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Diary of a Trauma Nurse
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About Me

My name is Cory. I am a mom, a wife, a NaNa, and a critical care nurse that lives in Nashville, TN. I have found my calling in ER/Trauma/ICU. Each day I find myself experiencing life changing events and hope that by reading my posts, you will experience and feel some of what I do. If you read nothing else, please take time to read "The Hardest Question Ever Asked". It's my very first posting. And if for some reason you think you see your story don't. It's not about you or anyone you know. =)


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Kathys Lifes Journey

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Left for dead . . . . . by a Nurse!

The first line of the American Nurses Association Code of Ethics begins. . .
"The nurse provides services with respect for human dignity"

The last line of marriage vows is "until death do us part"

One night when I went in to work I got report on one of my patients who was a quadriplegic. He was malnourished and wasting away. His electrolytes were jacked up and he had a severed spinal cord. Apparently he wanted to die. Not saying anything derogatory about anyone, but that is the report I got. Oh yeah, and "Jim" was 29 years old, married, and had two little girls.

Jim was angry, bitter and rude when I went in to assess him. I normally have an easy time bonding with my patients but it was not happening with Jim. He didn't want me or anyone in his room. He refused to be turned, refused his medication, had refused food and wanted to be left alone. I didn't understand.

I was thinking that Jim must be in a lot of pain, not just emotional, but physical. I looked at his MAR and noted that he had nothing ordered for pain. Knowing about phantom pain, I woke the Dr and asked if I could have an order for some PRN pain meds for this member. The Dr balked at this and I pleaded for him to just order it times 3 q 4-6 hours. He agreed.

I went into Jim's room and he immediately told me to get out. I asked him to just listen to me for a minute. I told him that I didn't know what he had been through but I knew he had to be in some serious pain. I then went on to tell him that I bet his pain was a burning pain in his groin and in his legs. He started to listen. I explained phantom pain and that it is a very real pain. I said that I had no idea what he had been through but I knew he was angry at the world and I understood. He told me that I could never understand. I offered him the pain medication as a peace offering and he accepted it by not saying no. I told him I had to reassess his pain in 30 minutes so I would just wait. He got quiet again but agreed. A few minutes later Jim started to talk to me. (Narcotics are wonderful assistants at appropriate times.)

Jim had a wife, who was a nurse and two beautiful little girls who he loved with all of his heart. His wife had been talking about a divorce for awhile and that was the last thing he wanted. He didn't want his family broken up. He then told me the most horrific thing I've ever heard. A week before, he had been shot in the back of the neck (C-2) and left for dead. . . . by his wife!!! Who is a Nurse!!! Or was, rather. I'm sure by now she has had her license, revoked (at the very least) and is spending time in the big house!

I sat there and didn't know what to say. I didn't think I could find the words to even express the way I felt, much less even think that I knew the way he felt. All I could mutter was "I'm so sorry." He continued with his story. His parents who lived 200 miles away kept calling his house and all he could do was lay there and listen to the phone ring and pray. When his parents who he spoke to daily couldn't get ahold of him or his wife they grew concerned and drove the 200 miles to his house. Looking in the window, they saw him, broke into his house and called an ambulance. He had been told by the doctors that he was very lucky that his respiratory drive hadn't been shut down as his C-spine injury was very high. Jim stated that he didn't feel lucky at all. We continued to talk and before long I realized that I'd been in his room for over an hour. I had to go check my other patients. Before leaving, I asked him if I could please turn him and he said no. I made a deal, pain medicine before turning. He agreed. I told him I would be leaving in a couple of hours and would be back that night. He asked if I would be his nurse again. At that moment, that meant more to me than helping to save a life!

CoryTraumaRN posted today at 5:46 PM

PEOPLE ARE CRAZY! She isn't a nurse at all!! She is a lowlife b_tch that deserves to be shot and left somewhere so she knows how it feels!! Sorry, but that is completely messed up! Hopefully she will get what she deserves in the future.
Brit, I couldn't agree more.
I love to read through blogs like yours because it gives me a sense of what I am working so hard for in nursing school. After reading this post I have come to realize more than ever that nursing truly is the hardest and most rewarding career out there. I am so proud that one day I will be working with someone like you. Thanks for all the inspiration that you give to us struggling nursing students.
First of all, thank you for reading and thank you for working so hard to become a nurse. I love when nursing students comment on my blog. Nursing is most definitely the hardest and most rewarding career out there. For those that are in it for the right reasons........
And thank YOU for being a hard working nursing student. I have no doubt you will be great!
I just think that they are both selfish not to think about their two girls... I also believe that you did a great job in nursing not only his health but also his emotional wellbeing as well. I love reading blogs like this that inspire more to do better in my studies.
Just wanted to clarify. If this guy had a C2 injury he would be dead or at the VERY least on a vent. C4 innervates the diaphragm, and this patient would not be able to breathe. Also, quads do not get "phantom pain" as a trauma nurse, you should know both of these things...

Just want to clarify that you may want to research SCI's a little more. In addition, quadriplegics DO absolutely have phantom pain. I'm assuming you are not a quadriplegic and you're definitely not a neurosurgeon or a trauma nurse for that matter or you would know how ridiculous your statements were. Here's a recommendation:
Search for spinal cord injuries and quadriplegics with phantom pain. Also, look up complete as well as incomplete SCIs, especially surrounding the C-2 injuries. :) Have a nice evening.
PS: I have no reason to make up these stories. It's day to day reality. Why not try to find some positive things to say about blogs you read or take Bambi's mom's advice. :)

My Error........ take the advice of thumper's father not bambi's mother. :)
Wow this is a sad case. Your blog is great. It gives a peak into what nurses go through every day.
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