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Just needed to get this off my chest.

Specializes in ER, Peds, Charge RN.

Bottom line is this: my job is tough. I love it, I can't imagine doing anything else.... but I'm having a hard time.

Two people had heart attacks, and we saved them both. One was dead when she came in, and we got her back. The other was (barely) alive when he hit the door. Right as we get him on the cardiac cath table, he codes. We get him back too.

And then comes the tragedy. Then a kid comes in and we can't save him. I had to hold his mother's hand while she watched everyone try. I had to explain to her why his chest looked caved in when we did compressions, and why there was blood coming out of his endotracheal tube. I gave her tissues when she cried, and I had to tell her that nothing we were doing was working. The kid was 15. He had asthma. That's it. Just asthma.

I take it personally every time someone isn't saved.... and I shouldn't, because if I do, I won't last long. The strange thing is.... It bothers me more every time. Most say that you get more numb every time. I think it hurts me more with each one.

I don't know why I can save a 95 year old woman, but not a kid. I don't know why the people who are evil get to go on and abuse others, while the nice guys get cancer. People say when I get to heaven, I'll be able to ask God why. I can tell you right now, whatever answer he gives isn't going to be good enough. I know life isn't fair, but Jesus Christ...... it was just asthma.

I have to work my arse off every day to save people that don't want to be saved. I take care of drug abusers, overdoses, gang violence, domestic abuse.... but I can't save the kid with asthma. Just asthma.

I could have lived my whole life without hearing the sorrow and hopelessness in that mother's cries. It hurts more every time. Then, after all I went through, I had to go to the next room and get the lawyer patient a cup of coffee. And he was pissed because it took me so long. I broke the rules. I told him that one of my pediatric patients had just died an untimely death, and I was in the next room doing everything I could to save his life, and I'm sorry if his coffee was lower on my priority list than a dying child.

He shut up.

Two things come to mind reading your post.

One, you seem to have the heart and mind for the job. For that your patients and co workers will be thankful and blessed.

Two, that was a small snapshot of life. Hang in there, gonna get worse, and thankfully, much more nicer as your days face you.

Being a retired police officer, I have my fill of lawyers who are arrogant. Not all are so however, but thank goodness we have more arrogant docs to fill that void.

Oh, I had a pursuit that I had cancelled after ten minutes. The chumps decided to keep on running and 6 mins later, a total of 5 went to the coroners office.

That was a strange snapshot of a day for me in 1979. Not making light of your day but man, we sure can see some stuff out there :)

UM Review RN, ASN, RN

Specializes in Utilization Management.

Bottom line is this: my job is tough. I love it, I can't imagine doing anything else.... but I'm having a hard time.

Two people had heart attacks, and we saved them both. One was dead when she came in, and we got her back. The other was (barely) alive when he hit the door. Right as we get him on the cardiac cath table, he codes. We get him back too.

And then comes the tragedy. Then a kid comes in and we can't save him. I had to hold his mother's hand while she watched everyone try. I had to explain to her why his chest looked caved in when we did compressions, and why there was blood coming out of his endotracheal tube. I gave her tissues when she cried, and I had to tell her that nothing we were doing was working. The kid was 15. He had asthma. That's it. Just asthma.

I take it personally every time someone isn't saved.... and I shouldn't, because if I do, I won't last long. The strange thing is.... It bothers me more every time. Most say that you get more numb every time. I think it hurts me more with each one.

I don't know why I can save a 95 year old woman, but not a kid. I don't know why the people who are evil get to go on and abuse others, while the nice guys get cancer. People say when I get to heaven, I'll be able to ask God why. I can tell you right now, whatever answer he gives isn't going to be good enough. I know life isn't fair, but Jesus Christ...... it was just asthma.

I have to work my arse off every day to save people that don't want to be saved. I take care of drug abusers, overdoses, gang violence, domestic abuse.... but I can't save the kid with asthma. Just asthma.

I could have lived my whole life without hearing the sorrow and hopelessness in that mother's cries. It hurts more every time. Then, after all I went through, I had to go to the next room and get the lawyer patient a cup of coffee. And he was pissed because it took me so long. I broke the rules. I told him that one of my pediatric patients had just died an untimely death, and I was in the next room doing everything I could to save his life, and I'm sorry if his coffee was lower on my priority list than a dying child.

He shut up.

I had to deal with these questions at a very young age because I had a lot of losses in my life.

Here's my "Theory of Why". I have no idea if this will be a comfort to you but I offer it in the hopes that it might be.

This life is not all there is. The body is mortal. The soul lives on after the body dies. The person lives on after the body dies.

I fully expect to go to Heaven when I die. There I will see all of the wonderful people in my life who have gone on before me.

No more pain, no more tears, no more sadness. Even if I live to be 100, it seems like a very short time when I realize that I have more than 100 years, I have Eternity. We all do.

I truly believe that something better awaits us, that only in this short life will we bear the sorrow of losing someone we've cared for.

teeituptom, BSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU, L&D, OR.

In the ER, the thing that saves all of us, is to recognize that we are given a set of tools to work with, skills, knowledge, medicine, equipment. But the bottom line is that the final answer comes from above, thats what we really have to rely on and to understand.

also playing golf helps a lot

Use to be in pediatric ER myself. Tough way to go. Healthy boy, working out got strangled in the cords on his workout equipment. Mom went to check on him, gone, been caught in there too long. SAD... mom and dad were divorced, he was with mom at the time. Both parents were support of one another (thank goodness). We were able to offer the parents a place to be with the body privately and away from the noise. We offered a "kit" to such parents. We included a disposable camera (for last pictures, whether they developed them or not was there choice- which made it nice in case they change their mind later). There was a bracelet a heart within a heart. One was for the child and one for the parents to keep. It also included support info., etc. Many things in there to help the parents cope as best as they could. We also allow parents/family to be in the trauma room, it helps them see all the effort and not just be told that we tried everything. Most are grateful for that opportunity. (lots of argument among the care providers though)

Preemie came in with a mom who had little education and no discharge training on the machine her child was hooked to. It kept going off, and finally a neighbor went over and asked mom what was wrong. The neighbor convinced mom that baby needed assistance. Baby came in (winter time) with no hat, small blanket and a body temp of 95.9 (not good). On went the french fry lights, IV, then sternal rubs. Those worked at first, then that even started to fail. Eventually we got the poor little guy up to ICU. That was scary.

I do believe that your attempts with that young boy (and the entire team) were meant to fail. God had another plan for that soul that no amount of medical science could alter. It's hard to understand, sometimes impossible. I hope you are able to find peace and know that when God wants that life to continue, you are there doing your part to help in God's plan. All nurses are angels in that respect.:saint:

I'll keep you in my prayers.

Asthma is not just asthma. It can be very deadly. I'm sure you did everything you could. As nurses we may become used to death, but hopefully we never stop being affected by it.

Bottom line is this: my job is tough. I love it, I can't imagine doing anything else.... but I'm having a hard time.

Two people had heart attacks, and we saved them both. One was dead when she came in, and we got her back. The other was (barely) alive when he hit the door. Right as we get him on the cardiac cath table, he codes. We get him back too.

And then comes the tragedy. Then a kid comes in and we can't save him. I had to hold his mother's hand while she watched everyone try. I had to explain to her why his chest looked caved in when we did compressions, and why there was blood coming out of his endotracheal tube. I gave her tissues when she cried, and I had to tell her that nothing we were doing was working. The kid was 15. He had asthma. That's it. Just asthma.

I take it personally every time someone isn't saved.... and I shouldn't, because if I do, I won't last long. The strange thing is.... It bothers me more every time. Most say that you get more numb every time. I think it hurts me more with each one.

I don't know why I can save a 95 year old woman, but not a kid. I don't know why the people who are evil get to go on and abuse others, while the nice guys get cancer. People say when I get to heaven, I'll be able to ask God why. I can tell you right now, whatever answer he gives isn't going to be good enough. I know life isn't fair, but Jesus Christ...... it was just asthma.

I have to work my arse off every day to save people that don't want to be saved. I take care of drug abusers, overdoses, gang violence, domestic abuse.... but I can't save the kid with asthma. Just asthma.

I could have lived my whole life without hearing the sorrow and hopelessness in that mother's cries. It hurts more every time. Then, after all I went through, I had to go to the next room and get the lawyer patient a cup of coffee. And he was pissed because it took me so long. I broke the rules. I told him that one of my pediatric patients had just died an untimely death, and I was in the next room doing everything I could to save his life, and I'm sorry if his coffee was lower on my priority list than a dying child.

He shut up.

(((((((BIG HUG TO YOU))))))

(((((((BIG HUG TO YOU))))))

Hey Val, you and your team did the best you could !! This isnt the first and wont be the last. I am weeping for you, be strong, it is ok to care it makes you the nurse that you are ;-)

Like another poster said: Asthma is not JUST asthma

Perspective:

Stroke = brain attack - acute and severe can equal deadly

MI = heart attack - acute and severe can equal deadly

Asthma = lung attack - acute and severe can equal deadly

same idea, different body part.

On that aspect don't be so hard on yourself. You sound like you are perfect for the job. I have heard over and over (and now truly believe it myself) that the day you really are unaffected by events such as this, you should no longer be a nurse.

peace,

Alyssa

Dear Valerie,

I too work in the Ed and have seen the nonesense of the living and the peace of the dead. We work with the tools we have been given. The greatest one we don't have though. That being the gift of life or death. Life is ultimately unfair and death is the only sure thing. Sometimes if it is meant to be we are able to prevent it.

It helps to talk. Make sure you always are able to let go.

I remember when I was 15 and a volunteer in a hospital for the summer. I actually did it for 3 summers and loved it. I was lucky and got to do peds. It was a real eye opener for me. I was a patient the first summer too. I had asthma and was in the peds ICU on a theophylline drip. I remember a young African American boy who also came in for asthma frequently. He was about 8and He was a patient I talked to often and would play UNO or Shute and Ladders w/. If I remember correctly, he was there both during the first and second summers I was there. The last timeI saw him, he was on a vent and was brain dead. He had an asthma attack and went to the ER at a hospital closer to his home who had no peds w/ a severe asthma attack. They were unable to intubate him for quite awhile and he became hypoxic. I remember it upset me, but more than that it made me feel a little guilty and wonder why him and not me. He would be over 30 years old now. It is sad and I know you have to work through it. Sometimes a person needs a break and sometimes it is just your nature to be a feelin, caring person. I think it is great that you appreciate your patients as individuals. Sometimes what's good for them is hard on you. I hope you find peace and take a little time, even just a moment to realize how very important YOU are in the lives of so many people just because you go to work every day. I know it sounds a little corny, but it is true.

EDValerieRN, ASN, RN

Specializes in ER, Peds, Charge RN.

Guys, I know what asthma is, and does, and could cause. My daughter has asthma. The point was that the kid died so suddenly, with no other history. It was abrupt, and he hadn't had a problem like this before. To all you people with asthma: I realize your disease is serious. It wasn't the intent of my post to belittle it. I'm suprised that out of the whole post, that's what stuck out to you.

Thanks to everyone for being reassuring. I'm finding that many people say it was meant to be.... I guess I just can't accept that. A fifteen year old boy dying just isn't meant to be. It's just not.

Although I'm a Christian, and I do appreciate the fact that God has a plan for us... I would like to know how those without religion deal with these issues. I'm wondering if they have any more logic besides just trusting God.

I have to go back to work today, and for the first time in my life... I'm scared to go.

I don't know if this will help but life is finite..the worse person alive in 1800 and the kindest most saintly person alive in 1800 are both dead...the only thing left of any of us is the legacy of the heart that we leave behind

i have lost patients that had so much to live for and were so needed to finish raising their children and i have lost patients for whom dying was a release of pain and hopelessness

none of have any answers that fit all situations...but death is not the enemy..lack of quality of life is..

i hope that you continue to have the courage and heart to work...you don't know what seeds you are planting . what if that mother had lost her son and had had an uncaring nurse to whom they represented more paper work

God bless you and give you strength

CEN35

Specializes in ER, PACU, OR.

We all have those days. I have been there myself. Unfortunately, the hospitals nowdays expect all patients to be plaeased and happy with their service. All this reguardless of staffing and any other emergencies that take priority. Budget, budget, productivity, and yet they want you to run your butt off to get it done, even if it's not humanly possible.

Even though off the subject, anybody can die from asthma. I know I have it my whole life, and I think most people overlook it and dont think of it as a potentially "fatal disease".

It always hits everybody worse when its a kid though. Good luck and hope ou feel better, venting and getting input.

me:)

Although I'm a Christian, and I do appreciate the fact that God has a plan for us... I would like to know how those without religion deal with these issues. I'm wondering if they have any more logic besides just trusting God.

Valerie,

So sorry for what you, and the family, went through. Knowing asthma can be a deadly disease, and watching an otherewise healthy boy die in front of your eyes is not something anyone gets used to - nor would anyone want to think of a nurse getting 'used' to it. Thats the reason I left NICU - got too tired of watching babies die.

Afraid I have no logic to offer. I wonder about the same things, and have never been able to come up with a satisfactory reasoning. Really envy the folks with strong religious beliefs to help them in these times. It does seem to offer so much strength. I don't know what to say that would help. I have no answers - personally I do not find any solace in thinking I'll be reunited with loved ones someday, somewhere. It hurts too damn much now.

Life just isn't fair, and perhaps the only thing we can do is to try to enjoy each day to its fullest, knowing that it can end in a heartbeat. I hope you find peace. :icon_hug: :kiss

Although I'm a Christian, and I do appreciate the fact that God has a plan for us... I would like to know how those without religion deal with these issues. I'm wondering if they have any more logic besides just trusting God.

Valerie,

So sorry for what you, and the family, went through. Knowing asthma can be a deadly disease, and watching an otherewise healthy boy die in front of your eyes is not something anyone gets used to - nor would anyone want to think of a nurse getting 'used' to it. Thats the reason I left NICU - got too tired of watching babies die.

Afraid I have no logic to offer. I wonder about the same things, and have never been able to come up with a satisfactory reasoning. Really envy the folks with strong religious beliefs to help them in these times. It does seem to offer so much strength. I don't know what to say that would help. I have no answers - personally I do not find any solace in thinking I'll be reunited with loved ones someday, somewhere. It hurts too damn much now.

Life just isn't fair, and perhaps the only thing we can do is to try to enjoy each day to its fullest, knowing that it can end in a heartbeat. I hope you find peace. :icon_hug: :kiss

pricklypear

Specializes in Telemetry, ICU, Resource Pool, Dialysis.

Guys, I know what asthma is, and does, and could cause. My daughter has asthma. The point was that the kid died so suddenly, with no other history. It was abrupt, and he hadn't had a problem like this before. To all you people with asthma: I realize your disease is serious. It wasn't the intent of my post to belittle it. I'm suprised that out of the whole post, that's what stuck out to you.

Thanks to everyone for being reassuring. I'm finding that many people say it was meant to be.... I guess I just can't accept that. A fifteen year old boy dying just isn't meant to be. It's just not.

Although I'm a Christian, and I do appreciate the fact that God has a plan for us... I would like to know how those without religion deal with these issues. I'm wondering if they have any more logic besides just trusting God.

I have to go back to work today, and for the first time in my life... I'm scared to go.

Valerie - I understood what you meant. All I can say to you is thank God there are people like you willing to do the job you do. I work in an adult ICU. I see people die all the time, usually after long illnesses. I'm OK with that. But to deal with the trauma and abrupt things that come in through those ED doors takes a very special person - that person is NOT me. We do very little trauma, but what we do get is because it's so bad the pt would have zero chance taking the helicopter, and a sliver of a chance if they come to us. I've been to 1 over there, a 19y/o young man MVA. I have a 19y/o son. All I could think of the whole time was his mom asleep, about to be awaked by either the police or the phone to be told her son was dead. 10 minutes ago he was fine, now he's sliced open and bleeding all over the trauma room floor. I can't do it.

I want to tell you to keep going to work. If I, or my family ever end up in your ED, I want you there.

There are no words that can be said to comfort you. A child that dies is a tragedy. In the ER we struggle with these thoughts and feelings. We all have our ways of remembering. Reading your post I thought about my tragedies. That is what this child is, one of YOUR tragedies.

Over time it will get easier. You will always feel something when someone dies, because as nurses we care.

I understand what you meant by saying it was just asthma. Just know that someday you will think; it was just a car accident, a small bullet, a piece of torn skin, a stupid choice, or whatever else. Either way the outcome will be the same and the pain will still be there.

If I can tell you anything, it's that you should not try to forget this child, because someday it will come back and hurt all the same. Remember those good deaths too. The people that signed the DNR and the family agreed, the wife that knew her husband didn't want to live on a vent., the baby that was in pain from cancer.

It is hard to let go and forget. True, someday we will reach our point where we think we can not continue. Maybe that's the day we quit or maybe that's the day we save another person and we can go on.

Billie

ktwlpn, LPN, RN

Specializes in Med Surg, Homecare, Hospice.

I don't know why I can save a 95 year old woman, but not a kid. I don't know why the people who are evil get to go on and abuse others, while the nice guys get cancer. People say when I get to heaven, I'll be able to ask God why. I can tell you right now, whatever answer he gives isn't going to be good enough. I know life isn't fair, but Jesus Christ...... it was just asthma.

.

I firmly believe the evil ones are suffering -we can't always see how but they are.......-The ones that get out of this early are getting the prize.....

I have to go back to work today, and for the first time in my life... I'm scared to go.

Valerie,

I don't know how long you've been in the ED. But (even in short amounts of time) nurses can get burnt out. Maybe another area for a while, where death isn't as common an end result. I was in ED (peds) for a while. I have children, and I would see a two year old having a seizure and think, "my little girl is that age, what if it were her" It became very difficult for me. I also worked with nurses who didn't have the personality for children's care which made it even harder to see. I had to move on. I think knowing your limits, and taking care of yourself is being a good nurse too. Just like when you take emergency training, "don't go into a dangerous situation, we don't want to rescue the rescuer". Someone needs to take care of the caregiver.

I know where I worked, if you had a patient expire they had a support system you could go through (usually immediately during your shift when it happened). Maybe your facility offers something like that.

I hope your day back goes well.

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