Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Why I do what I do...

A very thought provoking entry on Float Pool RN's blog prompted me to post the following.

It isn't exactly something new.... but it does give a glimpse into my past.... and possibly my future.

A glimpse of why I do what I do...

I was a student nurse.

Working our first peds rotation at Children's Hospital. This rotation was always high in demand - I picked it for no other reason because I wanted to figure what peds would be like [and definitely for the instructor. I loved her to pieces - she was just completely awesome! :-)]

Up until that time - I really didn't have an idea of what I wanted to do once I got done with school, yeah? I had some vague ideas of getting into some kind of critical care at some point in time.

Anyways, this was my last week of clinicals. Up until that point, the whole experience had been a roller coaster. We had some really sick kids who coded and didn't make it and also some sick kids who got well and went home. Peds was starting to "affect me".

But my last patient was the cake.

She was in for a double ureter re-implant. I was assigned to her the day after she'd had the surgery. She was this really sweet 6 year old girl.

Absolutely the bravest person I've met in ages.

Ne'er a cry or whimper. She was absolutely delightful - never asked for pain meds unless it really really really hurt. Despite my assurances that it was ok to ask for something to make the pain go away - she never did.

We were assigned 8 hour shifts and I went about it my own way - general checks/assessments q2h, checking her tubes (2 JPs and 1 SP) and drains Qh. Meds as ordered. Gave her baths. Linen change. Played "chance" and some other games - heck, even played with her stuffed toys! LOL

The only thing she wanted to know was when could she get outta bed - because she wanted to go for a ride in the toy cart :-)! She asked me all kinds of questions, from her body, her condition, to me, my background etc.

So anyways, I go back the next day. And I'm assigned to her again (mildly surprising. I'm the only guy in our batch on the floor who has constantly been reassigned to the same patients. I didn't find out till the end of our rotation that this was done at patients request - they'd liked me and the job I did so they wanted me again!)

So I walk into the room to do morning assessments and while checking her BP I could see she was trying hard not to giggle. So I turn my back to get her meds - and I can see her squirming in her bed. So I ask her what's up.

She asks me to close my eyes, she has a surprise for me.

I close my eyes and in my hands, she places this little card. Made in green paper.

It said "To Spook

Thank you for taking good care of me


Her Mom explained that she'd spent 4 hours, painstakingly drawing with her right hand (she's a southpaw but her left hand was boarded with an IV board).

My vision was blurry. I don't cry easy but I did feel that one tear drop down my cheek. I gave the kid a warm, heartfelt hug.

I'd been having a horrible week to the point that I even came to doubt myself. I was wondering if I'd bitten off more than I could chew. Debt was killing me. Working two jobs just to barely keep my head above the water, sleeping about 4 hours a night at best etc. etc.

That card and her smile when she gave it to me changed all that.

That was when I decided - right then and there - that it was all worth it. That's when I decided that when I graduated, I was going to do peds. Life or death, sickness, suffering or recovery; I just knew right then that I'd be doing it with kids.

I'm still workin' on that goal...


NocturnalRN said...

Dear D.P., I really enjoyed this entry. This is what it is all about, they are just hard to come by even when we most certainly deserve a thoughtful thank you more times than not. The only problem I have with this entry is that you called my blog "Float FOOL". Are you blogger people talkin about me behind my back?! heeheehee. Take care and I hope every time you get discouraged, you will be rewarded/reminded of why you do what you do.

Spook, RN said...

Oh my!

Fixed it now! Thanks FPRN :-)

Jaime said...

Such a sweet and touching story. I'm sure you made as huge an impact on the family as they did on you. =)

NocturnalRN said...

HA HA You are funny, spook.
Maybe I should change it to that cause sometimes I think I am a fool for choosing to scatter myself around-working a different place and new patients every night.

Terry at Counting Sheep said...

These are the intangibles of nursing that make it such a rewarding profession. And they happen everyday everywhere. You're lucky when it happens to you. But I believe that you "help" make it happen for someone else, and that makes it happen for you. You made a real difference to someone. That's what it's all about.