Daisy Devlin, a nurse in hematology oncology, won the Observer’s Instagram #tatobserver giveaway, which we ran in conjunction with our story about Charlotte ink and some of the artists who create it.
After declaring her the winner, we asked her about the tattoo and discovered a resonance far beyond what we’d expected. For one thing, it’s not just an elaborately detailed snake tattoo: It intentionally echoes the Rod of Asclepius, the Greek mythological symbol associated with healing and medicine.
We’ll let her tell it:
“I wanted something that represented my nursing career and all the things I have learned from my patients and their family members but in a way that was not typical. I have the utmost respect for anyone fighting cancer and being at their side during that turbulent time (which sometimes turns out to be the end of their life) is a blessing and an honor because I get to see them in the most honest way possible … There are not formalities, there isn’t a sugar coating on things, I get to know people for who they really are and that is pretty awesome. I have been there to dance for them when their last chemo runs in, I have listened as someone’s heart stop.
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“My Dad is a cancer survivor. He was treated with chemo when I was 8 or 9. I couldn’t be there for him as a kid but as a nurse I have always strived to provide care to my patients who have been dealt this hand in the manner that I am confident someone cared for my Dad. Recently we went back and saw his doctor after 25 years ... and I gave him a scrapbook ... to show him how much his work impacted our family. It allowed my Dad to see both daughters graduate from college, walk us down the aisle at our double wedding, and celebrate 40 years of marriage with my Mom!”
At Krazy Kats in Charlotte, Devlin explained what she wanted – a riff on that Rod – and that she wanted it done in a henna style. Artist Jim Miller and his wife, Tee, told her to bring in pictures of snakes she thought were pretty to help him create a design.
“He drew it up and it was perfect!”
Devlin got her nursing degree from Queens in 2003 and has worked in Charlotte her whole career.