REPUBLISHED: From All That is Seen and Unseen Website.
I don’t really consider myself a very religious person. I am strong in my Catholic faith, but definitely not one who can quote from the Bible or lead a prayer; however, today, God has once again revealed to me why I am here. Today, I walked with God.
Today started out like a typical day but just 45 minutes into the day, I was dreading what my short day would bring. Code Blue, ED room 1, ETA, 5 minutes. “REALLY?!” I thought to myself. Last time this happened, it was a tragedy and today would be no different for it’s a tragedy for the family that has to endure this crisis. Whether or not this person lives, it is still a crisis.
I responded to the ED like usual and stood by while I waited for the ambulance. I had casual conversation with a friend while I waited for the ambulance to arrive. I stood in the ambulance bay with her and we could hear the sirens but just as we thought the ambulance was too far, an ambulance pulled in; they must have turned their lights and sirens off as they came into the hospital parking lot (as many do). The sirens must have been from another ambulance nearby.
As the ambulance backed up, I saw the typical signs that someone was performing CPR in the back of the ambulance. The back of the ambulance was gyrating. They don’t really bounce up and down, but they bounce almost in a circle, as much as an ambulance can gyrate.
The back doors opened and the crew came out, performing CPR. I always look at the feet of patients who come in with no pulse. There is something about the feet that tells all. I am not a doctor and I wouldn’t say that I can tell if a person is going to live or die just by looking at their feet but there is a common look to a person’s feet who typically do not survive and this person had that look.
As they wheeled her into the room, I saw her face and I felt she was gone. I always say a prayer for patients who come in with no pulse and I prayed for her and her family. I then went to open the family consultation room. This is standard procedure regardless and I didn’t know if the doctor’s would allow the family into the room or just have them wait in the consultation room. It depends on who the doctor is and doesn’t necessarily correspond to the patient dying.
I returned to the ED to see that the staff were using a new device to assist with compressions on the patient. This new device was state-of-the-art and performs the compressions instead of staff doing the compressions. The machine won’t wear out like a person will, it does the compressions more consistently, it frees up a staff member so they can attend to the patient better, and I have been told there is less chance of damage to a person’s body with the machine vs. a staff member although there is always damage done. It looks painful but it saves lives.
Staff were taking care of her in the usual way; preserving her privacy, putting in IV’s, intubating her, and trying to stabilize her. After 15 minutes though, she still had no pulse. I saw Chaplain Mike (www.chaplainmike.com) arrive and we made some small talk about my book and marketing while he waited for family to arrive. At some point, the doctor called it and all life saving attempts ceased. She had passed.
I returned to my office and resumed my duties as family arrived. Chaplain Mike had everything under control. Other then a brief call to check on a suspicious person who was banging his fist on top of a car, I had no other calls. The description sounded like the patient’s husband and although I didn’t confirm it, I would probably do the same thing if I were in his situation. I made a quick patrol of the parking areas just to be sure it wasn’t someone else but anyone who is grieving may certainly do this.
I could hear her husband wailing in the consultation room so I knew he had been told his wife had passed. More family arrived and I was glad he had a good support system. I left them alone to work with Chaplain Mike.
I was to leave within a few hours due to a photo shoot that HSS asked me to participate in. As I was getting ready to leave, Chaplain Mike knocked on my office door. When I opened it, he told me I needed cards to advertise for my book. I told him I had some and took one out of my wallet. I asked him why and he told me that one of the family members had lost two baby’s.
I felt so sad for this family, having gone through a miscarriage recently and now losing a mother/wife. I handed him the card and told him I had a book in my car. I asked him how recent the miscarriage was and he said he believed it was last week. At that point, I told him I was going to give her the book. I told him I have had the book in my car for this exact purpose.
Several times I had tried to remove the book from my car but something told me I needed to leave it in there; that there would be a reason to leave it in the car. At one point, I even prayed that God would reveal to me someone who would need this book. I wasn’t shocked at all when Chaplain Mike came to me with this story because God was speaking to me. This was it…this was the person.
I had only intended on giving the book to Chaplain Mike to give to the family member that lost her baby’s but there were other plans in store for me. I was completely honored when I returned with the book and Chaplain Mike had me meet some of the family members. I shook their hands and extended my condolences for their loss and asked for the woman’s name who had miscarried.
I then autographed the book to her. It wasn’t my typical inscription. This autograph was so short. “I’m so sorry for your loss.” I talked with the family members for a few moments. I didn’t want to rush off but I didn’t know how welcome I was either. I explained to them how there was nothing on the market about first trimester miscarriage when I lost my baby. One of the family members spoke so sternly, “No…there’s not.”
She wasn’t negative about it at all, but it was in agreeance with me that there isn’t anything out there for women who have lost a baby so early. I was happy that this particular person agreed and felt so strongly about it as she was from a different generation. Thinking about it later, I was stereotyping. Just because my mother didn’t think of the loss the same way, doesn’t mean all women from her generation did. I felt a bit bad but I was still happy she felt her niece deserved support. Maybe she had had an early miscarriage too.
Then, the other woman I was talking to said she was going to get her cousin who had had a miscarriage. They told me she lost her baby on Friday. Ugh! My heart was pouring out to her. I lost my baby on a Friday too. I wasn’t in my right mind by the following Tuesday and this was the day she lost her mother. Two huge losses for her to bear.
As they approached me, I could see she was now crying. I recognized her from earlier in the day. I passed her as I was re-entering the lobby and she was walking out. The look on her face at the time worried me. I thought she was going to pass out. I actually touched her on the arm and asked if she was going to be okay. She said she was and I felt she was grounded so I kept walking on.
But now, she was standing in front of me with massive tears and grief on her face. I reached out and pulled her in close. I gave her a huge hug and told her I was so sorry for the loss of her baby’s and the loss of her mother. Then I handed her my book. I repeated that I was sorry and she looked at me and held the book. I told her that I hoped she would find some comfort and peace in what was inside the book. She held it close and thanked me for it.
Then, her cousin told her I was the author of the book. It never occurred to me that she didn’t know. I felt silly but I smiled. She looked at me and through her tears, she said, “You’re the author?” I replied, “Yes. And I am giving you this book.” I again told her I was sorry for all her losses and then said, “There is nothing else to say. You know it, and I know it. This hurts and I am sorry.”
I told her to “take care” and left. The family thanked me a bunch of times and I began to drive away. They waved and I waved. I could see them all in a circle, looking at what she had just been given. As I left the hospital grounds, I began to tear up. It was such an emotional day and I was able to be a tiny part of their lives. As I drove to the school to pick up my son, I prayed that this book would help her.
I just realized I never thanked God for this experience. Thank you Lord, for putting me in the right place at this time. Thank you for bringing me to this family to help during such a devastating moment in their lives. Thank you Lord, for showing me that my decision to stay was right and revealing to me that I am meant to help others.