April 1977 – Midwest, USA – Orientation
I had just completed my class on handling emergencies including cardiac arrest when I heard the overhead page, “Code Blue, Tower 502, Code Blue, Tower 502, Code Blue, Tower 502!” I was standing at the nurse’s station, so I grabbed the Code Cart and pushed it as fast as I could to Room 502.
Ann, another nurse on our unit had started to give respirations to Eleanor, a small gray skinned elderly lady I had just talked with the hour before. The doctor and nursing supervisor ran into the room behind me. Miss S., the supervisor, quickly told me to give the medications while she recorded everything the doctor ordered. We grabbed the board off the back of the cart, lifted the patient and put it under her back. Debbie, RN started compressions while Ann grabbed the Ambu bag, hooked it up to the wall oxygen, and placed it over the patient’s face.
Dr. B barked at me, “Give 50 cc of Sodium Bicarbonate!” I grabbed the box with the large syringe, tore it open, screwed the plunger on to the syringe, pointed it toward the ceiling, and pushed hard on the plunger to clear the air bubble out of the syringe. Oh, No! I realized that I forgot to remove the needle cap as I saw it go sailing across the room! Dr. B glared at me. My hands started to shake as I grabbed the port of the patient’s intravenous line, pierced it with the needle of the syringe, and began to push the fluid with both thumbs on the plunger as hard as I could through her line. Her body quickly was becoming acidic so the bicarbonate would counteract this. The Doctor continued to give orders and I pushed the medications through the IV while Ann and Debbie continued respirations and compressions. After 30 minutes, Dr. B. said, “Stop…we lost her.” He turned and left the room.
Everything became quiet. Miss S said, “I’ll call the family while you and the aide wash her body, put a clean gown on her, and clean up the room. Ann removed the code cart from the room and took it down the elevator to the supply department to exchange it for a new cart.
After the aide and I cleaned up Eleanor’s body, I stood alone beside her bed gazing at her. Her face looked relaxed. Her body was still warm. This was the first time I ever saw anyone die. I didn’t know her well, so I don’t know if she had a personal relationship with Christ or not. Silently I prayed, Dear Lord, Use me for your glory and honor. I don’t know how many days I have left here on earth, but You do. Help me to always be ready to meet You. Thank You for saving my soul by your precious blood. Amen
June, 1977 – Evening Charge Nurse
I have now completed orientation and feel like the biggest adjustment is over. It came to the point where I was daily dreading when the time arrived for me to leave for work. The pressures and responsibilities almost overwhelmed me because all I could hear in my dreams at night was, “Code Blue, Tower 5, Code Blue, Tower 5…” I was so fearful of resuscitating anyone because of the havoc and chaos at my first Code Blue.
I poured out my heart to God and realized I must trust Him because He is the one who controls life and death, not me! As it says in II Timothy 2:4-5, Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus. How God longs for each person to receive Him as their Savior, but He will not force Himself upon anyone.
Now I enjoy going to work every evening, and rest in the Lord to give me the wisdom and strength in every emergency, allowing Him to handle it through me! I am just the glove on His hand. How delightful to rest in Him!
And now, the exciting part… the Lord has opened the door for me to teach a Bible class with one of my former patients! One day when I was teaching the class about diabetes, I was able to share the gospel with the patients. Mary listened attentively and asked me to come to her room after class. She shared with me that she also is a Christian and was longing to learn more about the Bible. She lives close to the hospital, so I offered to teach her, and she eagerly said, “Yes!” So every Tuesday morning I go to her home before I go to work and we have the most wonderful time together in the Word.
I was preparing for tomorrow and studying Genesis 22, where Abraham was willing to offer up his only son, Isaac, in obedience to God. He believed that God could resurrect Isaac and was willing to totally obey God in simple faith. I so desire to always obey God like that!
Since those days, I have been involved in many Codes for cardiac arrest including infants in labor and delivery and adults when I worked in dialysis and the nursing home. Some nurses enjoy emergencies, but I never have. I am more comfortable having the difficult conversation with elderly terminal patients about their choice of whether or not they want to be resuscitated, and when to choose hospice care. It is a sobering thing to watch someone pass into eternity. But it is truly delightful when I know the person has received Christ as their Savior, and he is welcomed home into heaven above! What grace of our dear Savior to save sinners like us!
Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.
Psalm 116:15 (KJV)