I have officially hung up my stethoscope for the last time. The ER Gods were not kind to me in the beginning of my shift, but it ended okay, and I got the validation that I needed from one special family.
A 14-yo, new onset seizures came into the ER. He had another seizure in the room while I was taping his IV. He came out of it on his own and was resting, so I went back into the room to speak to the family. I explained the situation to them and pulled knowledge from my past experiences to reassure them. I told them that if they could see the silver lining, epilepsy is not the worst disorder for a child to have and in many cases children can be treated with medicine and live perfectly normal and healthy lives. His mother stood up and was tearful as she said,
“That is exactly what I needed to hear right now in this moment”
and then she gave me a hug. I told them that I would not ever forget them or this experience as today was my last shift in the ER, and they made it memorable. As I transported the patient to his acute care bed and said my goodbyes to the family, his dad stood up and shook my hand and gave me a hug. He wished me safe travels and thanked me for taking care of his son. I gave his mom another hug and left.
One of the hardest parts about coming to the ER for me was the lack of relationships that you so often build with families when you work on the floor. Instead of caring for the same family for twelve hours, we often see several patients in the same room throughout the night. Coming from a job where I literally watched babies grow up into toddlers and go to school and working with families that would invite me into their homes and birthday parties, the ER was a drastic change for me. I always believed that if I could make a difference for just one family, then it would all be worth it. Over the past two years, I have received my fair share of acknowledgements from patients and families, but tonight alone gave me the validation that I needed. I came to the ER for a reason, and tonight I truly believe I made a difference.
The past two years would not have been possible without my amazing team. Thank you all for the laughs and the memories. Thank you for every Ativan, every IM Benadryl and Haldol, every chest compression and Epi, every EKG and IV start. Thank you for every Tylenol and Motrin and Zofran and every bucket enema. Most importantly, thank you for ever laugh and cry and smile and shoulder and hug that you have given me. Thank you for coming to my aid so many countless times, including today. Thank you for taking me in as a baby graduate nurse and turning me into a real-life ER nurse. Thank you for believing in me, even when I would not believe in myself. Thank you for showing up with me every single day and fighting the crowd by my side. Because no day would ever be possible without you. And I will take you with me wherever I go. And you will all forever be in my heart. My WCEC family. Thank you.