I was reading a blog post tonight, by an “ER” doctor in America. It was about someone who worked in their hospital who he considered a hero. It’s amazing how many people find their own hero in hospitals. I can’t say I have one specific hero. Because that would be a lie, I have several. But two people in specific stay in my head. And they worked/work on my respiratory ward.
Last April, I was in hospital with an asthma attack brought on by a hefty chest infection. At this time a friend of mine was quite unwell mentally. She had cut herself quite badly on her arms, and had needed steri-strip closure in A&E. Normally I’m able to do this at home to save her the torment of A&E and all the stigma attached to her problem that comes with visits for such things. But being in hospital I wasn’t able to do it, and due to her autism, she has serious issues with other people doing it because they don’t do it right, the way she wants it. At this time, she was on crutches due to joint problems, and when the nurses in A&E had put her back together, it wasn’t done in a way that she was able to use her crutches right. Unfortunately at the time her head wasn’t in a very good place, and before coming to see me on the ward had taken all the steristrips off her several, deep cuts and put a blue paper towel or two over the cuts. She came to visit me on the ward, and when she took her coat off, I could see the blood on her jumper. My mind automatically went into overdrive. “What do I do? How do I fix this? Who can take her somewhere else?” I called the ward sister over, and explained what had happened. I’ve never seen anyone not be taken aback like she did. She just said “Well, we need to sort this really then don’t we?” and went off to find a dressings kit and a trolley. While she was doing this, another member of staff on the ward came over and noticed what had happened. And just as G* (ward sister) pulled up with a dressings trolley, R* (nurse) came over with another one. Carefully, and gently they put T* back together. Now because of T’s need for things to be straight, she wasn’t happy with the way it had been done, and because I’d done it so many times before, she wanted me to do it. At the time I had an IV in both hands and was on oxygen, so you can imagine I was in a bit of a tangle. I was also shaking like a heroin addict going through withdrawals. But G and R sat with me and helped me do it. They stayed 45mins after their shift ended to help me sort it. They didn’t bat an eyelid, or make any stupid comments. They changed the dressings for her for a few days after and kept an eye on the site. They went above and beyond their job. T wasn’t their responsibility. They could’ve just shipped her off to A&E, or even worse had pysch come up. But they didn’t. It takes someone special to do something like that. I know nurses go into the job because they’re caring, but there’s caring, and then there’s going that extra mile.
Unfortunately G has now left and R has been on sick leave for quite a while. But these two people will always, in my eyes, be heroes in their own right.
*Names changed to protect identity.