Hello everyone! I love lurking around here and leaving the occasional post but I rarely start a thread. I thought that is something I would like to do right now. As nurses, most of us will experience many situations which challenge our emotions and our ability to keep our composure, evoking so many feelings from anger to sadness and so many others. I was wondering if some of you would like to share a little bit about the last patient/situation at work that shook you to your core or finally broke down a wall that had been building up for awhile. Perhaps we can through this take a little look into each others minds and hearts and appreciate each other for the awesome care we give to our patient's everyday. I work on a pediatric floor currently where we care for many heme-onc patients and of course every time we lose one of "our kids" it's terribly difficult. The last patient who really took me on an emotional rollercoster was not one of those kids but a trauma patient. Adorable 3 year old girl who was in an MVA with her mom and sister - mom died instantly and sister fortunately suffered only minor injuries. I assumed care of her upon her transfer from PICU some 4 days after the crash, and keep in mind that as of this time her family had not even attempted to broach the topic of her mom's death with her. She had fractured her pelvis, both femurs, the radius and ulna on one arm and the radius, ulna and humerus on the other. Her face was covered in bruises and abrasions. On report I was told that dad had only visited for about 30 minutes twice since the child was admitted to the hospital; her sister had been separated from her since the crash and was now at home. I struggled with trying not to judge this father; he was a grieving husband but this is his BABY! How could he not be there for her? She was such a stoic child, wouldn't speak to us and didn't cry either, just stared blankly at the ceiling. She wouldn't eat, wouldn't drink and ignored everybody and everything around her. In between patient rounds I would park my chair and COW right outside her door in case she started to cry or talk. It was the middle of the night and a couple of coworkers were right there talking with me when we heard her little voice for the first time floating out of the room. She wasn't yelling for us, she wasn't crying, she wasn't moaning - we stood at the side of the door listening to "Mommy, no Mommy. I can't come too, Mommy? Why Mommy?" I walked into the room and my heart broke as I saw that baby raising her casted arms out as if in a hug.
I got such goosebumps and it was obvious to me and my coworkers that her Mommy must have been there with her baby. I cried the whole 45 minute drive home that morning thinking of that poor child all alone in the hospital for more than half a week, her earthly family nowhere to be seen but her mother sure wasn't leaving her baby alone, I'm sure of it.
Fortunately in the next couple days her father and sister began coming regularly to visit her and Dad seemed involved and interested at that point. She began slowly doing better and interacting more with us, she began eating and a few weeks later we were sent pictures from the Peds rehab hospital of this beautiful child playing with other patients and seeming well on her way to recovery. While I hope the care I gave her for 4 nights helped her recovery some I give the majority of the credit to that literal Angel of a mother. I will always remember that little girl. So what's your story?
Oct 4, '10
I work peds and adults so I see my share of pt's that break my heart. However, no one will ever break my heart like T. T was my baby. I started taking care of him when I was a PCT finishing up nursing school, and then took care of him as a new nurse. All told, I knew for for close to 2 years. T had cystic fibrosis, and was by no means terminal when I first met him when he was 17. Yet, for whatever reason, he started having exacerbations more and more often. For his 17th Christmas he was intubated, and actually made a DNR as he was doing so poorly, yet amazingly survived. Yet he wasn't out of the woods. T had lost 20+lbs during that horrific ICU stay. He vowed to do everything to take care of himself, yet he was intubated 5 more times in a 6 month period.
From Dec to July he was only home for maybe 2-3 weeks total. He spent all that time either in the hospital or rehab. He was in the hospital for his 18th birthday, high school graduation, senior prom, Christmas, and most of the other major holidays. The ones he wasn't intubated for he we tried to make as pleasant as possible for him. We were trying so hard to get him qualified for the lung transplant list, yet he kept getting weaker and weaker, getting admitted more and more often.
For his last admission, he was now 18, a man, and able to make his own medical decisions. The doctors told him that he was dying, and that if they re-intubated him they doubted he would ever be able to be extubated. Never the less T begged to be intubated one last time. His family wasn't there, despite being notified to get to the hospital ASAP, they lived 3 hrs away. T didn't want to die without giving his family a chance to say good-by.
I was there at his bedside as his family said their good-byes and made the decision to pull the tube, knowing it would be the end of T's life. At this point he was on BP drips, and his pressure was still 70's/30's, and overall his perfusion was shot. It was very emotional. The family thanked me for all the care I had provided for their grandson. How they knew that even when they couldn't be at the hospital with him, I was there looking out for him. Even when I wasn't his nurse I made a point to visit him.
I will never forget T.
Last edit by ChristineN on Oct 4, '10