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The Nurse

The Nurse


I had major abdominal surgery in July, 2017. I had to have numerous, suspicious cysts removed by a gynecological oncology surgeon. He removed my ovaries, as well.

I had been dating Joe, a lonely widower for a few months. He kindly offered to drive me to and from the hospital and to keep me company during my recuperation. I was glad I didn’t have to rely on my estranged husband for that. I had told my mother some details about dating Joe before I went in the hospital.

I also started to communicate with Doug, a registered nurse, on the dating app “Zoosk” before the surgery. We spoke on the phone a few times and texted each other, but didn’t have time to meet IRL before I went in the hospital. He generously offered to help with “dressing changes, wound care, showering, etc.” upon my release from the hospital. This seemed a little weird; but he was a nurse and couldn’t help offering his services to someone going through a health crisis. He was very funny and seemed smart. I was entertaining the idea of dating him after I got through this crisis. He asked my permission to visit me in the hospital. We joked about how funny it would be down the road if we hit it off and this was how we met.

The day after my surgery, I was in bed in a private hospital room with an incision from my navel to the bottom of my torso held together by stainless steel staples.

My parents, who are in their eighties, traveled an hour to come visit me. Joe was seated beside my bed when they came in. I introduced them to Joe, and they immediately left the room to go to the cafeteria. My mother said she was very hungry after the long ride.

Doug texted me and asked if it was a good time to come visit. I told him it was fine, but warned him that my parents were there. He said he had no issue with that.

I realized this might make Joe uncomfortable, but the idea of having 2 suitors visit me at the same time in such an unusual setting was too much to resist. I was quite amused by the prospect, in fact.

I recognized Doug when he came in from seeing his photo on the online dating app. We shook hands and introduced ourselves with Joe sitting by my bed. I introduced them to each other, too. Joe shot me a WTF look. I acted innocent, and explained that Doug is a nurse. Doug made busy with nurse-like things such as checking my IV, and I showed him my surgical dressing.

My parents returned to the room and found another strange man with me. I introduced them to Doug as a nurse that I knew. My mother gave me a look like the one I got from Joe earlier.

Doug only stayed for about an hour. Joe left shortly thereafter.

This gave my parents time to give me the third degree. “Who the hell was that?” “ Where do you know him from?”

My mother was especially curious about Joe, as well. She said she was shocked when she saw him after hearing about him because he was “scary looking”. She said she had to leave the room because of the shock. My mother also found it amusing that I had two boyfriends lined up at the same time in my hospital room. The world of technology with online dating apps and texting is a bit foreign to her. She satisfied her curiosity about how it all works before going home.

Joe was back to visit the next day and asked if Doug was a friend of the family. I didn’t go into detail explaining how I knew him; I just said he was a friend who was a nurse. He asked how old he was. He was a few years older than Joe and I told him the truth; he was 67.

Upon my release from the hospital, Joe continued to visit me at home to keep me company. He was indeed strange looking, and his limited charm wore off in short order.

Doug stayed in limited contact and offered to help in some way. Actual nursing care was unnecessary and inappropriate.

I hired an in home health aide to help with my recovery. She was great, but didn’t drive. I was not cleared to resume driving until the follow up with the surgeon. I had an appointment in 10 days to have the staples removed.

I was tired of seeing Joe so I asked Doug if he could drive me to this appointment. He drove me and my health aide to the surgeon’s office. If this was a “date”, it was one of the weirdest, for sure. I politely invited Doug to come in for lunch when we got back to my house, but he declined, saying he had another engagement.

I never saw Doug again, but he did send me photos from his vacation with his kids in Hawaii. I broke up with Joe by the end of the summer. I made a great recovery from the surgery, and the pathology was benign. Online dating doesn’t always yield real relationships, but it often makes for some fun stories.


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