share your touching moments

  1. 10
    I was just reminded of this story ...

    I was caring for a 9-year old paraplegic in with pneumonia. She had been in a terrible MVA the year before which had left her paralyzed and with a big scar running across her cheek, forehead, and up into her hair. I was bending over her to listen to her lungs, and I felt a small finger reach up and touch my forehead, right where I have a scar (not very noticeable, unless you're up close to me). "Where'd you get that?" she asked me, her eyes wide with the kind of unhesitating curiosity peculiar to the very young. I told her I had been in a sledding accident. "Where'd you get yours?" I asked. "I was in an accident too. A car accident." She was so matter-of-fact.

    She looked thoughtful for a minute and then leaned towards me, like a sage imparting some age-old piece of wisdom. "You know what?" she asked me, almost whispering. "What?" (I found that I was whispering too, like we were sharing a secret.) "You and me, we both have scars." She reached out again and touched first my forehead, and then her own. "But even though we have scars, we're still beautiful."

    She leaned back on her pillows, and I had to excuse myself so she wouldn't see me cry.

    I'd love to hear your stories of moments that touched you. We're so often understaffed, overworked and tired to the bone. Why not take a minute out and remember why it is we got into this business in the first place.
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  4. 17 Comments so far...

  5. 6
    There have been a few. One recent one involved a preschooler who was admitted in respiratory failure following a diagnosis of juvenile mono-myelocytic leukemia. The mortality rate for that type of leukemia is very high and a PICU admission for an oncology patient is usually a very bad turn of events. All of us totally fell for this beautiful little girl. I only cared for her for two night shifts out of the three months she was with us, and those two nights were two months apart. The second night I had her, she had been to Heaven's Gate and back and had been trached. She was in about the best condition that we'd seen her, and was alert, interactive and cheerful. I decided that we'd get out the baby bathtub and give her a real bath that night. My friend and coworker Karen came to help me and the little girl had a wonderful time splashing and swishing the water around. Her parents couldn't be there that night; one of her siblings was having an awards night at school. So I took some pictures of her in the tub using my Palm Pilot. They weren't the clearest most Pulitzer-prize deserving but they captured her delight at being normal for a little while. The next time I worked I took prints of the pictures in and gave them to her mom; she loved them. Six weeks later, the little girl passed away. Several of my coworkers went to the funeral; the family had created a slide show of special moments in her life, and there for all to see was one of the pictures I had taken that night.

    I have stopped taking Palm Pilot pictures of my favourite kids. Another little kiddie who was a real ham was captured on Saturday afternoon trying to eat Timbits (donut holes) through the side of the box. He looked SO cute, I asked his mom if she'd like a picture... four months later he died suddenly in his sleep. Call me superstitious, but I just don't want to see pattern develop, know what I mean?
  6. 3
    I was doing acute dialysis at the time. I regularly did the hemodialysis treatments on the youngest to date pt. We had started him in the NICU and finally discharged him home at 6 months of age. He was an extremely fussy baby and could and would scream for the entire 3 hour treatment. The parents lived over an hour's drive from the hospital and had to bring him in by 0800 4 days a week. Mom told me once she had to get up at 0400 to leave the house by 0630 to make it to dialysis on time. Because of the difficulties with doing hemo on a baby we did the treatments in the PICU. The pair of them would arrive and I would send Mom to eat breakfast and sleep in the waiting room. Mom told me once that those few hours were the best sleep she got because she didn't have to worry about or listen for the baby. She trusted me. When I did the dialysis treatments both of them were able to sleep and leave happy and rested. The baby died of a massive infection at 9 months old. At the funeral both parents thanked me for giving them the chance to enjoy their son.
    rndst2, RNDreamer, and hikernurse like this.
  7. 11
    i think there is a time when we all forget why we do what we do and need a little reminder! here is my reminder.
    christmas 2003, picu, recieved two easy pt's when i came on. at 11:00 i was told that i was moving both of my pt's to peds and getting a 13 y.o. codeing pt from outlieing hosp. she roled through the door with the parametic riding on top of her performing cpr. this code lasted until 1530. i came out and said that i was going to get something to eat and would record my code when i returned. while i was eating in the break room, the charge nurse enters and tells me that i am getting a 13 y.o. male head injury from the e.r. just great, i thought. what a christmas! well the 13 y.o. head injury arrived from the e.r. accompanied by mother, the neurologiest, and the e.r. nurse. i get a short report and hear the neuro tell the mother that he was going to put in a central line, art line and a icp bolt, she would need to sign the consents and wait in the waiting room. well needless to say, i did not get home to have christmas dinner with my wife and kids. by the time that i got the lines and bolt in and recorded the 4 hr code, it was 2200. as i was walking out i was muttering to myself, "what a @#*$ day i have had, and on christmas day to top it off!!!" as i passed the waiting room i see the mother of the 13 y.o. boy head injury pt sitting in the waiting room crying. i realize that no one had even gone out to tell her if her son was alive or dead. and then it happened, a lightning bolt of guilt hit me! how arrogent i am to think that this day was about me. i did not loose a child! i did not have a child laying in the picu fighting for his life. what a schmuck i am! i promised myself then and there that i would never, repeat, never complain about how hard my day was. i was weak with sorrow as to how self absorbed i had been. i walked into the waiting room and talked to that mother for two hours. when i left i reflected on my life and how good i have it. so now, if i am not in charge and i hear the charge nurse say, "sorry about your assignment!" i just reply, " it's only 12 hrs out of my perfect life, that is not my child laying there. this is going to be a good day." :zzzzz
    turnforthenurseRN, Elvish, HazelLPN, and 8 others like this.
  8. 0
    Quote from isel4u
    i think there is a time when we all forget why we do what we do and need a little reminder! here is my reminder.
    christmas 2003, picu, recieved two easy pt's when i came on. at 11:00 i was told that i was moving both of my pt's to peds and getting a 13 y.o. codeing pt from outlieing hosp. she roled through the door with the parametic riding on top of her performing cpr. this code lasted until 1530. i came out and said that i was going to get something to eat and would record my code when i returned. while i was eating in the break room, the charge nurse enters and tells me that i am getting a 13 y.o. male head injury from the e.r. just great, i thought. what a christmas! well the 13 y.o. head injury arrived from the e.r. accompanied by mother, the neurologiest, and the e.r. nurse. i get a short report and hear the neuro tell the mother that he was going to put in a central line, art line and a icp bolt, she would need to sign the consents and wait in the waiting room. well needless to say, i did not get home to have christmas dinner with my wife and kids. by the time that i got the lines and bolt in and recorded the 4 hr code, it was 2200. as i was walking out i was muttering to myself, "what a @#*$ day i have had, and on christmas day to top it off!!!" as i passed the waiting room i see the mother of the 13 y.o. boy head injury pt sitting in the waiting room crying. i realize that no one had even gone out to tell her if her son was alive or dead. and then it happened, a lightning bolt of guilt hit me! how arrogent i am to think that this day was about me. i did not loose a child! i did not have a child laying in the picu fighting for his life. what a schmuck i am! i promised myself then and there that i would never, repeat, never complain about how hard my day was. i was weak with sorrow as to how self absorbed i had been. i walked into the waiting room and talked to that mother for two hours. when i left i reflected on my life and how good i have it. so now, if i am not in charge and i hear the charge nurse say, "sorry about your assignment!" i just reply, " it's only 12 hrs out of my perfect life, that is not my child laying there. this is going to be a good day." :zzzzz
    i hear you. i find myself remembering this often.
  9. 0
    Wow - you guys are so awesome! I'm so proud to be a nurse. You guys do so much for these little kids - thank you.
  10. 2
    I don't think it's what we DO, it's who we ARE. Don't you think?

    Nothing humbles me so much as when a parent says to me, "I'm so glad you're here tonight. I haven't slept in my own bed since the last time you worked and I'm going home now." It just recently occurred to me that when I work nights I often am assigned to the child whose parents aren't taking care of themselves. Last week I was assigned an adolescent with multiple health problems whose parents were freaked out by her admission to our unit (with good reason). She's deaf and they were worried about how I would communicate with her if she woke up. They hadn't left the hospital in more than four days and had no plans to leave that night either. Our assignments are usually 1:1. especially for patients like this girl and I reassured them that their daughter would not be left alone at any time all night. I always include a little reminder about self-care when I outline my plan for the shift to the parents so that they can feel they have permission and approval to take some time out. I remind them that when the child starts getting better, they're going to be in great demand so they should take advantage of the 1:1 nursing to try and get some sleep so they can recharge their batteries. And I promise to call if anything changes that they should know about right away.

    Mom wanted to know what I'd do if her daughter woke up and none of them were there, and I told her that I had some experience with deaf individuals, although I don't know ASL. I showed her how I would pantomime certain things, and she showed me some simple signs then told me she was going to visit with the extended family in the waiting room. Then she'd be back for a few minutes before going to try and sleep in the parent room adjacent to the unit.

    Dad came in a few minutes later with two other men; he was red-eyed, pale, drawn and twitchy and I was alarmed. He was tearful and anxious and really distraught. I gave him my spiel, answered his questions and repositioned her in such a way that he felt more comfortable then gave him time to talk to her, despite the fact that her GCS was 5. After the other two men left (both of them physicians and both trying to hide the bad prognosis they knew this girl had) and were replaced by the child's siblings, I asked the dad when he'd last slept. He couldn't remember. I asked him what he thought would happen when his daughter woke up and saw him looking like that. "How do you think she's going to feel when she sees your red eyes, your pale face with all those whiskers on it, sees you crying and shaking? I think she's going to be frightened because we can't really explain to her how sick she has been and how worried you've been. But if she wakes up and sees you with clear eyes, looking rested and calm, she'll be happy to be awake. Then we can take whatever time it takes to help her understand what has been happening."

    He looked at me for a moment and said, "I never thought of it that way. You're right. I don't want her to be any more scared than she already is. I'm going to take the other kids home and come back in the morning." He stayed a few more minutes and as they were leaving, the oldest daughter mouthed a "thank you" as she passed me. Neither parent returned to the bedside that night, and by morning things were looking a little better for the girl. I don't know the eventual outcome because I've been home sick for my last two shifts.

    It's finally becoming obvious to me that parents really trust me with their precious children and appreciate that I care about their wellbeing too. In peds we never just care for a child, we care for the whole family and that's about the most important thing we have to remember. Every time I am successful in encouraging a parent to get some sleep or take a walk, or have something to eat without feeling guilty or neglectful, it's a good day.
    RNDreamer and DDRN4me like this.
  11. 0
    Jan, you are so right. I dont just work as a pedi nurse; it is part of who i am; it is in my soul.
    the most rewarding thing a parent can do is to leave a child entrusted to my care; and knowing that they trust me with what is most precious in their life humbles me.
    I have had a few wonderful kids touch my life; and I am so blessed for being part of theirs. They are what keeps me going when life gets rough!!
    thanks for helping us all remember! mary
  12. 1
    we do multiple heart transplants where i am. i had a ten year old boy post transplant. i came in got report, once he woke up we extubated him and the first words that came out of his mouth were "did i get my heart?". it was so incredible to tell him yes as the tears rolled down my cheeks. i also have a special girl i have been caring for for the last year. she has been through hell but she is still fighting. everytime she smiles and signs i love you to me it melts my heart. people always ask me how do i do what i do, and i always say how could i not?!? every patient i care for touches my heart in one way or another, as well as most of their families. i feel lucky that i can touch their lives as well. bless you all and all that you do. :heartbeat
    RNDreamer likes this.
  13. 2
    last week i helped another nurse obtain iv access on a tiny 2 year old with sad blue eyes. she had been abused and removed from her family. she was horrible to access, i must have tried several times before i finally got it. she was such an angel the entire time. and when we were done, she was taped securely and cleaned up, know what she did? jumped in my arms, wrapped her precious arms around my neck, and snuggled up to my chest. yeah, i guess they don't all think were evil people with big ouchie needles!
    RNDreamer and MachoNurse like this.


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