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The power in caring

September 14, 2007

Today as I struggled to understand the totally garbled and slow speech of my post-CVA patient (she had a stroke, #2) I realized how powerful my job will be and how grateful I am to be able to do that for people. She had to go and have a PEG tube inserted and I GOT TO WATCH THE WHOLE THING. Seriously. So gross. Don’t ever get one. They don’t make an incision and pop it in, they go in down your gullet and POP the thing through your stomach out. Yes. Crazy but true.

It was amazing. And you are awake when they do this. They put a camera down her throat into her stomach or intestines. I am not sure which. She is very obese and it was hard to tell from the exterior of her body where they were putting it and WHO knows what I was looking at on the TV screen.

Before the excitement though she was very scared. She was crying and couldn’t really talk and was drooling and crying and so sad. All alone. Her kids were going to be there later. I talked to her daughter in law and she was lovely. She told me her MIL was very scared. So I knew. I held her hand. I touched her face. I went with her and stayed with her. I saw her when she came back up to her room and held her hand again and washed her face with a cool cloth because she was hot. As I wiped her face she sighed with pleasure and relief and I felt so proud and lucky to be able to do that for someone. She was so very scared and rightly so because the procedure is NUTS and you are only sedated and not asleep.

It was a such a garble of events and so intense. What a crazy day and I feel so overwhelmed.

OH and I also got to see a man with a drain in his brain. Yes. His brain. He has had it for 3 weeks and they can’t figure out what is wrong other than he has very high BP and that probably caused his brain bleed. He is only 42 and by the pictures on his wall in ICU has a lovely family and beautiful children. He is handsome and young and fit. But he has a tube in his brain that is draining off excessive CSF and without that the fluid would crush his brain.

It is all so intense and exciting.

I am going to love my job.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. Beth permalink
    September 14, 2007 2:10 pm

    In my book, nurses are the biggest heroes! During a very horrible hospitalization, the nurses were what got me through, doing exactly the kinds of stuff you describe above. And just so you know, no, your patients will never forget such kindnesses.

    Go nurses! (And nurses in training!)

  2. September 14, 2007 3:15 pm

    Damn….it DOES sound intense. I don’t think I could do it.

  3. September 14, 2007 6:07 pm

    It’s true, the kindnesses of nurses, the touch on the brow, the holding of the hand, the softly spoken reassurances is what we patients in distress hold onto to keep us steady, keep us for drowning. It’s honorable work. And necessary.

  4. September 15, 2007 12:33 am

    Wow, the PEG tube sounds awful.
    I would be terrified.

  5. September 15, 2007 11:09 pm

    Yikes, wow, holy schmolie… I bet her family was glad to know you were taking such good care of her.

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