The Art Of Nursing | Life Happens | Chidera Emmanuel Alajemba

Life Happens


Chidera Emmanuel Alajemba

I guess Chidera has a thing with maiden editions [Check out his interview on INSPIRE – a maiden one].

We decided to start this category/column on Care City Blog with his story. A narrative, very touching. As nurses, we are closest to the patient, and many times we have to work through hard emotional times; like seeing a patient die who you have been taking care of for a while – bonds formed, connections secured. And then, all of a sudden, there they are, dying before your eyes, and you, standing by their side, helpless.

Read and get inspired to do one thing – put in your very best when duty calls… Enjoy!

“Nursing is an art: and if it is to be made an art, it requires an exclusive devotion as hard a preparation as any painter’s or sculptor’s work; for what is the having to do with dead canvas or dead marble, compared with having to do with the living body, the temple of God’s spirit? It is one of the Fine Arts: I had almost said, the finest of Fine Arts.”

Florence Nightingale, first published as a eulogy to an unnamed nurse in Good Words

It was at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and on this day I was assigned to work in the male recovery unit. I worked together with my other male colleague Sameer – a lovely Indian colleague who has turned out to be a friend and brother.

I was still a Newbie in the department- endoscopy department. I was still learning the rudiments of operation in the unit. When I experienced the loss of my first patient.

The day ran smoothly as all the patients – outpatients and inpatients who came to the unit were properly recovered and discharged following the laid out protocol. And the moment came which marked my very first experience in the unit.

The patient an elderly man who from his accent is from the Caribbean. He is indeed elderly he was an inpatient in the Acute Medical Unit (AMU). We called the unit to bring him into the department for his procedure.

He was to have a gastroscopy, this is an investigation that requires an endoscopist passing a camera from your mouth through your throat into your stomach and up to your duodenum to ascertain the cause of your symptoms.

This elderly man was categorized under the bleed list. A bleed list contains patients who are suspected to be bleeding in their stomachs. And this requires high-level care to be rendered to this patient during this procedure.

All endoscopic gadgets are deployed for these cases. I received this patient from the Acute Medical Unit, we went through the admission checklist and everything was in place. These vital signs were all within range. I and my colleague took care of this patient till when he was taken into the procedure room. We gave our best!

Not too long from when he was taken into the procedure room the emergency alarm went off. Every health personnel within the radius of the unit swung into action to the response of the alarm.

On arrival in the procedure room, the patient was observed to have vomited coffee stain secretions from his mouth and was not quite stable. He is a DNAR patient. DNAR means do not attempt resuscitation. Maybe some other time I will talk about it.

He managed to pull through this first phase and the endoscopist declined to proceed with the operation. He was returned back to the male recovery room. We properly recovered him. The Medical Team (MET) were summoned they certified that he was fit for the procedure after running some investigation. But that was just the beginning to the end.

The patient was not even worried as he requested to know when he will be taken back for the procedure. When I was attending to him he said and I quote “Thank you guys for taking care of me.” That was going to be his last word to me.

To cut a long story short, he was taken back to the procedure room and this time the alarm went off again and he did not make it out of the room alive. It was indeed a day that started smoothly but ended with sadness as I felt terrible to see his family members grieve with a man who a few minutes ago said “Thank you guys for taking care of me”

Life happens to anyone, anywhere, and at any time!

We just have to hope it happens to us positively!

Chidera Emmanuel Alajemba

Staff Nurse

Featured Photo Credit: Daan Stevens | Unsplash


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