2 hours into a 12-hour shift, a smiling, cheerful, and embracing patient is received into my room BIBA from home by EMS. She is positive and optimistic on what is actually facing her right now.
Intake complete. She is made comfortable and jokes and stories are shared. But, little does she understand, her oxygen saturation is 65-70% on room air. She is still smiling. I embrace her positivity and attempt to educate. She becomes frightened, but remains somewhat stoic. She smiles still.
2 hours pass, she is still smiling but no improvement. She is sure she will get through -- she questions the plan of care, reassurance is given. She smiles and embraces my hand, squeezes it tight and says, "I know I got this. I know I do. What is meant to happen will be."
1 hour passes, decisions must be made. She is unable to breathe comfortably, she knows she needs the tube, but she questions it; she begins to take our conversations into consideration. She is a fighter. Anesthesia and RT is at the bedside. I am by her side, donned in PPE, appearing as a stranger but yet feeling like the only one who knows her well.
Her request, while anesthesia is at the head of the bed, vent at the bedside; "I just want to take to my children." I stop, despite the urgency, pick up the room telephone, dial the number -- instantly her children are there. Her embracing smile has returned. She grasps my hand tight. She relaxes her muscles and looks me in my eyes and the glimmer shines through; her positivity hasn't left.
She nods as I tell her "everything will be okay, I'm here by your side." She smiles one last time and whispers, "I know I got this. It will all be alright. Bless you!"