Episode 2 – My first day in training a patient dies…
Previously on Nursing Habits: Arkadia wakes up content and happy as web design expert, living in a beautiful mountainous home with the man of her dreams and her beautiful huskies, only to be abruptly transformed into a nurse, bedpan in one hand, vomit in the other!
The Art of Caring while Cursing!
INT. A DREARY HOSPITAL IN LITTLE TOWN IN SOUTH AFRICA – DAY
It was a Monday morning and I timidly introduced myself to the charge sister. She welcomed me to the ward and told me that I’d begin my day by cleaning and tidying the ward. She barely got the chance to orientate me to the ward and routine when a team of doctors and nurses came bursting through the ICU doors wheeling in a woman on a stretcher. Something was not right. I sunk back and watched as everything went swiftly into motion. It took a moment for me to realize that I was witnessing a resuscitation.
Nurse get adrenaline now!
To my horror I realized the instruction was directed at me! I was a pupil nurse, and it was my first day of training! She might as well have asked someone off the street to assist. I ran quickly to where I thought the meds would be kept and rummaged through the cupboard. Nothing labelled Adrenaline! Panicking and knowing exactly what was as stake for my incompetence, I quickly shouted for help. An angel in the form of a male nurse came to my rescue. He told me not to worry and he quickly grabbed a few bottles labelled ‘Epinephrine’, drew them up and handed them over to the doctor. I felt terrified. Once again I could do nothing but watch her struggle. The patient, Mrs Khosa, an African woman in her late fifties wore traditional African attire, accessorized with beads around her neck and wrists. The nurses and doctors surrounded this lady and pumped her full of drugs and oxygen. She struggled against them, she seemed to be in excruciating pain as they shoved tubes down her nostril and stuck needles in her arms. Her hands were being pinned down to the bed. Tears rolled down her cheeks and I think she realized right then that these were the last moments of her life. She spent her last moments struggling against a team of medical staff that refused to let her rest.
1, 2, 3! CLEAR!
They press the defibrillator to her chest and her body jerks violently. The beads she wore fell apart and rolled all over the green tiles. I watch them fall and roll away almost in slow motion. Her pretty dress tears at the seams. The helplessness of watching a person die made me want to do something. A bead rolls toward me and stops at my feet. I pick it up as quickly as possible as though I’m being helpful to the lady that is dying in front of me by safeguarding her things.
and when I look up again, the nurses and doctors have cleared the area. Flat line. She’s gone. Sr. Sterile orders me to move the body into the next room and begin the last offices.
Next on Nursing Habits: The aftermath of this death and how it changed my life forever.
The Last Offices.