Monday, July 11, 2011

The Prayer of the New Nurse

I walking into the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit... Everything replays slowly now... The tiny quiet unit hectic during morning report. I didn't want to do this but I figured I needed to see it with my own eyes. Walking down the hall I stopped one of the residents, "What room is she in?" she told me, "How is she doing?" Her eyes saddened, "Very bad actually..." I held my breath dropped my bags before entering the room. "You can do this... even if it's a bad idea." I stood at the window shocked as I saw her. I hesitated for a minute then let the air out of my lungs and pushed the door open. She was asleep yet the way she was gasping for air you would think had run a mile and then was trapped in a room with no oxygen. The way a fish looks outside the water, desperately gasping for air. Hungry for it. I was horrified, and saddened. Last time I saw her she was making jokes... now? The minute or two I stood there felt much longer. I surveyed her from head to toe. In her sleep she was gripping on the hospital bed rails as if the leverage may make breathing easier... may make living easier. Like a veil being dropped from the ceiling I could feel the weight of it all coming down. The scene now replays in slow motion. I wanted to dash out the room but as I turned to go, I turned right back and grabbed her hand, squeezed it and in the silence of my heart pleaded, "God, please..." Then I rushed out before the dark could reach me or pull me under.
"God, please..." Was all I could manage at the time... Two words... But what I meant behind them? I can't articulate what i meant because it can only be felt. Maybe on day I will find the words but right now, "God, please..." means volumes to me.
She's not going to make it... I bat away tears as I write it. I was holding on to so much hope but after today I can no longer not accept it... She is going to die... Only 16 years old... She never got to go to prom or learn how to drive... 16 and dying... I wonder if it would have as many ratings?
I went into pediatrics knowing it would be sad... Why didn't that protect me from this hurt? I guess it's like relationships. You go in accepting the risk of heart break... but is it ever really expected?
Last night I took care of a little boy who was practically in a coma the last time I cared for him a few weeks back. Last night he was joking and blowing me kisses, and playing with my hair. He even started crying when I said I was going home for the day. That fills me up with warmth... That warmth is what I need to focus on. Not the cold dark veil...
From this moment on I will be gasping for air... Hungry for life... and living every damn second of it to be a good person and do good things with my life. Loving my patients the way I do... Its really stupid. But everything I do is for them... I am too soft, I'm told from those who I have let in. I'd rather be too soft than cold and calculated. I know the burden I carry and I carry it proudly. I live my life by treating others the way I want to be treated (unless you're one of the few people I have cut off completely). Well if I was a mother I would want my nurse to know the pain I live at the prospect of losing my child. So I feel this pain... because I willingly signed up for it. I hope to kiss more booboos than shed tears of loss... That's all I can hope for. "God, please..." give me the strength, intelligence, dedication and patience to be a good nurse... A loving person... Amen.

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