Compassion before judgement

Stories - PillsWhile I was in nursing school I woke up in excruciating pain. My heart was pounding and I couldn’t move.

I felt like my abdomen would explode. All I could think to myself was “I can’t miss class” and I had no choice.

I ended up in the emergency room. After labs and tests everything came back normal.

The only abnormal signs were a high heart rate, high blood pressure, and 10 out of 10 pain.

The ER physician told me they would admit me for pain control. Eventually the admitting hospitalist came in to speak with me.

He was a bit rude and explained there was nothing wrong with me and it was his preference for me to be discharged and not to take up a bed.

He left the room and I heard him talking to the RN and the ER physician that he felt I was drug seeking and I was faking it.

“My wife and family stuck by my side.”

The RN and the ER physician talked him into keeping me overnight for observation.

Later that night after I was moved up to a medical surgical floor I suddenly felt really sick.

My blood pressure tanked and averaged around 78/45. I was tachycardic and diaphoretic. That’s all I remember.

My wife then had to experience a group of medical staff rushing the room and making her sign a bunch of paperwork to get me sent to ICU and place a central line.

I developed septic shock. I spent a few days on pressers, insulin, steroids, antibiotics, etc..

The mystery illness

After a couple of days of my wife not knowing if I would make it I turned around and eventually was sent back to med surg.

It took me while to start eating again, it took me a while to start walking, and it took me a while to gather strength again.

Eventually I was well enough to go home. Believe it or not that Admitting physician did discharge me and even apologized for judging me. I gained a lot of respect for him that day.

I did have to take a semester off from school to take care of my health. I did go back. I did graduate. My wife and family stuck by my side.

There were times my wife had to bathe me, and for lack of better words wipe my butt. I could have gave up. My wife pushed me to get back to school and to work hard and finish. I did, I graduated. I thank her everyday for that.

It easy to judge and label a patient. It’s easy to lose compassion once you labeled them a “drug seeker”.

Compassion is your greatest tool as a nurse. Don’t lose or abuse that tool.

Because you never know if that one time you do you can make a mistake and that patient could become severely ill or worse, lose their life.

That experience will be burnt in my memory and I will always put compassion first.

I hope my story will help you do the same as well.

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