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I’m so hot

April 16, 2012

Her grey fingertips reaching toward me smiling,I barely knew her but mumbled something about the thermostat and taking her hand my worried face over hers I ask her how she feels. Imploring she tells me she just wants to sleep, “Please give me something” clutching my warm hand with her cold grey fingers.

Her mouth is greyish too and that isn’t right. Everything about her seems wrong but she was just fine and I leave her room to attempt to ready my other patient for her treatment that requires transport off our floor. But she is in pain and won’t leave until its relieved I pause and page the doctors covering that team. Walking back into the room I tell my tech to get the vital sign machine. She is so restless, plucking at everything on her she tells me, “Have terrible pain, in my back, my back, my back…” trailing off to close her eyes still plucking at her clothes. I hold her hand and place my other on her shoulder I tell her that I am with her and push the call bell asking for another nurse to come to her room.

Her heart rate is really high as shown on the cardiac monitor and I keep looking at her knowing something is wrong. We turn up her oxygen, more nurses gather around. Coworkers fetch me things I need. We can’t read her pulse ox. Anywhere on her body. Repositioning the sensor is useless and still no reading. Finally something appears and it’s really low. Like I can’t believe she is conscious low. More people arrive and start asking her questions. She pulls on her mask of oxygen that is placed, I hold her hand and try to keep it in place. I check somethings, equipment is passed around. More people arrive. Doctors. Nurses. Specialist. Phone calls are made. Transportation is readied. Blood is taken. Wheeling down to the ICU I say good morning to a resident I like a lot. I go back to my unit and complete the paperwork needed to document a code, trying to remember what happened and read my chicken scratch that lists the times of all things that were done for her.

I feel like she isn’t going to make it. I worry all day. I read her labs that were drawn and they seem incompatible with life, yet she has not yet passed. More blood work that is worse and I wonder if anyone has called her family.

I close my eyes at my computer and remember my mother bloated, grey, gasping her heart slowly giving up.

If I had known it would be the last conversation that she would have, my patient, I would have made it count as I had wished I had made everything I had never done be magically completed as my own mother slipped away.

I hope that people love her and love each other. I hope that she isn’t frightened. I hope that she finds some friends and loved ones where ever she is now. I ask my mother, Gail and Megan to find my patient if she can be found and tell her how pretty she is, how happy they are to see her and that she isn’t alone. I hope that her family bears up well with the loss of someone they love.

I see the sunshine today, hear the birds sing watching the butterflies, bees and gnats fly in the still and humid spring day and ask them to give themselves up for her today, my patient, the dying, the dead.

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