My ICU nurses. I can name them all.
Despite the delirium, I remember all my ICU nurses. I had one dedicated nurse per shift. They are angels and I want to acknowledge them here because I couldn’t at the time.
Rentia, a lady with a motherly touch, was the first person I saw when I woke up. With no exaggeration, she was at my beck and call.
I had raging thirst after the anaesthesia. It’s a normal side effect, but with a nasogastric tube down the throat, it’s a bit hard to take a drink, so Rentia moistened my dry lips and gave me a few tiny sips of cold water. It felt heavenly.
My bed was at the end of the ward, next to a wall with a clock on it. I think the clock was broken. I could have sworn I slept 30 minutes at a time but only 5 minutes had passed. I thought to myself:
ICU is going to be a long hard slog at this rate.
It seemed to be permanently 1 o’clock (am or pm? I don’t know).
Next it was pretty Lisa with her long brown hair, very blue eyes, pink lipstick. She made me feel like a human again. She brushed my hair, put lanolin on my lips and said I looked good (LOL!)
I had a sponge bath. OMG. Is there a word stronger than agony? When the nurses rolled me onto my side my broken sternum felt like tectonic plates rubbing together.
Oh, I’ve found the word. Excruciating.
What a lovely face to see when you feel like rubbish! Seena never stopped smiling. She was positive, serene and encouraging. By 10:30pm, I was sitting in a high-backed chair next to my bed watching TV. How was that even possible? Seena. That’s how.
It was extremely difficult to breathe. My lungs had been deflated during the operation so they had shrunk to the size of fists. I was encouraged to breathe as deeply as I could to reinflate my lungs and reduce infection risks. Sitting up is apparently good for this. But sitting was painful. My tectonic plates preferred to be horizontal or at an angle.
By now, the clock seemed to be working properly and I was able to sleep for 2 hours at a time.
Amy worked on my second night. All I remember is that my digestive system was very noisy and it talked to her all night. Was I was imagining the looks she was giving me? Hey, I blame the drugs! For everything.
Here’s a nurse I could imagine hanging out with. She had a fabulously chic, short, platinum-white haircut. So groovy! By now, I could breathe more easily and talk to her. Emma accompanied me out of ICU to the cardiac care ward. A memorable moment in another post.
I used to ignore those car bumper stickers that say things about nurses. I don’t anymore.