Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Message

Disclaimer: This picture has NOTHING to do with the post. It's probably my all-time favorite & I haven't posted it on my blog before. I didn't want to post a novel length blog entry without a picture to go with it ;)

Last week, one of my favorite patients of all time died. He wasn't old. I can't tell you his name due to federal laws, but he had suffered several strokes and had come to us for rehabilitation. He was a success story. By the time he was set to go home, he was walking & talking - AMAZING, considering he was mumbling unintelligibly upon his admission. He would sit by the nurses' station pretty much ALL the time & kept us laughing non-stop! I'll never forget the day that they yelled for me down the hall - he was choking. I was scared to death. I tried to perform the heimlich, but couldn't fit my arms around him. He went limp. I began doing abdominal thrusts like crazy. He turned gray.... by this time the room was full of people.... I kept yelling... ARE YOU SURE HE CHOKED??!!! Because to me, he looked like he was having a massive heart attack & was dying. I was devastated - I was trying desperately to help, but I felt so helpless. I remember thinking, "Lord, please help me, he can't die!" I got almost in the bed with him and mustered up every bit of strength in me for another abdominal thrust - and OMGosh! It came up enough for another nurse to get it out. A WHOLE freaking WHEAT ROLL. I cracked a rib in the process but he survived it. When he came back I told him the LPN did it. (HA!) He never knew any different.

Time came for him to go home. We seriously didn't want him to go; but he was a young fella (as far as nursing home patients go) and wanted to go home. He would tear up when he talked about leaving, because he really did become part of our extended family. I didn't have to say goodbye, because he went home on a Saturday.

A month or so later, someone at work tells me... his obituary is in the paper. I couldn't believe it - he DIED?!? NO WAY! But there it was... in black and white....

I got really frustrated. I am always nice to patients, I always try to make a difference - sometimes they yell at me, sometimes they curse me. Sometimes they'll hit me, or kick me, or spit on me. Sometimes they don't do anything. Then every once in a while - maybe, just maybe, I feel like I helped. Then THIS! I started thinking, "Why bother? Why should I even try? It's useless!" On the way home, I heard this song on the radio. It made me cry. I really think God sends us messages in the weirdest ways sometimes. And I got the message.

One hand
reaches out
and pulls a lost soul from harm,
While a thousand more
go unspoken for.
They say what good have you done
by saving just this one?
It's like whispering a prayer
in the fury of a storm.

And I hear them saying
you'll never change things!
And no matter what you do
it's still the same thing.
But it's not the world that I am changing-
I do this so
this world will know
That it will not change me.


Terri said...

Like you said sometimes God helps us to understand in strange ways. Don't ever doubt you being a nurse because you are one of the best. You have a gift from God, you are very intelligent in the medical field and you also care alot about the patient. As you should know there are not that many that do. Thank God for nurses like you.
P.S. Love that pic of Tucker, one of my favorites of him

Anonymous said...

Steph, dont ever think you are not where you need to be, because like me, it's just what we were meant to do. Sometimes we feel like, "well, what difference do I make?" but I dont have to tell you the answer to that because unfortunately where we work you know that me and you do make a difference. You are so smart, it just amazes me daily to hear you talk about stuff. 'Dang it' You are one of the chosen few. Love the pic too...:) Lori

Renee said...

Oh Steph... I'm so sorry.