Quote from RainDreamer
Hiya Marla, Roy, and Leslie
Ah yes, the weekend. What I'll do about it is..... study
I have a careplan due on Mon. and a big test on Tues.
And I'm so far behind because I was real sick again this week, I'd been sick the last 4 weeks(!), thought it was getting better.... but then the beginning of this week it just got worse. Called into the school clinic and apparently something is going around school because the clinic was booked full and I wouldn't be able to get an appointment until the 22nd. I really felt like if I waited until then I would die, it really felt like it. I ached all over, I had a fever, and even though I hadn't been able to eat much the past few weeks, now I wasn't able to keep liquids down either. Finally just went into the ER and got fluids. So the last 4 weeks I've had the flu, I didn't even realize it was the flu.... but it just go so bad this last week because I was so dehydrated. Sheesh, I felt dumb for not knowing, but I haven't had the flu since I was in grade school. I'm feeling better though, but still all I wanna do is sleep. I can sleep all night and still need a few naps
So this weekend, lots of catch up to do, lots of reading.
And I wanted to thank you all for your kind words and help after I posted about my bad clinical experience with that burn victim. I ended up calling my instructor and we talked about it for a while, she's really great .... then she met with my clinical group again a couple days later and we all talked about it again and told us we can always go to the counseling services at the University if we feel we need to. It just helped to talk with them all about it, because they were feeling the same as what I was. Thanks again for all your encouragement!
Don't ever hesitate to seek 'debriefing' after a traumatic patient situation, even if it's as informal as a chat with a colleague or as serious as a few therapy sessions. In the course of a nursing career, you will encounter many such situations, and some are much tougher to get past than others; yes, we have to maintain our professionalism, but trying to hold in all the pain and human tragedy we see can ultimately lead to burnout, depression, even suicidal ideation. I'm glad to see that you took the initiative and spoke with your instructor of this incredibly sad and tragic event, as well as posting here; you'll never forget what happened, but it sounds like you're processing it and learning from it so you can move on to the next thing.
And you know, some aspects of nursing NEVER get any easier, no matter how often you witness or participate in them. About six months ago another nurse and I had to code a 42-year-old man, who up until that morning had had no idea whatsoever that he had the same heart condition that had killed both his father (at age 50) and his brother (at age 36). He was married, had four kids ranging in age from 8 to 16, and as his color changed from pink to pale white to near purple, he became anxious and frightened, and he begged us not to let him die.......even as we called the code, before he faded into unconsciousness, he was crying for his wife and his children, and hanging onto Judy and me for dear life........We'd get a rhythm for a few minutes, then he'd lapse back into V-tach or V-fib. We lost him for good an hour and a half after his first run of V-tach........none of us could believe it. He'd been admitted only that morning for chest pain and SOB, and he was dead before the sun set in the West that evening.
Even with years of experience under my belt, this one hit me like a ton of bricks, and indeed was hard on every single person who worked on him. For one thing, we'd just lost a co-worker (who was the same age as this pt.) to cancer and were still reeling from that loss; for another, he was close to many of us in age; and of course, the thing that will haunt me forever was the look of absolute terror in his eyes as the knowledge of what was about to happen struck him. He knew
he was going to die. So did we, and we knew that he knew, and he knew that we knew........and there wasn't a thing we could do about it, other than flog his dying heart for almost 90 minutes.
Well, thankfully our supervisors and the hospital chaplain decided to hold a debriefing session a few days after this. Some of us were having trouble sleeping; others, like Judy and me, felt guilty even though we knew, clinically, that the battle for this patient's life was over before it had ever begun. That debriefing session allowed us to vent, to express our frustration and anger and fear, and it was the beginning of healing because we were encouraged to understand that we really had
done everything humanly possible for this man, that the family knew we'd done our best, and that the only way he'd have survived was if God Himself had been at the bedside defibrillating him.
The moral of the story is: It's normal to be upset, to cry, even to be horrified when confronted with tragedy. If you ever get to the point where you can look at human suffering and not be bothered by it, then you'd better get out of this business because there's no room for nurses who can't feel. You don't get to lose control and run down the hall screaming, but there's nothing wrong with honest human emotion, and it's good to share that with others who have been through those experiences.