Thank You And Goodbye

May 14, 2011

Years ago, I worked with a nurse who was in an abusive marriage. For some reason, she picked me of all the nurses in our unit to be her confidante. (Perhaps because I, too am a domestic violence survivor.) I was working the night shift; I had two ICU patients in a double room at the end of the hall. It was about 4 in the morning, and I was sitting in the room charting and watching my demented little old lady try to pull out her lines, tubes, etc. Nancy came into the room and began speaking to me.

“I just wanted to tell you thank you,” she said. “Thanks for letting me vent, and thanks for letting me know I’m not the only person who was ever stupid enough to get into a situation like this.”

“What are you doing here at 4AM? You’re not supposed to be to work until 7!”

“I wanted to tell you thank you and goodbye,” she said. I thought that was pretty weird, but about that moment my little old lady managed to get her hand wrapped around her chest tube and gave it enough of a yank to pull it out. Nancy pushed the code light for me, and then I was so busy I lost track of her. She wasn’t in the room when we were staunching the bleeding, doing a stat chest x-ray and placing a new chest tube. And she didn’t show up at 7AM to relieve me. I ended up staying until 11.

By the time I went home that morning, we’d tried to call Nancy several times to find out why she wasn’t at work. Strangely, I didn’t tell anyone about her visit at 4. I’m not sure why I didn’t, I just didn’t. It didn’t seem right somehow. And afterward, when I was sitting in the church at her funeral, I was really, truly glad I hadn’t said anything. You see, when she visited me at 4 AM, she was already dead.

– Posted by Ruby Vee ; Allnurses


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