Tonight we had a session with the chaplain. After work the nurses were invited to stay and meet together. It has been a hard month and we have witnessed so much death lately like everyday. So many younger people, too. Today I lost a 44 year old who was fit and healthy. But she had global anoxia from lack of oxygen to her brain when she coded. Two days ago, a 30 year old.
The chaplain just wanted us to share what we were feeling and how we were coping. Some of the feelings were anger, sadness, helplessness, and feeling like no matter how hard we tried… people keep dying.
Once the covid patients can’t breathe on bipap any more,, they get intubated. Once they are intubation, paralyzed, and proned, it’s a long haul to death. I mean we try, we do all the the things, give all the meds, but 9 times out of ten, they don’t get off the vent until they die or we withdraw care.
The nurses, including myself really are emotionally and spiritually exhausted. The families that we get to know and get attached to are the hardest. As we try to offer hope until the end when we know deep down their loved one will most likely not make it but only to go home with Jesus. This goes on for several weeks.
They say we have resilience, but do we really? Or do we just hide our feelings and suffer inside like rats in a cage. Many of us question our purpose. ICU nurses are supposed to heal the critical stuff and send them on to the next stage of healing.
With Covid we can’t do that.
The chaplain reminded us that we are right where we are supposed to be. Our compassion and love is what’s helping the families to get through.
I hope so because I have never cried with families more than in the last 2 years. Even more so just this month.
I pray God that I am doing some good somehow, because watching patients die everyday is killing me inside.
The session with the chaplain and listening to other nurses helped me know I wasn’t alone. It was a little healing for my spirit as we supported each other and tried to lift each other up, as we cried together.