4.17.2008

Watching a man's face on his way to die

I'm watching "The Deadliest Catch" on the Discovery Channel and there's an episode on right now about a crab boat that capsized and in a matter of five minutes lost the boat and all of it's crew but one man who was able to don his cold-water suit.

They were interviewing a man from another boat that was nearby and he was clearly emotional and distressed. He said that one of the crew members floated right down the side of this other boat. He said that they tried to throw him rescue lines and such to no avail. He teared up as he said, "I saw his face. It's torture to know that you are watching a man's face on his way to die...and there's nothing you can do about it." That really struck me because I know what he means and that basic thought is what's been on my mind most of tonight.

This evening at work there was a code blue and the man didn't make it. That's hard enough as a nurse involved in a code, but it was compounded by the fact that it was the father of one of my fellow nurses--and she was there. In uniform. And helpless.

I've seen many, many codes and each one affects me in a different way. The thing that's the same is that I always walking away analyzing my every move and wondering if there was anything that I could have done differently. Most of the time (like tonight), the answer is no, there isn't really anything I can think of that would have changed the outcome. It was what it was. But it still humbles me to know that I was in the presence of death and the Holy Spirit. I know that sounds a bit morbid, but it's true. And to know that I didn't know this man from Adam--I walked in after he was already on his way out, to a room with a ton of people in it--I couldn't speak to him. I have no idea if he was a Christian. And even with doing everything I knew how to do, he went anyways. I threw all of my life preservers and I could only watch a man's face on his way to die.

Thank you Lord for allowing me to be a nurse. Thank you for the skills and the knowledge that you have given me and for the opportunity to help people. Thank you for the times that you have allowed me to actually save someone's life. And thank you also for the times (like tonight) that you remind us that it is still YOU that is really in charge of the code. You are all wise, sovereign, omnipotent, merciful and loving. I pray for the comfort of the family I saw huddled together in tears tonight. Amen.

1 comment:

Allison said...

Wow! These are the times that it would break my heart to be a nurse. But I think that's why God chose you for this profession. You bleed compassion and love -- not because you know someone, but simply because they are a human being. Those are traits that I wish more nurses had.

And I love this line about our loving Heavenly Father -- "You remind us that it is still YOU that is really in charge of the code." So true....for all of us, no matter what the "code" in our life at any given moment happens to be.

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