Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The hardest part...

I was recorder for an hour-long code today. The patient essentially came in the door with next to no chance at making it, but we gave it our all. I love the teamwork aspect of a critical situation. Everybody steps in and does their job and we all come together so well.

Today was no different. Everyone was doing what we had to do and we were all doing a great job of reminding each other if we saw things to be improved on. The atmosphere was very professional and efficient and we were doing very well and not letting the emotion of what was actually going on in front of us get to us.

The wife and daughters of the patient came in the room so that they could get some closure. By this time the code was still going on, but we had used up most of our medication options and the situation looked grim indeed. We all maintained the necessary clinical distance and yet were able to show the family the needed empathy in a terrible situation like this. It isn't something that you think about. You just do it. You have to. There is no choice if you want to survive in an environment where death is always just around the corner. We are all professionals and we all can do it.

The hardest part, however, was when the family started talking to the patient. It was not easy to hear this poor woman pleading with her husband, "please don't you leave me. I need you to fight and stay with me." But when reality started to sink in and the truth took hold on this dear sweet lady, was when it became next to impossible for the rest of us to stay out of the emotions of it. The tone changed from pleading for him to stay to giving him permission to leave. When she started saying, "I really love you and want you to stay, but if you have to go, then you can go." and the daughter said, "it's okay Dad, I'm going to look after Mom. She'll be alright" was when tears started flowing in the room.

I'm not sure that will ever get any easier.

Picture borrowed from www.advance-counseling-denver-boulder.com



No........it doesn't get easier. But experience lets you deal with it better. And this is where critical debriefing is so important to the team members--it lets YOU get some closure to these situations.

NewGradNurse said...

one's mind in a code is that of technicalities...meds, policies, procedures. it's easy to forget the code is actually a person, not an event.


Anonymous said...

If it ever gets easy then it's time to go.

Tracey said...

Ditto buttercup. Enough said.

Unknown said...

Great comments that show you have all been there and done that. It is a great comfort to do this long enough to know it is ok for families to see our tears.