Friday, 29 November 2013

A Placement in A&E

When I was a student nurse, the only placement that I did not enjoy was A&E ( ER)
My father died right at the beginning of my three month span of duty there, so in a show of support by the nursing staff, I was moved from the resus area ( where all city traumas were brought in) to work with the staff that were allocated to the " walking wounded".
It was mildly interesting and less stressful than the cut and thrust of the adrenaline filled trauma room.
Only one experience from a humdrum collection of cut fingers,boils on the bum and dislocated wrists  sticks in my mind to this day, and that was the time I was conscripted by a pretty Scottish sister to help her with a patient.

This sister in question collared me as I tidied up a treatment room with a " could I ask you to help me with something important?" She looked upset, so of course I agreed and she led me to a curtained off cubicle where she told me in hushed tones that an elderly woman had been brought in and had unfortunately died just as she reached hospital. Her husband, who had accompanied his wife's ambulance in a good Samaritan's car , had turned up in the department and had just been informed of his wife's death.
" what do you need me to do?" I asked the sister
" he wants to feel her arms around him a last time" she explained with a gulp,
" and I can't do it by myself".
There was no one else around, so of course I agreed.
And so between us we gently sat the old gal up a little on a hospital trolley and ever so gently helped her husband up onto it where he lay against her with a sob.
The woman was around 80, and had a single roller in her white hair. She wore a white cardigan as I remember.
I held one of the woman's arms around his shoulders and the pretty Scottish sister did the same with the other and there we stood for what seemed like the longest of times.

The old man whispering  and crying to his wife all the time as we, with our eyes brimming with tears, tried to look elsewhere.


50 comments:

  1. What a beautiful post-sad but life affirming at the same time.

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  2. This truly touched me and made me emotional. Bless you so much for being there for them during that moment and helping them fulfill that request of her husband.

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  3. You made me cry..bless you for helping with that…it must have been so sad.X

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  4. In Hindu culture, helping someone with their 'last journey' is considered a virtuous act. I am not sure what you do with the dead in Scotland, but what you did was a great thing for both the dead lady and her husband.

    Also, the dead lady was really lucky to have a husband who loved her so much. I hope she was aware of his love while she was alive.

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  5. Thank you kk
    ( btw we live in wales) xx

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    1. It was really silly on my part to name the wrong country.

      Believe me.

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    2. Some Indians feel bad when people call them 'Pakis', and I am sure Pakistanis too feel bad when someone mistakes them for Indians. I am sorry if that hurt you.

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    3. Lol not offended at all.......my surname and grandfather was a scot

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  6. Sad, but so loving. I am sure many of us wish we were loved like that.

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  7. Bless you for your sweetness.

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    1. I just helped the Scottish sister..she was the star

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    2. But you helped.

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  8. im sure that man would never have forgotten what you did for him.when i sat at my mothers bedside while she died someone gently rubbed my back.i have no idea who it was as i was so bereft.however that is the one gesture i remember to this day at was a very traumatic time,everything else is just a blur.

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  9. That is one of the sweetest & saddest things I have read in a long time. xxx

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  10. I don't know how you do it. x

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  11. One of my biggest regrets is not holding my dad when he was dying. I held my mum, though not face to face as that was too hard for me then, I feel honoured to have been with her, but if I could turn back time I would go to that room and hold him tight. I did have the chance to say I love you and have him reply that he loved me too a couple of days earlier, something that we had never said before.
    I held my dear sister's hand 41 years ago, she was 17 and severely disabled with pneumonia and the doctor said he "would come out later". I was 10 and in the room alone with her.
    Can't say any more now.
    x

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  12. Your tenderness and compassion helped a grieving man say good-bye. You painted these with details (a single roller in her white hair) that had me standing by the trolley as well. Thank you, John.

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  13. What a gentle loving moment.

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  14. John, I had a lump in my throat as I read this. A moment neither of you would forget.

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  15. Brought tears to my eyes too John. I know after losing my first husband, who died at home from kidney cancer - and died very peacefully - how very important that last hug is.

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  16. You and the sister helped him immensely with his grieving, I would think. Compassion is a gift - the ability to feel it and show it, and the receiving of it.

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  17. I must have hayfever.

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  18. Nursing sure is hard work.

    Good nurses like yourself have an extra special place in heaven.

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  19. That's so sweet.

    Love,
    Janie

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  20. That was lovely.

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  21. The kindness shown to me and my father by the nurses in A&E when my mum died made a great difference on what was the worst day of our lives.
    I will never forget it.

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  22. Tears here. Thank you - again - for being you.

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  23. Such a lovely story John...and once again you have made me puddle up. I envy your ability to tell a good tale and make me feel I was there in the room with you. It's why I never miss a day checking in with you in over there in Wales and then to see what the other boys; Tom, Hippo, and Cro are up to also. Such a pleasure to read all of the exploits.

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  24. When my best friend was admitted to the Hospice last year (coincidentally, exactly a year ago), her ex-husband stepped in and banned all visitations except those of her immediate family. I never got to say goodbye to her properly and shall never forgive him for that, as if over 40 years of non-faultering friendship meant nothing.What you and the Scottish Sister did for that old man was very commendable indeed.The last moments in death are just as precious as the first moments of birth.

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    1. That's sad nana
      I take my hat off to the old guy..who had enough about him to ask for what he needed and to the sister who made it happen

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  25. You showed great compassion, which is a God given gift. Doesn't surprise me one bit that it was you John! Not one little bit..

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  26. Try telling that story to Jeremy Hunt and his tribe! God save the NHS!

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  27. What prompted this memory, John?

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    Replies
    1. I'll sell you all tomorrow

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    2. Please don't sell us all, we'll be good ... promise ;-)

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  28. A lump in my throat, and before breakfast too. Well done John.

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  29. That made me cry.I was with a friend as she was dying and to be able to hold her hand and say goodbye was very important to me.Liz 2b

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    1. You were so lucky to have been able to do that, Liz, for both your sakes.x

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  30. Wow, that's powerful.

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  31. Terribly moving. (Made me gulp.)

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  32. Oh God...tears on my laptop.
    Jane x

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  33. Now my eyes are brimming with tears. Lovely story.

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  34. How sad. But good that you were able to meet his request for a final embrace.

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  35. Oh god John, that last embrace on our marital bed - with the ambos and police impatient to take him away from me standing, in the doorway (it would be different if you were Maori one said). Sometimes NZ sucks. Anyway with the British health system seemingly struggling I hope that human empathy and kindness still has room to move.

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    1. It is struggling
      And I suspect some of it will go down the health insurance route
      Nice to have u back xx

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  36. What a lovely thing to do. :)

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  37. For him to know what he needed and have been brave enough to ask, and to find two members of staff able to understand and help him is simply wonderful. How many have regretted not asking for something so simple I wonder.

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  38. I have read a few comments, after reading your post and they, too, have me in tears. You are a good man John. xx

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