The following is from an essay written by Earl Hafield titled “WHY AM I A NURSE?”
I believe what helps all nurses to continue on in this profession is seeing the good that is done. We see people so miserable, so close to death, supported, nurtured, kept alive until they struggle back. Patients that no one thought they would make it, but we hung on to them and kept doing everything we could until somehow the tide turned and we pulled them back from the jaws of death.
I remember getting a call from one of my coworkers one night asking me to come in and help her with a post-op CAB6 patient. I had worked a lot of hours that week and didn’t want to go. She sounded so desperate that I said I would be there at 11. I ended up going in at 10. We were taking care of a patient that I thought would have been a breeze post op. But this patient was bleeding and bleeding a lot. We transfused probably 2 units PRBC & FFP each hour until 7:30 am when the patient went back to surgery. We had 3 full atrium from CT, approximately 9000 ml blood by 730a. The patient went back to surgery and they fixed a bleeder vessel on the back of his heart.
The patient had been very apprehensive about the surgery. He required extensive recovery, had a trach placed, PEG tube, sent to vent rehab, etc. I took care of this patient in ICU for 4-6 weeks and became well acquainted with his family. I asked his wife that once we get him better to get him dressed up and bring him back to the ICU for us to see him and let him do a victory lap. The patient did finally recover after going to Landmark and a rehab facility.
Over 2 years went by and I had given up hope of ever seeing the guy again when one night he and his wife walked in. I can’t tell you how good it felt to see this guy walking, talking with a sport coat on. He looked great. He said he no longer had SOB, fatigue or any of the symptoms that he had prior to having the CAB6. I have not seen the guy since but he was definitely a miracle patient. It is patients like him that makes nursing a great job. Seeing him with his life back was the Best Reward.