I have 2 saves that stand out in my mind......one of them should have never happened, which makes it even more heartening....God works in a strang and wonderful way sometimes.
The first one was a 70 something Jewish woman named Minnie. Minnie would try everyone's patience to the max but I always looked forward to taking care of her as she was so comical with her wig in the bed next to her and her holding your hand patting and saying OIY! Dahlink!! It's been just awful....and then she would launch into what ever she felt was the injustice of the day. Well, the LPN I was working with came running one night to me to say that Minnie seemed to be choking and coughing up pink foam. I went running and there was Minnie, eyes rolled back, gasping with classic pink froth pouring forth out of her mouth. I quickly suctioned her as I had my LPN get me a vial of Lasix. Her lungs sounded like she was drowning....and she was starting circumoral cyanosis. The LPN came with the Lasiz and a needle and syringe and I gave Minnie 40mg IV and we applied O2 via NC.....I had the LPN take a set of vitals while I ran out and called Minnie's doc who gave me the verbal order for the Lasic I just gave and asked to have the house MD come see Minnie and to place a foley. Well, we popped that foley in and Minnie drained a virtual lake into that foley bag. That lifelss woman started to come back to life before my very eyes and as she became more aware of what was going on and as the house MD examined and gave more orders, she took my hand and patted it and said to me with a weak smile, OIY! Dahlink....I thought I would see God to night but you saved me. You are my hero. That was an overwhelming feeling....it was relief, pride and great happiness that rushed through my veins as the adrenaline wore off. There are really no words to quite capture that feeling and them you get the warm fuzzy feeling at the end of the shift knowing that you did good!
The save that should have never happened was on a woman that had a DNR but for some reason, the chart was not marked and it was not visible in the chart and was not passed along in report. She had a long standing cardiac history and my CNA came running out and says Mrs. so and so in room such and such is slumped in the chair, unresponsive and I can hardly feel a pulse. I popped open the crash cart and grabbed an Atropine bristojet as I ran into the room. There was the pt, pale, lifeless, shallow respirations and no radial pulse but the apical showed a pulse down in the 30s. She was also diaphoretic too. I popped that bristojet of Atropine and gave her the entire 1mg and POOF! she was like what happened??? and she was very greatful to us for giving her the medication as I explained that her pulse was so low that she had lost consciousness and would have died with the medication. She expressed what a close call she had and never breathed a word about a DNR to us....just continued with her thanks. We helped her into the bed, took full vital signs, had the tech come do an EKG and called her doctor and told him, who asked for the house doctor to come evaluate her. The next evening, her doc came in and was very indignant...Why had his pt been given Atropine and who did it? I said I gave it and explained why and he said do you know that I could have fired, I could have your job...How dare you "resuscitate" a DNR patient!! I said she was still breathing and she was not a DNR. He dug deep into the chart and said what do you call this, as he held out the chart and a DNR. I was dumb founded. I said that the chart was not marked and that no one was aware of the DNR and that the woman was very greatful. he disgustedly said that he knew she was greatful as she had changed her DNR to a living will, dictating that she wanted life saving medications given. He was very angry that the woman had changed things. We found out later that the woman's family was also greatful that we saved their mother and that 2 days later she was transfered out to have a pacemaker placed because she was in 3rd degree heart block. I do not regret that Atropine administration to this day and I was glad that I gave the woman's family the opportunity to see their beloved wife and mother one more time and that the pt had time to rethink the finality of a DNR.
I know that these are not any glory stories of saved CODEs because I don't have any of those where they were coded and walked out of the hospital days or weeks later..but the small saves are every bit as important to me because what would have happened with out the intervention.....the what if's always make the little things more significant and give just as much satisfaction.
HAPPY NURSE'S WEEK TO ALL!!