Intensive Care

Wednesday, March 09, 2016 5 Comments A + a -

A Day In a Life of an Intensive Care Nurse

I normally get a open-heart-surgery patient direct from operating room. But not the other day. Evelyn, our charge nurse said a patient was coming from emergency department, already intubated.

The emergency room nurse gave me report. Before taking the patient to me in the intensive care unit, they would have to go to Cat Scan to check for stroke.  Moments later, they arrived. The patient, who I will call Mr. M, barely responded to me. I had to rub his sternum to get a weak grimacing response from his face. On the monitor, his blood pressure read 50/30—incompatible with life. I asked for a bolus of fluids to administer through his intravascular access and more pressors in addition to what he already received. Not too long after, I had three pressors going to keep his blood pressure up. Then we heard the confirmation that he had a massive stroke. It was too late for any intervention. He was already on ventilator with three pressors and his blood pressure was barely holding up. 

He had two daughters flying in from out-of-state and his family asked to keep the life support until they arrived. Meanwhile, I let numerous family members visit, even children, which were normally not allowed in the unit. Our policy was only three visitors at one time, and no children during the flu season. I broke the rule in this case and even ordered them a bereavement tray which include coffee, bottled water, and fruits. 

I did what I could to make Mr. M as comfortable as possible—turning him from side to side, giving him mouth care, pain medicine, and smalls talks even though he could barely respond with his raising of eyebrows. Close to the end of my shift, he became unresponsive. The night shift nurse took over. I hugged one of the relatives good bye.

I thought about him when I got home from work, and first thing when I woke up, still in bed. I checked his room when I went back to work the next day. The bed is already made. The room is clean, ready for the next patient. I felt a pinch on my chest.

Mr. M's body gave up around 11 pm last night even with the life support. I was not there but I could imagine the sad faces sobbing around him. I am sure he is loved. May he rest in peace.


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March 9, 2016 at 4:15:00 PM MST delete

Nobody can ever say that you spent your hours in a boring job !
And for me... i admire people in your (every caring-)profession...

Nice choice for this week, although i hope never to need a stay in a icu

Have a nice ABC-W-day / – Week
♫ M e l ☺ d y ♫ (abc-w-team)

March 9, 2016 at 4:53:00 PM MST delete

A great insight into one of your days. It is a blessing he had his family around him, and of course you.

March 9, 2016 at 8:44:00 PM MST delete

Hard work you do. Nurses rock and do so very much. Thank you for caring.

Have a blessed day. ☺

March 11, 2016 at 4:50:00 PM MST delete

Hugs, Carin. Yours is a very difficult profession, both physically and emotionally. I have several relatives who are nurses. The Mama hoped I would be a nurse, but it is a service I am only willing to do with people I love.
The View from the Top of the Ladder

March 12, 2016 at 3:17:00 AM MST delete

Very INTENSE. Not what I think I could do on a regular basis. Bless you.



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