I was reading posts on Facebook the other day and came across the following status update written by Chris, a former nurse colleague:
Please forgive give my rant….
Yesterday was the 70th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz and I thought about this all day.
In 2001, I was working nights in ICU in Miami. Just another night, just another patient, just another old guy in the bed. He had on this old raggedy bathrobe over the IV in his arm. His robe kept getting tangled in the IV tubing and the IV pump kept alarming and alarming and alarming.
So frustrated, about 3am, I told him in my very-tired-night-nurse voice that he had to take his old bathrobe off. He looked at me and said “Do you hate German people?” “Huh?” He then rolled up his ragged bathrobe sleeve to show me his prisoner number from the concentration camp tattooed on his arm.
I was annoyed by a bathrobe covering his IV and his bathrobe was covering up his life history. In all my years of nursing, this was my devastating moment. He talked about kindness and forgiveness. Never once mentioned the atrocities certainly upon him. Only talked about the kindness of the prison guards who would sneak morsels of food to him, despite fear they would be punished.
I will never ever forget him and I am so ashamed that don’t remember his name.
I worked with Chris in the ICU when I lived in South Florida. No matter how bad or busy the night, she was one of those nurses who would have you laughing so much that your abs hurt the next day. A nurse who seemed to always have it together, didn’t take things too seriously, able to find humor in difficult situations. The status update affected me because this nurse was the comedian of the unit writing about something serious and moving.
After reading it I started thinking about my nursing career and my “that one patient”. After 27 years in the profession there still is a patient who still enters my consciousness every once in while and will be the topic of a future blog post.
So reader, do you have a “that one patient”? Share with us in the comment section.
Be careful not to include specific patient identifiers such as names, birthdays, account numbers, room numbers, dates and locations.
I look forward to reading about your “that one patient”.