As a nurse it’s difficult sometimes to care for patients who are extremely sick and not be forced to put your own life into perspective.
Just the other day there was a patient on the floor I was working on whose story really touched me. I am a float nurse, so this night I was assigned to work on the medical step down unit. This unit happens to be adjacent to the medical Intensive care unit. When the patients leave the ICU they usually are transferred to step down.
So this particular patient was a female in her late 40’s with a long time history of Rheumatoid Arthritis. Anyone who knows about this disease knows it can be debilitating and very painful.
She had come into the hospital alert and conversating. She was mobile with the assistance of a walker or sometimes a wheelchair. She lived with her mother who was her caregiver. She was admitted to the hospital to have bilateral knee replacements. According to her chart, her surgery had gone very well and the doctors were pleased with her recovery. She had stated “she hadn’t felt this good in years.” Her pain was well controlled with some of the stronger narcotics.
Well apparently her body couldn’t handle the amount of pain meds she was receiving . She ended up falling into respiratory distress and coding. They were able to revive her but she suffered some brain damage. Now she cannot talk or move. She is only able to groan when she is uncomfortable or has had an incontinent episode.
I would imagine it would be like being trapped in your own body. This woman is still so young. I just kept thinking I am forty and she is not much older than me.
When you see someone like this it just makes you so grateful for your own health. The little things that seemed pressing suddenly don’t seem so important any longer. Like stressing out over a detention slip that your child brings home or being upset over a small fender bender.
When you have all of your faculties and you can walk and talk without assistance that is a blessing. I am constantly reminded of this every time I work. Sometimes I forget so I thank God for the reminders because it is so easy to get caught up in the petty things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Tragedy can strike in the blink of an eye to any of us. That doesn’t mean we should live in fear but live each day to the fullest and always tell your loved ones how much they are loved.