From the NICU after Norwood procedure to begin palliating her single ventricle, little E went home on the ventilator at six months of age- trach, g-tube, fairly unstable for a home vent kiddo. Massive pulmonary hypertension forced an early Glenn procedure- and it was touch and go for a good long while. Finally had her Fontan, weaned off the vent and decannulated.
Today, her parents texted me a picture of her first day of kindergarten- a smiling, happy six-year old. Who rode the bus to school. Like every other kid in town.
I cried tears of joy...
Aug 15, '14
It seems so often that there are just stories of tragedy with PICU (the last nurse-written essay compilation I read started and ended with tragic stories -- cried the whole way through) that I am so glad you shared this! I am just a student who is just barely taking a peek at PICU and finding that it may be too emotionally difficult but I bet that, even though this was 6 years ago, this must make all that pain for everyone - especially little E -- worth it.
Aug 15, '14
We just had a visit from a patient we had actually given up on months ago. She's older than our usual population and has a chronic neurologic disorder that severely impacts her life. She was near death on our unit for a very long time and barely aware she was even still alive. We all questioned what we were doing and if it really was in her best interest to continue on what seemed at the time to be a futile pursuit. She had several surgeries to try to fix her brain. But once she began to recover, she astonished everyone by waking up completely. Once her trach was removed she started talking in complete sentences, recognizing nurses who had barely been involved with her and calling them by name. When she visited recently she's made so much progress that she is now allowed diet as tolerated, and standing on a tilt table for brief periods. She makes jokes about her very avant-garde haircut and she's excited to see the possibility of going home sooner than any of us would have thought. She's truly a miracle. The mood on the unit after her visit was so buoyant, it was like everyone had forgotten how crazy the day had been to that point. That's what keeps us in this job.... seeing our successes so clearly.
Aug 28, '14
Thank you so much for this. We get a run of soul-crushing tragedy, and then we get a good run, and then there's months like the last few where it just seems to be so numbingly pointlesssometimes. Thanks for reminding me that almost every graduate is a kid who grows up to be just that - a normal kid - and barely remembers us. That's why we do this.
Got a Facebook message from a mom not too long ago with a picture of one of our grads. It just said - "Thanks!"
How does anybody not love this job? I just need to remember that during the rough patches.
Sep 21, '15
This reminds me of a story of a friend of mine who was in a bad car accident around 20 years ago. She had a stay in their PICU for quite some time. The other week she was back at the same hospital for clinicals, and deciding to see if the nurse who cared for her was still there, and she was!!! And they both remembered each other! She said it was a great moment for both of them
Sep 21, '15
I reconnected with one of the nurses who had cared for my son (and me!) in the PICU 18 years after he had been discharged. We ran into each other at AACN's NTI in Atlanta back in 2007. She didn't know that I'd gone back to school and was quite shocked to recognize me as the PICU nurse standing in front of her. I told her that I was there at NTI (and working in a high-acuity PICU) because of her, and she cried. She now lives about 100 miles from me and we see each other a couple of times a year. She knows she's remembered for not only her skill but for her compassionate caring.