Saturday, July 4, 2009

Giving Thanks

Wow, I haven't posted anything for a while! I have been so busy lately that I've barely even had time to think about posting anything on here. I actually started 4 different posts but none of them were finished. So since most of them had to do with nursing stuff, I thought I'd combine them into one big post. As I was looking through the different things I'd written, I realize that most all of it had to do with being thankful for what the Lord has given me. I think that is one of the best things about nursing; it constantly makes me aware of just how much the Lord blesses us every day.
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I just finished my OB class. I've always been interested in labor and delivery, but I didn't have any idea just how much I would enjoy that class. I think I would really love being an OB nurse. It is just so wonderful to help a child come into the world! I cared for a teenage girl one day in my clincals. She was having her second baby; her first child was already 4 years old. That would have meant she was only about 14 when she had her first. The whole day I took care of her, I kept contrasting her experience with that of women around the world. I couldn't help thinking, "How do they do it?" I mean, birth is work. How in the world do some mothers do it without help? Here with our Westernized health care, we monitor the entire labor process with extreme precision. If one thing is off from what we'd like it to be, we know just what to do to get back to the "normal" range. It is so easy for something to go wrong! The same girl that I was taking care of was fine for this birth, but her last birth wasn't okay. She gave birth to a healthy baby, but she came close to dying after the birth due to seizures she had--a complication of her abnormally high blood pressure because of the pregnancy. I kept thinking of the hundreds of girls around the world that literally give birth at 14 on the streets. If she had been one of those girls, and she wouldn't have had a chance.
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I started my pediatrics class this last week. I have been looking forward to this class for a long time!! Because of my previous experience, I knew I would love this class. Although I hadn't officially had pediatrics, I've already had a lot of pediatrics experience through my job. (When I started school I didn't expect to like it because I didn't think I could handle seeing sick children all the time. But at work, I realized one day that I'm always sad if I'm not assigned to take care of the kids!) Today in my class we were talking about the end of life care of children. It reminded me of the time about 6 months ago that I cared for a toddler (about 1 1/2 years old) who was dying because of the abuse he'd received from his parents. That was definitely the hardest case I have ever had. He had been shaken when he was 6 weeks old, leaving him so brain damaged he basically had no normal functions at all. The only responses he could give was to sneeze or cough. Other than that, he couldn't cry, move any part of his body, or even blink his eyes. At the time he was shaken, his parents were about 15, and the court couldn't prove that they purposely shook the baby (rather than just ignorance--the father claimed he shook him because he stopped breathing). So the parents took him home after the shaking incident. In the year since he was shaken, however, he has had both hips dislocated, legs broken, and obvious neglect. He was extremely underweight because his parents had still (from ignorance) been giving him the same feedings through his feeding tube that a newborn should receive. Because of technicalities in the social care system, we had to send him home with his parents again after we cared for him in the hospital. It was so hard to send him home. I struggle so much with anger in situations like that. But I think more than anything it's just sad. Sad that the parents didn't know how to care for their child in the first place. Sad that they are 16 and exhausted and clueless about how to care for this baby. Sad to watch a girl who should have been in school try to love her baby who couldn't even respond to her (she seemed so awkward, so lost--almost like she was just playing with a doll). And sad that there isn't really anyone who can help them. When I asked the social worker why we had to send the baby home with his family, why couldn't we allow him a better place to live, she said probably the saddest thing of all. Really, who would we have sent him to? No foster family would want him. Who else could care for him? The "best" thing was just to send him home to die.
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I spent the 4th of July working a shift at the hospital. As is usual on holidays there were a few crazy cases down in the ER (some minor stabbings, etc...), but everything was mostly quiet up on the Med-Surg floor where I work. At the end of the day, however, we admitted one little patient that just gave me the chills. She was 3 years old, and had come in for a near drowning. Her family had all gotten together for the holiday and I guess they just weren't watching her closely enough. Somehow, when they weren't watching she got into the pool. They ended up having to do CPR on her and everything. Praise God she's fine now! By the time we got her up on the main floor, she was just there for observation. When I heard what happened to her I just went cold all over. I have seen a lot of things since I started working in the hospital, but I this one for some reason hit me really close to my heart.
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God has really been reminding me lately of how much He has blessed us with modern technology. Almost every time I take care of a patient in the hospital, I think, "This person would most likely be dead right now if it weren't for _____". When I think about that little girl, I realize that without CPR she would not be alive right now. There are so many times throughout the day I have stopped just to thank the Lord that He has placed me where He has. Just last week I was able to use Skype twice to talk to friends in Europe. (I love Skype, by the way. It was so wonderful to be able to talk to family when I was working in Prague last summer!) I was reminded of the thousands of men who fought in WWII who would have done anything to be able to hear the voice of the people they loved. And I can click a couple of buttons and talk as long as I want. How blessed we are!!

1 comment:

Jennifer T. said...

Amen!! Blessed we are.

Life is such a struggle for some. You mentioned street people and as you know from my posts, only the hardiest survive. This time of year (winter) it's very tough to see the babies and children suffer and even die due to exposure and sickness.

May God bless you as you serve Him in the medical field! If I didn't work here, I think it would be in a hospital or clinic somewhere... =)