Tuesday, November 25, 2008

the exchange

his body lay lifeless on the ER stretcher as we pounded on his chest and gave life saving drugs. it wasn't working. we knew the basics before he came in, 80 years old...CPR in progress. that's what they call it when the patient is coming in via EMS ambulance in the process of being resuscitated. we knew he probably wouldn't make it and had the body bag safely placed underneath the sheet to make it easier on the transition from ER to the morgue. how sad that we do this, already knowing that the patient will probably not make it?
for the first time ever in the history of my nursing i had a life changing thought. at the moment i most dread, the pronunciation of death...the time we declare a patient to actually be dead, i thought about the exchange from this life into the next. how amazing that i can be in the room at this time, when a person's soul physically leaves the body with his last breath and goes onto the after life.
i wrapped my fingers around his wrist and said a prayer.
and then just like that i walked away less afraid of death and more prepared for the next time.

2 comments:

Joshua said...

Nice, very nice. It's a hard profession we're in. One that can make us callous and uncaring. It's people like you, Steph, that keep the true meaning of the word "nurse" alive. Kinda cheesy, but Florence would be proud.

Joshua said...

P.S. Sorry if this comes out with my boyfriends name. It's Elisabeth. :)