Sometimes the simplest moments contain the most profound lessons.
I pride myself on the fact that I'm smart. Oh and let me tell you, I'm not just smart because I retain information well (which I do) but really, I'm smart because I have a seemingly never-ceasing passion for learning. I love when I learn of a new blood test, and why we draw it, and what would cause elevated or decreased levels, and the effects of said levels. I love when multiple body systems are involved, and I have to piece together why the body is reacting like it is. I love learning so much in fact, that like many of you, I've heavily considered the possibility of becoming a doctor; a surgeon in fact. I mean, why settle for being a nurse when I'm smart enough to do greater things!?
I know what you're thinking! And If you've made it this far without throwing up in your mouth a little, I commend you. Please, read on.
So I was in my labor and delivery rotation this past week and as I walk onto the unit, lucky me, there was a C-section to observe! It was already under way, but my awesome instructor rushed another student and I into the OR just in time to see the baby being pulled out. We were told in so many words, "stand here, don't move, don't talk, just learn." So I did. Premo tickets by the way, a perfect view!
But first, a little back-story;
Turns out, the woman had been about 32 weeks along, when she suddenly and without warning became doubled over in pain. She was in the hospital at the time, rated the pain 10 out of 10 and cited it as coming from her previous C-section scar, which apparently can be a sign of uterine rupture and could potentially be fatal to the baby and/or mom. So STAT C-section was the call. Where was dad during all this? He had just left before the pain came on, so he was now (at the time of the C-section) getting back to the hospital and ready to come in.
I'm standing, not moving, not talking, just learning, as a bustle of busy-bodied professionals do do do in a cloud around me. To my immediate right, blood gasses are being drawn from the umbilical cord of the placenta. To my lesser right, baby is being worked up by the Pediatrician and two special care nurses. A hearty cry is heard to the relief of the staff and mother. Finally, front and center, the almighty surgeon is finishing his work on the uterus and nearing time to close up. It didn't take long for me to gather that this particular surgeon definitely had the stereotypical God-complex that we all know some to have. (No time to tell why, but you'll just have to trust me on that one.) So since he is finishing up, he deems it allowable for the husband who is now here to enter.
The husband, jaw dropped at the sight of his wife's uterus on the outside of her inside, and clearly still trying to orientate to the fact that he's now the father of a newborn which he didn't expect for another 2 months, walks over and takes a seat near his wife's head, who is in fact drugged up quite nicely, yet still pretty coherent and sensible.
"Hey" he says quietly, with a slightly stunned smile.
"Hey" she says back, same expression. He rubs her head. A moment of silence.
Now the impressive part!
The masterful surgeon, while effortlessly finishing the job, begins to afford the father, and everyone in the room, with an impressive rundown of the past hour. His verbiage vast and his articulation astute, he pontificates to all who have ears, the medical reasoning for what just happened. As he proceeds through decision after decision that he had made, we were taken through the possibilities of a UTI, abruptio, and numerous other deceptive diagnoses only to arrive at what was most likely, yet unconfirmably a uterine rupture. I stood in awe at the attention to detail. Nothing left out, everything carefully considered, reconsidered, and then decided upon. It was so impressive! He slowly yet decisively came to an end in the monologue.
Now... the profound lesson, wrapped up in a simple...
"Do you understand?" the doctor beckons.
after a slight second pause, "..oh. Yes. Um, thank you."
Silence gripped the room.
Maybe this came as such a shock to me because I'm so used to health professionals and us students devoting all of our focus and attention to every syllable that proceeds from the mouth of the doc. They're so important! They're so smart! They've spent so many years in school! They're powerful and wealthy!
...and yet, in that one moment of silence, the doctor meant nothing. The diagnosis meant nothing. All the importance, knowledge, power, and wealth in the world meant NOTHING,but that the husband was with the wife, and they loved each other, and their lives were now different.
I'm glad I'm becoming a nurse. I'm realizing that I'm young and hungry after the things of this world. My mind easily drifts to things like money, power, and prestige. Yet, I saw in that operating room this week that these things, although they can be good, will never make me happy. Love. Love is the only thing worth giving your all for. I'm glad I'm entering a profession where love is the foundation of the job. You can't truly care for someone without love. You can't be a nurse without love.