me because I was not feeling well. You saved my life! My wife said you never got to eat your lunch that day, so today I am giving you one on me.”

That day was like every other no other except this time someone stopped to show us nurses that what we do does make a difference – even when no one sees the lunch left on the counter at the end of the day.

– Shona Quick, RN