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Her tiny, delicate face haunts me
Perfect round structure
Purple bruises line her cheeks
Closed eyes, left one black
Wild dark brown hair
Fine and Full
Flat in the back
Long, wispy and straight out
Red lips in a perfect pout
What truth is trapped inside?
No more breath
Creamy white skin
Limbs that lay limp
Ten fingers and toes
Soft and cold to touch
Metal and Plastic equipment
Mucous and blood
Sea green sheet
Everything lifeless next to her
Photographs and swabbings
Police and investigators
Nurses, EMT’s and techs
Anger, frustration and sadness
Tears that won’t fall
Hold her tight Lord
Kiss her tiny, delicate face
Heal her bruises
Give her life Read more…
“Yes Ma’am” he says over and over during my triage of him. His accent is thick and Southern. He tells me he is “here in beautiful Maine with a Christian group doing some work at China Lake Christian Camp and that he has a little problem with some chest pain.” This young man—early 20’s—is a big burly kid with a smile that lights up the room. He is jovial and kind, but nervous about his pain. He tells me about an irregular heartbeat that usually doesn’t cause pain. As I talk to him he continues to call me “Ma’am” and just smiles every time he says it… He calls the doctor, “Sir” and the lab tech “Sir”…he is so polite I can barely stand it. (He is not our usual patient.)
I went to retrieve the 13 year old patient from the busy ER waiting room. I took her chart and looked around the waiting area. Amongst the noisy crowd; I saw a young girl, head in hands, lying in her mother’s lap. I called her name, watching to see if this was the young girl with the complaint of a migraine headache. Sure enough she briefly lifted her head, grimaced and then closed her eyes.
I got her a wheelchair and brought her and her mother to room 14. “I can’t talk right now,” she cried as she tried to lie down. I assisted her to lie on the stretcher, covered her with a warm blanket, put a cold washcloth on her forehead and turned off the lights. Mom and I softly whispered.
“Does she normally get headaches?” I inquired.
“This has been going on for a year now, we have been to her pediatrician several times and we see a specialist next week. “
“Do you see a pattern at all?”
“The first headache she got was 3 days before she started her period and they seem to come every month just before she starts…” mom replied.
I nodded my head in recognition of awareness and then asked her if anything made the pain better or worse. Read more…
Fear has crawled into my heart and its talons are gripping tighter…As I sit on my stool, hands in my lap, I silently scream to God to help me. I know that what this young woman is going to tell me is going to haunt me and I fear it. I’m waiting to hear the horrific details of my patient’s experience prior to running to our ER at 2am, half naked, bleeding and disoriented. I’ve been called in to be her SANE nurse. (Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner). When I arrived at the ER I am met by a sheriff who was standing guard outside her room. “She is afraid they will return.”
I knock on the closed door and a scream of “no…no..” echoes from inside. I slowly open the door a crack and tell her, “I’m a nurse…I just want to come in and sit with you.” No reply, so I slowly enter the lit room and sit on the closest stool. She briefly looks at me from her spot on the floor and then a look of pain, fear and sadness distorts her face as a cry racks her body.
She is huddled in the corner of room 5 of my small rural emergency room. Read more…
I stood in the doorway and watched my 15 y.o. behavioral psych. patient. She sat cross legged on the stretcher, hands tightly clenched in her lap, head down and eyes closed…rocking back and forth. A loud,continuous hum escaped through her throat…not a song kind of hum…but a static sound of humming.
She came to us after being kicked out of her foster home for aggressive behavior and suicidal language and she now is boarding with us until a new home or psych hospital bed opens up for her. Because of her suicidal language all of her belongings were removed from her and she was in our blue hospital scrubs, on a watch with security and in the behavioral health section. The areas is small, has a TV, a bathroom and small area to walk around—no windows.
Hour 90 was upon us and she was melting down. As I watched her, my heart broke. This child was alone—her life story is of abuse and neglect—and now once again she is alone…Life isn’t fair for this child!
Earlier that day I silently prayed for her and I sat and talked with her. She liked to write and to draw, listen to music and take long walks. Read more…
She kept calling out repeatedly for help, with a loud, shrill, shaky voice. “HELP, HELP, HELP, HELP….” I could not comfort her or reassure her that she was okay, nor could I get her to stop yelling for help. The staff was getting weary and the other patients thought we were killing her…that fragile little 98 year old women with dementia in room 8.
She came to our ER from a nursing home with the complaint of, “she won’t stop yelling for help and this is not her normal behavior.” We worked her up for altered mental status—and none of the tests revealed a reason for her behavior change.
I tried everything to calm her; I dimmed the lights, I sat and held her hand, I turned the TV on and then off, I repositioned her repeatedly and called her
daughter (who was in Florida). The morning rolled on and she kept yelling. The ER traffic flow subsided somewhat and an opportunity arose for me to have 15 uninterrupted moments with this woman. I turned off the lights, closed the door, turned on some music and performed Reiki on her. I started from her head and went to her feet. At first she didn’t appear to even realize I was there, let alone gently laying my hands on her head. Read more…
Standing in the middle of the nurse’s station, I faxed a chart to Spring Harbor for our psych patient in room 11 and I watched the patient in room 3. Her twisted body was lying on the stretcher in a semi-sitting position. She was covered in a blanket and her feet were hanging out, uncovered. I chuckled to myself because that is how I lay as well—I hate my feet covered! She was talking to her husband. He was gently rubbing her crooked hand…they noticed me watching and both smiled at me, so I smiled back.
I finished faxing the chart and then went into room 3. “So how ya doin in here?” I asked her.
“Just fine.” She answered with a smile.
“Can I get you anything, or reposition you?”
“I would like to be turned.”
I grabbed our tech Paula to help me and we gently turned and repositioned her to the left side, propping pillows behind her and under her legs and between her knees. I gave her a back rub, applied some lotion and covered her with a warm blanket. She thanked us and then said “I’m so sorry to make so much work for you girls.”
“Please don’t say that…it is our pleasure to help you.” I answered with a smile, and I meant it. Read more…
I met her as she ran into room 1 carrying his little grey body…the triage nurse was just ahead of her with scared eyes. The mom, carrying the little grey body, was not crying. I wanted to. I took the little grey body from her, he was heavy and stiff, and laid him on the bed. The triage nurse ran to get more help. I grabbed the Pedi bag mask and began rescue breathing—actually there was nothing to rescue but I couldn’t not do it. There was no pulse and no activity but asystole on the monitor…he was gone.
“Please don’t do that…it’s his time to go and I don’t want him to come back. He has had a bad life, and we have a Do Not Resuscitate order.”
The nurse in me began screaming, “I’m supposed to save him…do CPR…intubate him…not give up!”
My mind heard her but my heart couldn’t take it in. I continued until the doc came in. The boy still had no pulse and he was mottled and grey. His eyes were open.
“What happened?” the doc asked.
“I just found him this way when I went to check on him.” She answered. No tears. Read more…
As the music starts pumping through the MP3 player speakers, the whole gym full of women take their positions and ready for the Zumba class to take off. My friend and I give each other a grin and laugh…this is our first class and though the gym is full of women of varying ages and shapes, but we are feeling a bit on display. As soon as the instructor starts moving her body and giving instructions, intimidation melted away and the music took over. An hour later we were drenched in sweat with big smiles on our faces! I will not say that we knew many of the moves or that we looked cute doing them but the class was soooo fun!! Wed. night we are going back for more.
One week ago today, my friend and I made a commitment to one another to hold each other accountable as we once again pledged to live a life of health and fitness. We both had slipped into some unhealthy patterns over time and needed a good nudging and a hand hold to make a plan and stick to it. So this past week we went to the gym, ate a more healthy diet, drank more water and attended our first Zumba class. Read more…
I was watching the show Undercover Boss the other night and it made me a little emotional. The show has a wonderful concept, the CEO of the company goes undercover and becomes a worker in 2 or 3 different areas of the company to find out how the company is really functioning…and to see how the employees function in their positions. In this episode, 3 exceptional employees of the company, 7 eleven, were highlighted and awarded for their excellent service.
What struck me about these employees was their true love of the job…they brought their A game every day and they didn’t bitch and moan while performing their job. These people did not have cushy positions with a window overlooking the ocean!! These people had the menial jobs that make companies run smoothly…an elderly woman who works the coffee machines…She knew every customers name and served them with a smile…a night delivery man, who is an immigrant—smiling and so happy to have a job that supports his family and an ex-military man who works on a dessert assembly line…who was smiling and encouraging to the “new” guy. All of these people were given this “new” guy to train. Not one of them bemoaned their job or their employer…they were encouraging to him and didnt make him feel like he was bothering them…
This brings me to the thought…What would the CEO of my company see if he went undercover in the ER? Read more…
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Love Your Nursing Life
RN Bobbi McCarthy created the blog, Love Your Nursing Life, to facilitate nurses talking to nurses about their past, present and future desires for nursing and health care---as well as their frustrations---in hopes of warding off burn-out. She hopes that in sharing in these issues nurses will remember how much they matter!
Bobbi's motto is, "Love what you do, do what you love."
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