focus on the perspective of life's events. Many times we get so caught up in our vortex of struggle that we take a "woe is me" and "why the hell does this have to happen" and we forget that EVERYTHING in our life happens with purpose and perspective. In the grand scheme of things, events that we may deem catastrophic or life-altering are probably that way, in our eyes. so that our path and our brain gets the remodel that it needs. I have to remind myself that I am in the thick of the story, between my "once upon a time" and "happily ever after", and it may seem like the story will never end, but I'm actually creating a sub-plot of grand proportions that will still change me if I will let it.
One of the greatest blessings in my life are my friends. I have stellar friends all over the country. During my latest bump in the road of life, I've been strengthened by so many in their own way. Notes in the mail, private messages on Facebook, phone conversations for HOURS where I do most of the talking and they do the listening and encouraging. This keeps me going. One friend in particular has given me such strength and I wanted to share her story with all of you. I asked for her permission and due to the nature of her employment, she will remain nameless. A couple of weeks ago, she experienced something in her job that was LIFE CHANGING for her and it brought a perspective that altered her outlook. It was so "catastrophic" that she wrote about it and sent it to her mother. Because of the magnitude of my bumpy reality, she knew I would appreciate this story and chose to share it with me as well. It is not for the weak of heart, a real life "Grey's Anatomy" scene, but is powerful and I asked if I could feature it on my blog. Her words are filled with faith in life and faith in God and yet her life is still not perfect. However, she keeps perspective at the forefront of her life and because of that she blesses those around her, including me, with a deep appreciation for the sanctity, simplicity and delicacy of life. Thank you dear friend, for sharing this with me and letting me share it with the world.
Journal Entry dated 9 April 2016
"I’ve been told that when a crisis hits, I will know what to do, that I will surprise myself and do better than I think. “You’ve been trained. You know what to do. It will come naturally.”
I’ve always thought that this was a bunch of bunk. When moderate crisis have hit at the hospital, I have found myself struggling with suppressing my own emotions, with hands shaking so violently that I can barely use them, and a brain that seems to screech to a halt. It takes all of my energy to keep from crying as I feel, much too deeply, what the family might be feeling.
I don’t want to be the family member being whooshed from the room while a flock of medical people come crashing in to save the day. It just seems too dramatic, too intense…too real.
Before I left for work yesterday, I took a moment to pray. “Heavenly Father, please help me to have a good day. Please help me to know what to do. Please help me to find someone to serve.” I had a good day, (Check!) I knew what to do, (Double check!), and I’m pretty sure I served someone who needed me. I’m just not exactly sure who that person was.
“Code Blue, CT. Code Blue, CT. Code Blue, CT.” paged loud overhead for all to hear. By the tone of the overhead page it was clear that this was not a drill.
I walked out of the break room and asked “Who’s the Team Lead today?”
“I am? Oh shit.” (Yes, I really did say this….sorry!)
I grabbed our heavy crash cart, stocked full of life saving supplies, and pushed it as fast as I could down the long corridor. The closer I got to the CT room, the more my heart started to pound. I was worried that my brain would screech to a halt and that I wouldn’t know what to do. So I paused. Well, at least my brain paused, as I rushed down the hallway.
“Heavenly Father, this is the real deal. I am in charge, and I need your help. Please help me to be calm. Please help me to know what to do. Please help me to do my job. I’ve never done this before!”
Overwhelming peace and clarity instantly filled my body. My hands did not shake.
My brain did not falter. I knew I was prepared, well, at least as prepared as one can ever be. I felt relaxed. Really relaxed.
It’s a hard thing, walking into a room, with a man laying on a table, his face so blue that it is nearly black. Doctors counting out the rhythm as they pound on his chest, “one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight...” It’s a hard thing to see the blood pooling in his mouth, blood pooling on his chest as doctors race to put in chest tubes, and watching the respiratory crew struggle to help him to breath with blood gushing out of his breathing tubes. And it’s a hard thing to know that through this all, even with two doctors and two anesthesia providers in the room, I am in charge.
I have never done this before.
My mind has been thinking about this scenario over and over, trying to make sense of things. It isn’t the blood that spattered the wall, the compressions that crushed his ribs, the “Everyone CLEAR! Shocking the patient in three, two, one!” that I had to call out, or the “Resume compressions!” that I’ve been mulling over. It isn’t seeing the wife’s face as she calmly came in to touch her husband and say a brief prayer before his barely alive body was shipped to the ICU that I’ve been thinking about. Or her calm face as she thanked each one of us, almost individually, before walking away. It certainly hasn’t been the unusual way this code had to proceed due to the individual circumstances that lead to this man’s unfortunate day. And it hasn’t been the bloody footprints that we left in the room after everything had been cleaned, the final bit of evidence to our attempts at saving his life.
My mind can’t stop wondering about my reaction to it all. Why do I feel so calm?
Why am I not a basket case? I’ve been mulling it over in my mind, around and around, because I am worried that something is wrong with me. Shouldn’t I be devastated? Shouldn’t I cry, even a little? Shouldn’t I be a little bit traumatized? A wife just saw her husband’s unconscious body be taken to the ICU, know that this is probably it, as in the “It”, “The end”, or as I like to call it the “See you laters”. Hollywood couldn’t have made the scene any more dramatic than it was.
Did he survive? Did he live?
That is the question that everyone asks. It wasn’t until becoming a nurse that I realized that “Did he survive?” and “Did he live?” have many layers and nuances. It’s like shades of a color. Is turquoise still blue? Yes, but not exactly.
So to answer the question, yes, he survived, at least at time of transport. His heart was beating. He was maintaining his blood pressure. He was even trying, in a small way, to breath on his own. His skin had even returned to a much more comfortable shade of pale pink. Was he alive? Yes. Is he alive?
I don’t know if he will ever leave the hospital. I don’t know if he will ever be able to hug his wife in this life. I don’t know if he will ever go home with his family. But I do know that he lives! No matter what happens to his body, his spirit is still alive.
And now as I write this, the tears suddenly fall.
Administration patted me on the back telling me “That was one of the best codes we have seen,” and were shocked when I told them that this was my first (I did see CPR one other time). My other code team members said “Wow. You were so calm. You are an amazing team leader. You should run all of our codes.” and “You sounded and looked like you have run a hundred codes” when I confessed that this was my first.
Why was it that I was so calm? That I was able to very competently do my job, despite the horrific scene in front of me? A co-worker quietly asked me later that night, “Did you feel the help from the other side in the room with us? There were a lot of [heavenly] helpers in there.” It wasn’t until that moment that I realized the magnitude of help we had been given. I asked that morning to find someone to serve, not expecting to be the one served, but for that, I am feeling eternally grateful."
The moral of the story: No matter how hard life gets, keep perspective. Perspective will keep us breathing and facing our challenges with a miraculous sense of peace and calm. I know it, my friend knows it and I hope that you can find it for you when you need it most.
Until next time, my lovelies!
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