It's been a good week so here goes.
91 year old lady, had a fall and sustained a decent subdural haemorrhage. I got her out of bed around 0200 onto the commode to void and she promptly vomited all over herself, head to toes. Administered some anti-emetics, then showered her. Tucked her back into bed in her fresh warm pyjamas and she smiles, takes my hand and says "you are really looking after me aren't you sister?, I feel so much better, bless you". Sigh.
0330hrs this morning, youngish man having a big MI. Getting him ready while waiting for cathlab staff to arrive and the pt. doesn't want to undress in front of all the people in the bay (embarrassed and modest), tells me he has no underpants on so I ask everyone if they can turn around while he takes his pants off (he REALLY did not want us to do it). Give him lots of pain relief and as he is being wheeled out I pull his gown up to cover his chest properly- he grabs my hand, looks me in the eye and says "you are very, very kind". Sigh.
0700hrs, triage, lady presents with heavy PV bleeding, 10/40- knows from an ultrasound 2 days before that her baby has passed away. Her voice starts to break as she answers my questions so I bring her into a private room, hold her hand, give her a long cuddle. We talk for a while and I hand her over to another nurse as I am heading home. I pop my head in to say that someone else will be taking over and she says "I don't know why anybody ever complains about you people, you are so wonderful, thankyou". The tearful and heartfelt thankyou from this woman (who has far more important things to think about) made me cry but also made my night.
Call from paramedics, 25 yr old male, collapse and chest pain while running home from work, ST elevation in 2 leads but being so young does not meet criteria for Thrombolysis or STEMI alert. Pt. arrives, hypotensive and looking terrible, cath lab on their way after funky ECG confirmed by ED physician. Pt. making jokes that it must be bad because so many of us are in the room, just before he arrests. Get him back with some electricity + CPR. Still talking to us but saying he is so tired, and it is hard to breathe, head to cath lab with 1 RN + 2 senior ED docs. Pt. struggling to breathe and frothing at this point so ED consultants decide to intubate while interventional cardiology prepping. ED doc explains to pt. we are going to intubate and that it is likely that his heart will stop again when we administer the drugs to put him under, and, that we will do everything we can to keep him alive, and his family are on their way. The patient says "I know you guys will look after me, and before you do this I just want to say thankyou, no matter what happens". He then sticks his arm out from under the blanket so we can give him his RSI drugs. 2 ED docs and 1 nurse with a tear in their eye, and the adrenaline ready to go. Incidentally he did arrest two more times but got his surgery in time. Aortic valve stenosis, survived. Back at work now and starting light excercise......
I have worked out that if I look after even one patient like the ones I have mentioned even once a fortnight, my job is worth doing, and yeah, it feels pretty damn great.