Gave my heart away again. (long)

  1. I just needed to talk. Work called this evening and they are withdrawing on one of our chronic kids. He was fine when I left work yesterday. He was trying to launch into orbit in the bouncy chair. This afternoon he infarcted his bowel and liver. Tonight they are withdrawing support including the vent. He is only 18 months old. He lived at a local nursing home on the vent chronically. He was scheduled to go back to the nursing home next week after recovering from an iliostomy takedown. While he was in the hospital I would bring his clothes home and wash them as he had no family. I would also search the clearance racks for outfits for him. Despite everything he went through he would still grin up at you for small things like placing him in the bouncy chair or picking up the ball yet again. He loved any attention anyone would give him. Even nasty things like changing out the trach or changing the central line dressing were laughed through. I have only worked in PICU for 6 months. These kids fight so hard, are with us sometimes for months on end, and yet show more strength, tenacity and grace then any adult, It is hard to see them lose the fight so suddenly. I have lost other kids. Usually, though it is after a long decline and death is a release. Some how it is easier then. This is hard when the last time I saw him he looked well, happy and finally winning the fight. He was finally being able to wean from the vent for most of the day. I feel blindsided right now. It will be difficult for the other parents of long term kids at work too. Everyone knew this little guy. You could hear the bouncing through out the unit. The reminder that this could happen to their child too will be difficult for them. God, this is hard. I just needed to talk with those who have been there and would understand. My family sure doesn't. They don't understand how I can become so attached to a pt. Afterall it's not like he was family or anything. No, he didn't have any blood family just his medical family and I was a part of that. Glad I don't have to work until Monday now. I need time to grieve.
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  2. 29 Comments

  3. by   muffie
    that poor little guy had a hard short life
    at least he knew your love
    you made the world a better place for him
    bless you and bless him
  4. by   bethin
    During his short life you (and other nurses) provided him with the love and caring he deserved. He probably saw you as his surrogate mom and that's why you feel so horrible. I bet he made you smile and laugh? That's what kids do. Just remember the good stuff: the balls and chair.

    God bless you and him
  5. by   prmenrs
    First of all, I am so sorry you are going through this. Realize how much better this baby's life was because you and your colleagues gave him your love (and your hearts). Cherish his memory. I hope you have pictures to keep and share. IMHO, nothing is more "nursing" than caring for a patient like this one in the way that you did.

    Secondly, see if you can work w/the social worker(s) and the spiritual care team (if you have one, I hope so) to put together a memorial service to celebrate his life. Ask the Nursing Home people if they want to participate. They, too, have been involved w/the baby, and will be affected by his death. If there are photos, you could put together a powerpoint/slide show type thing.

    You ALL need to grieve together. An official memorial service will allow you to do that and will help a great deal in your own personal healing.

    Please know that I have been through this, too. Some pts are so easy to get attached to, esp young children. I will keep you in my prayers. You did a good thing for this little boy. His happiness is proof of that. Often, outcomes are out of our hands. God Bless!
  6. by   muffie
    great advice and the little guy deserves it
  7. by   sirI
    hello, km5v6r,

    bless you, hon, for you were there for him; tending to his physicial and emotional needs. you are a true advocate for your children.

    reading your post, i thought of this from shakespeare...

    the quality of mercy is not strain'd,
    it droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
    upon the place beneath: it is twice blest;
    it blesseth him that gives and him that takes:
    'tis mightiest in the mightiest: it becomes
    the throned monarch better than his crown;
    his sceptre shows the force of temporal power,
    the attribute to awe and majesty,
    wherein doth sit the dread and fear of kings;
    but mercy is above this sceptred sway;
    it is enthroned in the hearts of kings,
    it is an attribute to god himself;
    and earthly power doth then show likest god's
    when mercy seasons justice....
  8. by   RGN1
    At least that little guy knew love from you, even though it was for too brief a time. Hugs & prayers for all of you. Know that the world is a better place thanks to nurses like you who care so much.
  9. by   babynurselsa
    Every now and then one of those little buggers will creep into your heart.
    I have taken care of soo many little ones over the years but there is a handful of those "really special ones" that I got very attached to. I completely understand how you feel. I am so sorry for you at this difficult time. Just remember that you guys gave this little man his smile. If he had not had the love, attention and care that you guys gave to hime he never would have found those beautiful little smiles.
    It is ok to grieve for this little guy, you were a part of his life.
  10. by   jon_kulas
    its really hard to lose someone you have grown attached to... the kid might have lived a short life, but at least, you did things that made his short stay here more pleasant.. God Bless you..the world would be a much better place with more angels like you around.
  11. by   glb1960
    Bless you, child, for you are the definition of "NURSE". I believe that when you reach the point when kid's like him DON'T get into your heart, it's time to move into managment. I have felt your pain and loss. I work Peds BMT and every once in a while we also have to pull back cares and begin doing comfort care. That frequently destroys my heart as well. I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers, km5v6r. Please seek out the religious people on your unit. I don't practice any particular religion, but find their coping skills and gentle listening skills invaluable.

    The kids need you, so hang in ther and wound your heart some more, glb.
  12. by   BSNtobe2009
    OMG, he has no family? I would be heartbroken too. What is the general story behind him? Oh gosh! If I was there I would have helped you out. Things like that break my heart!

    Maybe you can find out who is taking care of the funeral arrangements and see if they might let you pick an outfit for his burial or write a note to be "sent" with him.

    God bless you for caring so much.
  13. by   ElvishDNP
    His life mattered and so did what you did for him. Blessings to you and your coworkers. ((((hugs))))
  14. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    ((((((((Km5v6r)))))))

    Makes me think of this poem-

    Nothing Gold Can Stay

    Nature's first green is gold,
    Her hardest hue to hold.
    Her early leaf's a flower;
    But only so an hour.
    Then leaf subsides to leaf.
    So Eden sank to grief,
    So dawn goes down to day.
    Nothing gold can stay.

    -- Robert Frost

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