Thursday, February 23, 2006

A More Serious Post

I went in extra on Monday night because I was needed. I may be an asshole, but I am sympathetic to my fellow nightshifters when it comes to working short. So, I went in for the last 8 hours of the shift. As I entered the unit, all hell was breaking loose. Some naked black woman with an NG tube hanging out of her nose was screaming the song "God Bless America", and ranting about fighting for her freedom of religion. Yes, it is safe to say she had some mental issues.

The resident, who couldn't find her ass with her own two hands, was watching the drama unfold, not certain as to what to do. The police were called to help restrain the patient as I was barking orders to the resident. The police arrived and the patient began singing about how we called the "Po-Po" on her. Four restraints, and a shitload of Haldol later, all was quiet on the western front.

Ahhh, the joys of nursing.

Paul also worked that night, but was so busy running his ass off that he didn't have a chance to come see me. I talked with him the next morning, observing he was physically and emotionally drained. I had heard there was a pediatric code, but not aware of the outcome. Pediatric codes are ugly and frightening. This one was on 9 year old who was carried in unresponsive by the dad. The outlook was bleak.

It wasn't until 2 days later that I learned that I knew the dad. A quiet, soft-spoken man from church who never said a negative thing about anyone. I learned that today, the child would most likely be taken off life support.

I've been in the medical field in one capacity or another since I finished high school...which is to say a long time. I've witnessed death, life, a man running around in an orange sequined thong...but I have never had to watch a child die. I made the choice to remove life support from my own father when I was 18. I cannot fathom what it would be like to have to do it to your own child. I don't even want to try. Just thinking about it almost makes a part of me die inside...and I don't even have kids.

I've been thinking about this all day today. It's funny how when you work in a hospital, you hear about patients...and hearing about what is going on with them physically, you can accurately say, "they are going to die" without missing a beat. It never occurs to anyone that a miracle may happen and the person just might pull through. On one side, the spiritual part, I know that miracles do happen. On the other, the more pragmatic, scientific part...I know that there is no hope for this child, and she will die.

It's hard for me to figure out which is stronger even though I know what the obvious answer should be.

1 comment:

tales north said...

Hi, sorry to hear about that man's daughter. Having kids of my own I can't even begin to imagine how terrible that would be. My younger sister is going through school right now in Vancouver to become an RN and I pray that she doens't have to deal with too many kids in her career.