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Thursday, February 28, 2008

Thoughts of a Critical Care Patient

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From Orlando Martinez
6020 Kathryn Ave. SE #16 (505)262-2561
Albuquerque NM 87108

A letter I received:
Mr. Martinez,
Thank you for sharing your experience with AACN. I have forwarded your letter to our publications department for possible inclusion in our newsletter that reaches 67,000 critical care nurses. From time to time we all need to be reminded of how our actions may be perceived by our patients.

Best regards,

Mary Pat Aust
American Association of Critical Care Nurses,

This story should be a permanent part of the curriculum of the nursing school.

Thoughts of a Critical Care Patient

Here is an excerpt from my hospital story. I don't know if the nurses and the physicians already know this. But it could be helpful and educational to read about what a patient thinks about when he is "out of it."
From my bed in the critical care unit, after my heart by-pass, I could hear nurses laughing and talking at the nurses station, out of range of my sight. I didn’t think of dying, nor about God,and I wasn’t frightened or depressed. The powerful sedatives injected into me to suppress my pain had engulfed me in a great sea of empty numbness. I was so heavily drugged I lost almost all my emotions except the emotion of yearning, the need for human contact, which for some mysterious reason had escape the drugs. I yearned for a glimpse of a nurse or anyone to bring reality to this unearthly situation I was in.
I was bodiless suspended in a vacuum with no pass life or future. Just there without a home. Time was endless. A minute was a hour long and I needed human contact to prove I still existed. I needed someone to come in and say a few words of comfort. To touch my hand. I can hear the words that I needed “ Mr. Martinez we are here to help you and we’ll check on you every so often to make sure that you are OK.” A few simple compassionate words that never came. The nurses or doctors who attended me went about their medical duties like I was “out of it.”
I asked a cancer ward Registered Nurse why the nurses caring for me in the critical care unit didn’t talk to me, except to seek medical information, and she said the nurses thought I was “out of it.” i.e. drugged beyond human feeling. The register nurse also said that compassion, warmth, and understanding was not emphasized in nurses training. This is what she told me. I do not know if it is true.
But I do know that a gentle touch on my hand and a word of assurances would have connected me, for a moment, back to world of the living.

SOURCE: GoodNursesClub

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