The Last Breath

Hospital E.R.

I am a part of the CODE TEAM & I am a Code Nurse. We basically revive and bring back dead people to life or give that last string of hope and breath to human life. Allow me to oblige you of what I have felt last night and how I offered a fervent prayer….

Every code I’ve had bears a different story though the same medical condition, if not at most. Modesty aside, I have developed complacency during codes for it became a routine, which in turn had sharpened my dexterity in breaking ampules, and I have become well versed in administering emergency medications.

Hospital E.R.

I am required to run the three floors of the hospital by stairs and NOT by elevator and should be in the area in two minutes. It is an indelible mantra for code nurses that every second does and will always count! Developing an automatic mental note taking of all the verbal orders of the head of the code team, is a skill I have mastered and mustered overtime. Adrenaline have become my fuel and constant companion.

I have dealt with sudden deaths at most; DOA’s on that note and ER deaths. EXPIRED, up until now, brings a ring to my ear. I have packed the clothes of my dead patients in that yellow plastic bag, and with courage and a smile feigning grief, like a daughter surrendering to the arms of her mother, I give them the last tangible memory of their dead loved one.

Death revealed its meaning before my very eyes. I have surrendered the wedding ring of a newly wed dead wife to her better half, her crying husband. I have witnessed Death taking the life of a soon-to-be bride on the most important day of her womanhood and posterity, her wedding day. As I gazed upon the face of her husband-to-be, I simply cannot find the right words to portray the emotional visage of his grief. Tears, rolled down my cheeks.

So many poignant occurences in life have I encountered in the walls of my workplace. In the long run, I thought I got the gist of it all. Transference oblivion, is my resolve & redeem. But, last night, was not like any other.

With the code bag strapped on my shoulder and the keys of the E-kart grasped by my hands, I came running as an answer to the CODE 99. I arrived hearing the patient shouting and helplessly asking to unburden her dsypneic state. Force of habit, ET set was prepared and the usual routine of intubation followed. I pressed the ambubag in a coordinated manner as means of respiration for the patient. In my mind I thought it was like any other. Those codes I have overcome and get done with. The woman whom I have provided her needed breaths, took her last breath just inches away from me. Face to face, I saw her, her last breath of earth air and human life. In a fraction of a few seconds, hypoxia devoured her body. Pupils dilated, waiting for the doctor’s final call of DEATH.

Very rarely do I encounter such finale episode of life. My normal days would mean a 0/0 patient, i.e. DOA and if not a revived patient. It was no pleasure,the position I was in last night. Having all these experiences and all these years of almost everyday exposure, still, it was a shock to me. That unforgettable moment of last breath. It isn’t a sight I ever wished to behold again.

As rescue to my desolation and for the soul of the owner of the last breath, I bowed my head in fervent prayer. May the heaven and angels welcome her, and give her, her eternal breath once and for all.

This line of job, have taught me virtues that I can carry with me in a lifetime. One most important and trite thing that we often neglect is, Gratitude. I herald these wise words: “For every breath we take, remember someone somewhere is taking their last. Let us be grateful.”

In every end I find a beginning swelling in me.To value my life, and the treasure bestowed upon me by God, my daily breath.

To you who reads this, I hope we are on the same page.

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