Fresh Fridays: Tremendous

July 2008

All my nights here are really depressing…  I’ve completed 4 shifts so far orienting at my new job.  And so far, it’s pretty sad.

Night #1: My patient was really sick.  As it turns out, he didn’t have any family so we didn’t even know who to notify that he probably didn’t have much time left.

Night #2: Family feud… felt like a soap opera.

Night #3: “Till death do us part.”  My patient was hospitalized on their wedding day.  =(

Night #4.  A young patient who met tragedy all too soon…

But he did much better than anyone expected. I stayed at his bedside all night, and watched him go from “tragedy” to “tremendous.” Originally he was on a breathing machine, then he started to breathe on his own without the machine.  By morning, he started to wake up and communicated with me by writing.

Imagine a square hospital room with a bed in the middle, and two nurses standing on either side of it.
It looked something like this:

(me on left side)                               patient in bed                          (preceptor on right side)

Patient hands us a piece of paper and it reads:
(in shaky letters since his wrists were filled with IV’s, tubing, and soft restraints)



~ ~ ~

Reading this article, “A Patient’s Eye View of Nurses,” reminded me of my ICU experience, inspiring this repost.

12 thoughts on “Fresh Fridays: Tremendous

  1. He had elder care providers in our home the last years of their lives—MIL and Aunt. (sisters)

    They did a great job, but I know it was tough as you are finding out.

    • hahaa… tell-tale specialness..

      my old roommate used to call me “special” but it had a different connotation then. -_-

      in general i find valentines to be overrated/materialistic/consumer driven but happy belated valentines as well! may you be reminded of the greatest love of all. (ephesians 3:18)

  2. I loved reading this. Not the same, but I had many similar feelings when I worked in mental health. It was so hard, but some of the time, great things happened.

    • you worked in mental health? now that’s cool. it’s a tough field to work in.. requires so much patience, understanding, and firmness too. you are right.. sometimes great things do happen.

      i try to capture those great things, even if they are fleeting.

      • Yes, probably the fleeting moments are the ones that most need capturing, huh?

        I worked in a group home while I lived in a township of South Africa for a semester, after I graduated, I went to work in a high level of care group home for boys. In California where we are, there are levels of care, we were the highest until you got into hospitalization. It was not uncommon for the boys who were in our care to have bounced around up to 30 different placements in their lives–foster homes, other group homes, etc. I burned out, went to culinary school, then went back eventually to a different nonprofit that had group homes as well as school programs, and ran their nutrition program. Really shaped me, how I see race and privilege, how I see my country’s social services system.

        Anyways. Before I write a blog post in your comments, I’ll stop! Take care! xo

  3. was this a writing exercise on the word tremendous? 🙂 since you say that nurses are underappreciated, i’m glad every so often, someone is showing you appreciation for what you do.

  4. Oh my, so glad we all have someone like you to take care of us. Sometimes we take our lives for granted, everyone should just be a nurse every once in a while, and then there wouldn’t be so much for people to complain about!

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