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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...

Life as a Critical Care Nurse

By Lydia Pate
Sept. 11, 2011

An uneasy stillness permeates the critical care unit. Things hum along, but I’m holding my breath. The hospital is on trauma call. Who knows what the day will bring? While there is time now, we nurses prepare for an onslaught.

The phone rings. It’s the ER reporting on a motor vehicle accident victim. Another bed is filled. On the heels of this admission, another call from the ER: This time it’s a head injury patient with a subdural hematoma (a collection of blood), and the neurosurgeon is on his way. The unit blurs with activity as stable patients are triaged out to make room for the critically ill.

Next a gunshot victim is brought in, and reports abound of gang members arriving in the waiting room. The tension is palpable. Hospital security is alerted, and the police are called.

You, Lord, are the calm in the storm. Speak peace into this fray!

As I listen to an ER report on a suicide attempt by drug overdose, I wonder what could have driven my young patient to this point of desperation, to a moment in time when she felt there were no other options. I admit my new patient and place her on suicide precautions, clearing the room of anything with which she could hurt herself. She doesn’t want to talk, except to request the light be turned out and the curtain pulled, which I cannot permit as I have to monitor her frequently.

Oh Lord, may I be Your hands extended to her today. Let Your love pierce the darkness in her world and release Your healing balm!

Trauma call continues. Patients grapple with an unexpected diagnosis. Family members tackle challenging decisions. Lives change in a heartbeat. A barrage of sounds punctuate the background: ventilator alarms, medication drawers unlocking, phones ringing, stretchers rolling by, overhead announcements, physicians issuing orders and the unit doors closing. We are enveloped in a world of life-and-death decisions.

The hours whiz by. My 12-hour shift is over, and trauma day is drawing to a close. My brain reels with information overload while my body is weary beyond belief.

Lord, in the midst of today’s pressures, did someone see You in me?

At the end of the day, the Lord reminds me that His ears are open to cries for help from His children. God never sleeps. Life’s 911 calls always get through to Him.

As my head sinks to the pillow, I give thanks to God for the opportunity to minister to the needs of hurting people, and especially for the chance today to pray with my young patient in despair.

Once again I have realized a simple but profound truth. God comes to our rescue with these words of assurance: “Call unto me, and I will answer thee” (Jeremiah 33:3, KJV).

LYDIA PATE attends Bridge Assembly of God in Mustang, Okla.

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