Previously on Nursing Habits: Arkadia’s first day as a nurse and her patient goes into cardiac arrest…resuscitation fail!
My First Day and the Dead Woman
No matter how many times you read about the procedure in your text-book, you can never be prepared for it. I had to take Mrs. Khosa into an empty room in the ICU department. It was my first actual day of practical training. It just so happens that I had to experience my first death on that day too! I was completely terrified. The charge sister, Sr. Sterile, asked me to do the last offices. She knew full well that I was a pupil nurse with zero nursing experience, but she thoughtlessly left me alone with the body. I felt chills run down my spine and I cried quietly, wishing I could go home. Some of Mrs. Khosa’s beaded jewellery still hung around her neck. I started taking it off as carefully as I could but the remaining beads fell and scattered all over the floor.
My heart jumped and I quickly began to pick them up. I had to get every last bead. It felt important at the time. She lay there naked and undignified and the beads represented the pride she had for herself. It was a piece of her personality – something that I thought her kids might want. Sr. Sterile caught me gathering beads and sternly told me not to waste time. “Leave the beads alone and start laying out the body!” she ordered. I nodded my head and as soon as she walked out I quickly finished gathering the beads. I couldn’t help but feel tortured. No pupil nurse should have to go through this by themselves on their first day in a real hospital scenario. I couldn’t help but cry while I cleaned the body. I removed all signs of its personality and covered the many puncture holes with cotton balls and tape, trying my hardest to close shut its stiff jaw. I didn’t have a clue how to get the body into a shroud and I had completely overlooked the important steps of identifying the body and taking thumb prints. Sr. Sterile would crucify me. Thankfully the angelic male nurse came once again to my rescue. He told me that I needn’t worry, I would soon get used to dead people. I couldn’t see that happening. He filled in the steps I missed and helped me tug and push the body around to get it into the body bag. He then told me to leave the body bag open and let the body lay there for an hour before taking her down to the mortuary.
Why do we have to keep her here for an hour?
In case she wakes up..
Next on Nursing Habits: Arkadia has blood on her face, big disgrace!