I have shed tears on multiple occasions over my 31 years. I think that if sometimes the overwhelming saddness of a particular situation doesn't touch you once in a while......you are headed for burnout.
I remember 2 in particular right away. It was about 1988, I was caring for a little girl age eight. She was struck by a vehicle sustaning a severe head injury as well as multiple fractures and an open femur fracture. I was working in the ED when she came in........the driver of the other vehicle suffered a heart attack behind the wheel as has died. The next day I was working in the ICU (I worked both places) and I was assigned to her. I became her primary nurse. She did not do well and after many days of fighting for her life she is gone...........cebrebral perfusion..........negative.
The family declined organ donation. The first time I cried was after capping all her IV's and such and disconnecting her traction and ICP...........I picked her up to place her in her mothers arms to die.....her mother rocked her and sang "hush little baby don't say a word.........". I kissed her cheek and her mothers cheek with tears running down my cheeks and I said I was sorry i couldn't give her baby back to her (like I had anything to do with it )
. Her momma looked at me and said "but you have, I am holding her in my arm's aren't I". The second time was that very day........My little patient was a corners case. The corner came and the mother suddenly went ballistic "If I knew they were going to cut her up anyway I would have donated her organs! "
as she wailed on the corner.
WHen we finally calmed the mother down I went to help the corner place her in the body bag, I promised her mom she wouldn't be alone..............with nothing but staff around.........they started zipping up the bag and I lost it!!!!!!!!! I couldn't speak, I couldn't move I just sat down and finally let it go.!
My co- workers were stunned as I was always the strong one........I got lots of hugs that day by nurses and doctors alike. Her mother smiled at me when she was rocking her daughter and said........how sweet you loved her too!
I still know her name. I know her birth date. She loved butterflies!!!!!!!!!!
Hush little baby.......I though of you today!
It was the first time I ever did that on one so young and it wasn't the last.........and I am a better person for it!