I've been able to do more since my last post. But yesterday was a confirmation of the reason I work, an attestation to the cluelessness that first led me to Dean Read's office three years ago to switch from biology pre-med to nursing. Three years ago, on the first day of classes, I chose to switch into nursing. It was a spur of the moment decision and I can honestly say I decided within less than a minute of the thought appearing in my head for the first time. I was walking on campus when the Cushing Connell School of Nursing building came into sight: "Nursing would be nice." And so it happened. A switch; a new schedule; me rushing to my first class which happened to be taking place as I was getting my new schedule together in her office.
It might be premature to say and I might not even be right, but I truly believe yesterday was the confirmation as to why I decided nursing so easily in the first place.
It was nearing the end of my shift with fifteen minutes left. It was an uneventful morning - the most I had done was remove an IV and help a patient on and off a commode. I was getting ready to check my emails for the last time before clocking out. Suddenly, I noticed all the nurses around me had disappeared and swarmed towards the patient room to my left. I heard a doctor saying (pay attention to this: saying) words like "dopamine" and "now". So I knew what that meant: cardiac arrest.
For the sake of HIPAA, I'll keep things short and simple. The patient, who I'll call X, had gone into bradycardic arrest. Her heart rate and blood pressure had dropped pretty significantly and no one had yet understood the cause of her problems. The scene was nothing I had witnessed before. It was the first time I'd ever seen anything like that. I didn't want to get in the way, but at the same time, I undesrtoof I'd probably never get another experience like this before I (hopefully) became a "real" nurse (a.k.a. a registered nurse), or the chances were highly unlikely. But then again, I'd done post-mortem care on my very first day of clinical. So who knew? But really, the chances were unlikely.
When the coast was clear and the entrance was a little open, I wiggled myself swiftly to the corner of the room and watched. Quickly, the doctor involved me in the scene. In honesty, I didn't do much. I pressed the blood pressure button. But in my defense, if it was a cardiac arrest, knowing the blood pressure was important. So part of me would like to think I played an almost crucial role in her care.
I've never had so many charged thoughts and emotions flowing through me in such a limited amount of time. For the sake of organization and making sense of the frenzy as best as I can, I'll have to describe the scenario person by person. Everything just caught hold of me at once and this was the best way I could get my head straight and my mind wrapped around things:
Everyone was smiling after and I was happy to be involved in the smiling. I really felt like I was part of a picture in a brochure.
I called my aunt after and cried while telling her about the excitement of working a job that really matters, of coming so close to touching death. If it weren't for the people there - the doctor, the nurses - she probably would have passed. The rush is still in me a bit, like a bruit in a fistula you hear while listening with your stethoscope. Not to the same extent or grabity. But a nice dose of it, a nice spark, still flares up when I think of that moment.
I'm so happy I like the job I'm doing.