FranEMTnurse, LPN, EMT-I Pro 43,800 Views
Joined Jun 7, '02.
Posts: 14,216 (24% Liked)
O.K. This is really gross but every word is true. I was working as a tech in a burn unit, tasked with doing hydrotherapy and non-sharp debridement. Our tank was a "Hubbard"- style PT tank that, looking down on it, looks like a giant hour glass. I had a 65-year-old man with chemical burns over 60% of his body. He had been pre-medicated with Ketamine and morphine; went into hypovolemic shock (interstitial) and arrested in the tank. I hit the Code button and tried to start CPR. I hit the "RESUSC" switch on the lift to raise the litter he was suspended on in the water but still couldn't reach him from the side. I wasn't about to let him just pass on so I climbed into the tank and got good CPR started. The team arrived but I was still giving mouth-to-mouth (in 1970 !). The man regurgitated his high-protein milkshakes and hit me in the face. I reached into the water to splash-clean my face. What I got was a huge piece of skin I had removed from his leg during treatment just prior to the arrest. It squished against my face and slid off over my lips. I managed a few more breaths until the MD got a tube in him. We wound up putting him on a stretcher and rushing him back to our Burn ICU. By then I was vomiting so hard there was food from a former life coming out; "I don't remember eating that!" The Head Nurse gave me 50mg Phenergan IM and a fellow tech took me home. I slept well into the next day and soon returned to the burn unit. I could not eat KFC for months !! Still have PTSD triggering sometimes at barbecues and fish fries.
I was going to roll change a woman with dementia who slept with no underwear or depends on. She had a bm in bed and it was very messy, and as soon as I peeled back the covers she took a finger and smeared in through her poop and genitals and then stuck it in her mouth.
I just passed the NCLEX-RN (June 4, 2017) and I am so thankful. Hence, "Thankful BSN, RN" Such an amazing feeling!
Hahahahahahah!!!!! That reminds me! As a nursing student I had this old guy and he put a Cherrio cereal piece on his penis and then told me he wanted ME to get it off!
Two come to mind.. the lovely but very confused older patient who poked my very pregnant belly with poop covered fingers asking "what are you hiding in there?" when I came to assist her off the toilet, and the Foley irrigation that shot urine up at a perfect 90 degree angle into my open mouth.
Last procedure I ever did without a mask 🤗
Thank you all for your words of encouragement. This is by far the hardest thing I have ever had to go through, and no end in sight.
I do have an awesome group of coworkers who have been just amazing in helping me.out, and giving me space when I ask for it too.
It is just so hard some days to realize that no part of my life will ever be the same.
I chickened out on grief support group yesterday, but recognize that I need some additional help.
I am so thankful for my nursing career because I can actually afford all my bills on my salary alone, so that is one thing I don't have to worry about.
Thank you again for all your kind words.
Your husband's recent death and your grief/response are nothing to apologize for. We nurses apologize for anything going on with us as if it was a personal short-coming we need to 'fix".
It isn't. It's being human.
I echo all who have written their condolences and their wisdom about grief/grieving.
Time will wear away the rough edges, but even then sharp stabs of grief will appear as if out of nowhere when you least expect it. That's a human-thing, too.
Prayers and best wishes...
I agree with the others, do what makes you feel better. If that's being at work - then do that. If that's taking some time off work, take the time off if you can. I am with the others, if I were your coworker I would be there for you 1000%. If that means you need some time to not be 100% yourself as usual, then so be it.
Bad things happen in life, we all take turns in that spot, being "that" person. When my father was sick, being at work was very much a therapeutic outlet for me. I like the normalcy, that for 8-10 hours per day I was someone else's nurse, I was able to have some control (we never actually have control but it feels more "in control" being at work). Sure, parents aren't the same as spouse, but I understand where you're at with it. During both rounds of cancer treatment I've limited the people I've told at work because I don't want it to consume me at work. I think my coworkers humbled me with it - my dad has had most of his treatment in the same facility I work in. It's meant that his name has been on the OR schedule multiple times, so I think they're letting me believe it's not significant or well known.
Sometimes you just need to have *one* part of life that isn't catastrophically different. We're many things to many people - and sometimes not having a significant change with just one label is comforting.
Please accept my condolences on the loss of your beloved husband. I too am a widow of less than a year and I feel for you.
However, don't try to put your grief away too quickly. It's a mistake many of us make, and it always comes back to bite us. If working makes you feel better, by all means do it; just be aware that things will never be the same. You have a 'new normal' to find, and that takes time and patience. Be gentle with yourself and allow yourself to drink deeply of the wisdom of those who have been where you are. It sounds like you have some good friends who are supportive of you; let yourself be supported. I am glad you work in a place that is understanding and willing to work with you as you go through this transition.
I'm praying for comfort and healing for you. ((((HUGS))))
This is not something you have to feel guilty for. You are entitled to your grief and you are entitled to support yourself. Your coworkers, if they are decent human beings, will recognize you are not the same and will make space for that, maybe even gently start to help you as you learn to carry your sorrow. One month is no time at all. Please be tender with yourself. This is a huge blow. You do not owe anyone anything right now and that is not only okay, it is fair and right and just.
I am so very sorry for your loss.
How blessed you are to work with such a nurturing group of people. They in turn may be wondering how they can best be there for you. I'm reminded of a seventies era new agey phrase "don't push the river", so true in the grief process.
So sorry for your loss.♡
I'm very sorry for your loss. My advice is to expect that one day in the future, you may need to take some time off for yourself. Probably when the first meaningful holiday or the anniversary of something special in your married life occurs. I would guess that you're able to work right now because you're in some phase of shock.
I got hit with a baseball bat when I returned to work. It actually was the start of the end of my career. There was nothing I could have done differently because I had no options. Don't feel guilty because you went back to the world. You would not feel this way if you were destitute and leaving the world of work were not an option. Like they say, "We gotta do what we gotta do". Best wishes.
You have my deepest sympathy for your terrible loss.
I don't think you are being selfish for going back to work.
I also don't think you should look at it as a way to "escape my own reality."
Your new reality is that you have to build a new life without your husband. By returning to work you are starting that difficult journey.
I hope that soon your memories of him will bring your joy rather than sadness.
I'm so sorry about your husband. I think you should take time off from work, as painful as that is. I do think that working or doing anything to distract yourself will only prolong the worst of it. If it was me, I'd also worry that I might not be cognitively on top of my game and be more error-prone. So I don't think it's selfish to go back to work. It's just that you're caring for others and not taking the best care of yourself.
Wishing you peace and healing.
Advertise With Us