Saturday, September 18, 2010

Another Post Where I Talk About Nursing School

hey my loves
you caught me at a bad time
I don't make it a habit to blog when I am in a bad mood but i feel like I need to get this out.

I hate my pediatric rotation.
So much so that when I got home yesterday afternoon, I was wondering if it was too late to call the dean of my program and tell her that I quit. That I just cannot handle it.

I was shadowing a nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) on Friday. One of her patients was a young boy who had osteomylitis (an infection of the bones) of the shoulder and hip and pneumonia who was on a ventilator. They couldn't keep the poor thing sedated despite him being on maxed out doses of pentobarbital, versed, fentanyl, and ketamine. He kept waking up and trying to fight the ventilator so they had his hands restrained so he wouldn't pull the tubes out.
Jesus. There were so many tubes. The one down his throat to help him breath and a nasogastric (one down his nose that runs to his stomach) so he could be fed. The Foley catheter that was in place so that he wouldn't have to be rolled over and changed so often. Two chest tubes to suction out the crap from his lungs. A PICC (peripherally inserted central catheter)line because he is going to have to be on long term antibiotic therapy as well as 2 lines placed in his femoral arteries.
All I could do was stand there and stroke his hair and tell him that it would be okay while he looked up at me with these big brown puppy-dog eyes that would flutter closed when the nurse pushed yet another dose of whatever sedation was ordered.
I felt so helpless.
He had never been sick before, never been in the hospital. A week ago, he was playing football and video games and going to school with his friends. Now he is hooked up to a machine breathing for him.

My professor came to check on me after about 3 hours of being on the unit. She asked if I was okay and I shuck my head no and that I needed to step out for a moment. She lead me out of the PICU and to a bathroom where I cried and cried and cried.
I couldn't go back.
She understood and let me stay on one of the other pediatric units until it was time to go home (nearly 6 hours later).

God and I have a strained relationship but I prayed yesterday.
I prayed that this little boy, this little 8 year old who has never done anything wrong and had never really lived doesn't remember any of this when he gets out of here.
I prayed he doesn't remember the tubes or the pain or the needles.
He'll have the scars forever but, God, please don't let him remember how much it all hurt.

I feel like I failed him.
That I wasn't strong enough to stay there with him and comfort him.

I failed.

4 comments:

CaLLie.ANN said...

Estelle,
You did a lovely job. I give you mad props for even stroking his hair and being there for him. Sometimes some people forget that little things like the simple touch can be healing.

Don't give up, toots.
We need more nurses like you.

SushiiStarrs said...

Jesus, I can't even imagine how you felt. I give you props for lasting as long as you did. It takes a strong person, and being a nurse I hope to god you never lose those emotions. Good luck! You did just fine!

Steven Lafitte said...

My mother has been a RN in the Burn Unit/Trauma Center over 25 years now.

There have been countless times she'd come home and be upset over things such as these. If a patient was hurting she felt responsible, if they died even more so.

I think because in the back of her mind she always feels that she herself could have done more. I know over time you start to come to the realization that sometimes all you can do is all you can do.

Even then, after 25 years...she still feels responsible.

And the fact that someone such as yourself "cares" enough says a lot. That's the reason you get into Nursing in the first place is because you give a damn.

I have never been a religious person, but I also tend to do what could be amounted to as "prayer" when I have visited my mother in her unit, and seen terrible burned children.

I've had the honor and privilege to perform card magic for some of them when circumstances allowed it.

I'm not David Blane or Copperfield, or Criss Angel for that matter. Far from it...but to be able to take a child's mind off their pain, or make them not be afraid if for a few moments is one of life's small miracles.

Fighting back tears while trying to comfort them was very difficult for me, but most of them have more strength and courage than most of us will ever know.

You were there, and showed him kindness and that he was not alone, even in his pain...you were there.

That child may forget the pain, but they'll never forget you.

Zazzy Episodes said...

What a touching story. I worry about these moments I'll have when I start my clinicals in these areas, because I have two children and I would totally think of them and break down and cry too. You did the right thing showing empathy and kindness and maybe that unit isn't where you want to end up, but it is sad and hopefully God did take care of him and take those painful moments out of his memory.