Mechanical Ventilators, Hope & A Miracle | The Art Of Nursing | Ayinla Daniel

There he was, lying on the bed, ventilated, his head twice its normal size, due to the massive hematoma that was in his head [an Intracranial Hematoma].

“Is he going to survive?” I kept asking myself. The story I am about to tell you is a true-life story. My colleagues from work will know better. We all had the opportunity to nurse him, and we gave our best, believe me, it isn’t easy working in the Critical Care Unit as a registered nurse or a medical doctor, you can ask around, it’s back-breaking. It messes with your emotions {many nurses & physicians who work in the critical care unit don’t know this, they are oblivious}.

He was mechanically ventilated for a very long time [more than a week]. We had to surgically create a hole in his neck, called a tracheostomy, to enable us to ventilate him longer.

Prolonged mechanical ventilation through the mouth [Intubation] will cause permanent damage to his voice box [larynx] and we do not want that to happen; the voice box is a very important structure in the respiratory system, check out its functions here.

Day after day. Night after night. We kept giving him our best. We believed and had hope. His father and mother were always by his side, I was impressed by the strength & courage these duo showed.

Asking us questions all the time about how he was doing. We kept giving them our best answers and reassuring them that he is going to be just fine.

There’s something about nursing. You just have to know how to give hope, even though sometimes, you know that the road ahead is going to be pretty stormy, you have got no choice but to give hope.

That’s your job, a very big part of it that many people don’t see, they don’t appreciate it, because it’s the hidden part of what we do as nurses.

Miracle, let me call him Miracle for the sake of privacy.

With time, we got him out of mechanical ventilation, and he began to breathe on his own, without needing the help of a ventilator.

Amazing though. The hematoma was still there, disfiguring his head, but he kept making improvements daily, small improvements, small but very significant ones.

With time, the hole in his neck was also closed. It heals up from inside, and in no time, the voice box begins to perform its physiological functions [some patients may have their holes opened for a longer time or even for life, depending on a lot of factors].

Oh, lest I forget, Miracle was a member of staff. And people had very sweet things to say about him. I had never met him before. I was meeting him for the first time in the Critical Care Unit, and he was my patient.

When he finally opened his eyes, after we had brought him out of the induced coma, for days, he wasn’t able to recognize anyone, so we thought.

The brain was still recovering from the trauma of the accident. Miracle was hit by a fast-moving vehicle while he was discharging his duties.

The folks who were with him on the day of the accident did not believe that he was going to make it past the first night.

But he did. He made it past the first night, the second, and today…

Severe Traumatic Brain Injury was our primary working medical diagnosis.

Though today he talks [gradually] and can recognize those around him, he still has not been able to fully use all his limbs. He eats, smiles, and is on his way to full recovery, I believe.

When I went to pay him a visit, while I was on break during one of my shifts on my floor, seeing him call me, made great rushes of joy flood through my veins, I could feel my head swell with excitement. I was extremely excited! He made it!

He said: “Ah, Bros.”

He recognized me. In that state of his [while we thought he was not recognizing anyone], he recognized me, he recognized us.

Nurses have to be extremely careful with the way they behave around unconscious and critically ill patients, and of course the dying.

In this short listicle, I wrote recently, I talked about how Critical Care Nurses, Physicians & Critical Care Professionals ought to behave around unconscious & dying patients.

In Critical Care Nursing/Medicine, we are not blessed every day with so many soul-lifting moments. Many times, more times, we have to deal with broken relatives who thought that their loved one was going to come out of the Critical Care Unit alive, at least.

So, when we see moments like this one, miracle moments, we try our best to make use of the energy that flows out of it – It’s refreshing.

As I write this piece, I can remember, vividly, Miracle’s Mother & Father, speaking hope over his battered body. Telling him in Nigerian pidgin, that he is a strong man, that he was going to make it. And he did make it.

the Critical Care Unit is not a very good place to keep patients for a long time. There are so many ugly complications that can set in. But thank God for Miracle, he somehow escaped. Hope created a shield around him.

Miracle had enough love around him. From his parents, his brothers, his friends, his nurses & his doctors. We all stood by him, and we will keep standing by him until he regains full use of his body again.

I know I have not fully captured the whole story in this piece, others have experienced this same story from very beautiful perspectives. And many may just see it as another time at work. But as for me, I dare not see it that way, never!

I have vowed to never let any experience in life leave me empty, without learning something important and valuable from it. Especially now that it has pleased God to place me on the path of one of the most exciting, mysterious & magical professions on earth – NURSING.

I was going to write a thousand words, and I think that at this point, in this paragraph, I have almost hit my target.

Let me leave you with these beautiful quotes about hope. I hope you will find hope in these words.

“Hope has two beautiful daughters; their names are Anger and Courage. Anger at the way things are, and Courage to see that they do not remain as they are.” ~ Saint Augustine.

“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” ~ Dale Carnegie.

Hope is a renewable option: If you run out of it at the end of the day, you get to start over in the morning.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver.


Read the first essay on “The Art of Nursing” here.


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