April 1977 – Ohio, 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 grabbed the Code Cart from the nurse’s station and pushed it as fast as I could to Room 502.
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. The supervisor ordered 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. One nurse started compressions while another grabbed the Ambu bag, hooked it up to the wall oxygen, and placed it over the patient’s face to give respirations.
Dr. B barked at me, “Give 50 cc of Sodium Bicarbonate!” I grabbed the box, tore it open, screwed the plunger on to the large syringe, pointed it toward the ceiling, and pushed hard to clear the air bubble. Oh, No! I realized that I forgot to remove the needle cap as I sailed across the room. Dr. B glared at me. My hands shook as I grabbed the port of the 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 became acidic so the bicarbonate counteracted this. The Doctor continued to give orders and I pushed the medications through the IV while the staff continued respirations and compressions. After 30 minutes, Dr. B. said, “Stop…we lost her.” He turned and left the room.
Everything became quiet. The supervisor 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. Someone 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. But I began to dread 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…” Because of the havoc and chaos at my first Code Blue, fear consumed me.
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. I read in II Timothy 2:4-5, Who will have all men to be saved and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man, Christ Jesus. As I considered how God longed for each person to receive Him as their Savior, His peace swept over me.
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 as I taught the class about diabetes, I shared the gospel with the patients. Mary listened attentively and asked me to come to her room after class. She told me she also was a Christian and longed to learn more about the Bible. Since she lives close to the hospital, I offered to teach her, and she eagerly accepted. Every Tuesday morning I go to her home before work and we have the most wonderful time together in the Word.
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 did. 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 sobering 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)