23 January 2010

live and let die

 i've been picking up more hours at my old hospital. the one i worked at as a new nurse. the one i learned how to start iv's in any vein including the neck, knuckle, and toe. the one that i saw my first "code" aka dead person we are trying to bring back to life. the one that i saw my first dead baby. she was three months old, the prettiest little hispanic baby you've ever seen. full head of thick dark hair. long black eyelashes. beautiful. dead. we couldn't save her. the mother couldn't bring herself to hold the baby let alone even go into the room. i stayed with the lifeless baby in my arms...i just couldn't leave the tiny body alone in the big dark room. i held her until it was time for her to go the morgue. many experiences i've had at this hospital are imprinted into my mind and spirit never to leave me.

the other day i was at this hospital on my lunch break. (i like to step off the floor and get away for 30 mins to take a deep breath and re-group when i can.) in the cafeteria there is a juke-box. i love juke-boxes. it reminds of the pizza hut in fallon. good memories. anyway, i found and played the song live and let die. great song.

i have quite the commute from work to home. 40 minutes on a good day. my stereo in the car is out. these two factors leave me plenty of time to ponder.

this hospital i've been at lately has an incredibly high level of acuity as i'm sure you've already presumed. it's not uncommon to participate in more than two codes per shift and have three other patients that are close to coding. this particular day that i played the song i had really sick patients.

i guess my point to all this rambling is this: are you prepared to live? are you prepared to die? more, are you prepared to see your loved ones die? are you helping your loved ones live? what extent would you want me to work on saving your life if it came down to it? i have a friend that has told me multiple times to save him at all costs. really, you want to live on a ventilator that breathes for you for the rest of your life?

for the record: if i'm brain dead let me go. if i'm on a vent longer than one month without improvment let me go. if my legs were severed off and i'll never Zumba again save me.
some advice: don't take life for granted. it can be gone in an instant. i see it daily when i'm at work. an instant.
more advice: live and let die. if your grandpa is dying and he is 90 and lived a good life, let him go and don't make a scene. if it's your spouse and he's young and healthy, then you can make a scene while i'm  working on saving his life.
remember: death is a part of this life. live great until it comes then go gracefully.

p.s. excuse the randomness. written after 11 hours of helping heal sicko's at the hospital.
p.s. at some point, hopefully soon, i will post of all our happenings at the end of 2009 and all the fun we've had as of late.


Sarah Peterson said...

great post. I have not dealt with hardly any death in my life. It scares me that I know there will come a time when everyone around me starts to pass.
I can't imagine holding a dead baby. I don't know if I could mentally handle things of that nature.
You have a special spirit to be able to help people the way you do. And you live life more fully then most people do! You always remind me when you are around to have fun and to love life... Really, I'm not just saying that becuase of this post!!

Amy Kay Peterson said...

Gee, This was depressing... :)

Cait and Ben said...

Seems like both of us have had some experiences that really got us thinking about life. Thank you for the thoughts, sista. I could never do what you do. Love ya.

Kristen P. said...

You live! I know you just "fell" into nursing BUT you are good at it. Only certain people can do what you do. I could never, never do it. Sickos need people like you. Death is scary but it is part of life. I still haven't decided. I'm afraid. Afraid of what I might miss, I guess. I need to live more and worry less.

Janae said...

I'm not sure I could handle all of that on a day to day. It really does take a special person to do the work that you do sweetie. Sorry that you have had some really hard days. It does make you realize how quickly it could all be over. Saddly enough we sometimes need those reminders.

eric and monica said...

i totally agree that it takes a warm and very talented person to do what you do... i can't imagine what you see and feel when you're in the ER, but I, too, believe that you're an angel for being willing to deal with it. since i've become a mom i think about death and life in a completely different way, and i have to remind myself to just live my life and stop worrying about all the horrible things that could happen to my loved ones. thanks for reminding me.

jeff said...

every since i found out you are an ER nurse my respect for you shot a mile high. it fits you. you are strong, collected, compassionate, determined, focused, and you have a gift. Few people find their gift, a fraction of those make a profession of it, and even those who do, will have a lottery's chance of being successful AND satisfied with it. So don't blow it and call in sick the day i need you...and if the MD calls it too soon pack me in your stereo-less vehicle and keep working the bag while you find another ER to transport me to. remember lazarus was three days in the tomb and he made it i expect at least that much. then you can write the amazing article in the Journal of ER nursing and win your Nobel peace prize, retire, change the CPR ratio one more time if you like, and live happily ever after the end. glad we had this talk!