Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Heavy Heart

Last Tuesday marked our first day in the pediatric unit. It was nothing like I had expected. I was placed at a sub acute facility but it is more than that, it is a home to each patient. A school bus comes and picks up just a few for class. The rest are, and I hate to use this term, in a vegetative state. Why? Some are from birth defects or genetics, but others are preventable childhood accidents. I left that afternoon with a very heavy heart. Here are a few reasons why:
  • As I looked at each child, I couldn't help but be reminded what they were missing out on. Here they were, hooked up to ventilators and restricted to their beds, children who should be learning to shoot a baskteball, ties their shoes, snuggling up to read a story, hugging their parents goodnight, and dreaming big for their future. But instead, they lay there, and their parents slowly stop coming to provide care and love that they so desperately need.
  • For some of them, their condition was uncontrollable. They were born with severe handicaps that are incurable. Yet, aside from that, they are children....sweet, loving children of the Lord. One girl who was 17 years old but had the body of my 4 yr old niece would turn her head to the sound of my voice. I have no idea what she could comprehend but she would look at me with these big, brown eyes and a smile would cover her face briefly, lighting her entire face up, and than it would dissapear and she would return to how she was. Some patient's faces stay with me forever....her smile is engraved in my heart.
  • My patient was a 4 year old girl, admitted to this facility when she was just under 2. She had been in her stroller out for a walk with her mom when her mom stepped off the curbed to cross the street. A car came around the corner and hit the stroller, leaving her with multiple hematomas in her brain and impairing her neurologic status forever. There were pictures covering the board in her room of her as a toddler. The day she was born. Taking her first steps. It was hard to look at those and than see her helpless & confined to a bed. I don't know if she could hear or understand me, but I stroked her head and talked to her. I wanted to read her a story but her parents didn't leave anything in her room for her. She has a problem with her thermoregulation from the accident. I had to swaddle her like an infant...adding about 5 blankets and two hats on top of that. She was a precious little angel. So tiny and fragile. But you could see everything through her eyes. Yet you could also see how lost she was.
  • Another patient I worked with was 4 years old as well, also living a normal toddler hood. However, she ate a hotdog that was not cut in half ( yes, you need to cut the first piece you cut in half) and it lodge in her throat, cut off the oxygen supply to her brain, and now she is braindead. Her childhood lost.
  • The nurses did not seem to truly care. I don't know if they are just so removed from everything or too relaxed at the facility. But, they didn't do much and it really bothered me.No matter what state of alertness your patient is in, absolute care and compassion should always be provdied.
I left the facility that afternoon to find myself in bumper to bumper traffic. I took this time to pray for each one of my twelve nieces and nephes. For their safety, their health, that they dream big and that they may expereince every joy that life brings them. This clinical is causing me to reconsider working in pediatrics. I can already see how I may struggle with becoming to attached to each patient. I had a friend tell me that if I thought this was hard I would never make it in peds oncology. I disagree though. In peds oncology not every patient passes away as most people think. But those kids have a fight in them, a will to live, and a hope that is greater than I will ever know. They are able to still live a somewhat normal childhood amongst all their treatments and hospital stays. Regardless though, I will be committing this to prayer that the Lord will lead and guide me to the area of nursing He can best use my strengths & gifts. Whether it be pediatrics, adult oncology, NICU, or L&D, my prayer is that I am able to follow the Lord's plan and reach out to offer love and compassion to each patient who comes along my way.

Go hug the little ones in your life. Squeeze them and tell them you love them. Life is just too short not too.

1 comment:

  1. Emma- I am a little behind on reading, but let me tell you- this post moved me to tears. I literally have goosebumps. It is very sad that people involved in these public service jobs do not have the heart to truly treat this as a service. Yes, I do not know what they are thinking- but long story short- God has given you that servants heart. You are a blessing and will continue to be a blessing in your profession.