While I was trying to come up with a name for this blog, I sat and thought about it, and came up just shy of diddly squat. The whole point of taking the time to write these stories was to share my real stories, so therefore the title had to also be equally real. So where did Nurse Daddy come from?
It was one of the worst days of my career I’d ever had. I was assisting a patient to the bathroom when they collapsed and became unresponsive. I immediately called for help, and we got them back into bed. That’s when the breathing stopped. It was my first Code Blue.
They always tell you in the CPR class that when the time comes, your adrenaline will be pumping so hard that you won’t think. You will just act and your training will take over. I am here to tell you that it is COMPLETELY TRUE. It just started. 30 compressions, 2 breaths, 30 compressions, two breaths. Crash cart is here. AED applied. No shock advised, continue CPR. Code Blue Team arrived.
We worked for 45 minutes. All the drugs in the crash cart had been used up. The monitor never showed anything other than asystole. The doctor called time of death. I was numb. Complete chaos doesn’t even begin to describe the scene. Syringes laying all over the floor, tangled lines everywhere, and there was my patient. Lying in the bed, tubes and wires hooked up, the cardiac monitor tracing an unwavering straight line. Dead. The doctor let out a sigh while he pulled off his gloves.
“Good job everyone. That was one of the best ran codes I’ve been a part of in a long time.”
Good job???? GOOD JOB!?!?!?!?! THE PATIENT IS DEAD!!!! WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN GOOD JOB!!!!!
Everyone proceeded out of the room. The Code Team returned to their respective units, my unit’s staff left to answer the multitude of call lights that had been going off during the code, and there I was. Left standing in the room all alone with my patient. I shut the door and began the long process of cleaning up the mess and initiating the post mortem process. My unit managers came in to check on me to make sure I was ok. I told them that I’d be ok, but inside I really wasn’t. There was a job to be done. I’d have to swallow my emotions and complete the task at hand.
Later that evening I told my wife everything that had happened. I felt that I had failed my patient, and therefore failed as a nurse. My wife comforted me and told me we did all we could do, and we will never know the reason why, but that it was just their time to go. I heeded her words and they brought me some comfort. I still was in a mental funk over all of it.
It was at this moment that my daughter spoke up. I had spent some time talking to her previously about what a nurse was and what they did. In easy to understand toddler terms, nurses were people who worked with doctors in hospitals and took care of sick people to help them get better. I drew the comparison to Hallie the Hippo who was the nurse on her favorite show “Doc McStuffins”.
“You work in the hospital?”
“Yes honey I do.”
“You take care of the sick people?”
“Yes sweetheart, that’s right.”
“Daddy…..You’re a good nurse.”
She leaned in and gave me a hug. I looked up at my wife who was beaming with pride.
“That’s right sweetheart. Daddy IS a good nurse.”
I was dumbfounded. Here was my little girl who at the time was barely able to talk, let alone form cohesive sentences coming over to me and offering her support. Hearing that come from her tiny squeaky voice carried with it some kind of cosmic, omnipotent force that told me all of this was not my cross to bear. My confidence was back, and I knew I was ready to get back out on the floor and do what I was called to do.
Having this reaffirmation from Mommy elated my daughter.
“Yay! Daddy is a good nurse! Nurse Daddy, Nurse Daddy!”
After that, it had clicked. Any time there was a stubbed toe, or a skinned knee, “Nurse Daddy!! I have a boo boo! Make it better, you’re a good nurse!”
I even became a nurse for toys! My daughter and our dog were playing in the living room when the dog stepped on her teddy bear’s arm. She was wrought with despair.
“Nurse Daddy! Nurse Daddy! Oh no! The dog hurt my bear’s arm! He’s got a boo boo!!!”
She was not completely satisfied until I had assessed Teddy and bandaged the arm. And yes, I had to wrap the arm with coban.
So there you have it! The Nurse Daddy origin story. Hope you all enjoyed it and we’ll see you next time!