This term in grade 6 humanities, we have been learning about short fiction stories and different types of writing. in the mid-term, our grade split up, and went to 7 different care homes for elders and interviewed the elders. Our goal was to interview them about their life and ask questions and write it all down. I interviewed this lovely lady named Jean and she told me all about her life one thing she told me that really stood out was to always do your best to get back to the top when things push you down and to work hard in things you love. This is the short story I wrote about Jean called, Dear Diary…
This is the story of a patient I met one night during one of my scrub nurse shifts that I will never forget to this day.
Originally, I wasn’t supposed to work that night but they were short on doctors and nurses. The patient’s name was Sarah Lockwood and she was 13 years old. She came into the ER on November 30, 1988, with very strong chest pains. Her parents were there with her and trying their best to help her with the strong bulging pains.
The surgeons took her in for a CT scan after giving her pain medication. I was preparing Sarah for the scan in the scan room and she started to talk as best as she could. The only words she said were parents, no, surgery. It wasn’t exactly clear on what she was trying to say but before I could ask anything, the surgeons signalled me to enter her into the big machine. From what her scans showed, she needed surgery. Desperately.
Her scans showed that she had 2 arteries that were blocked and she needed a Coronary Bypass Surgery. We moved her into a patient room and I was told by the surgeons to stay in the room with her and check her vitals while the surgeons told Sarah’s parents what was going on. In order to perform surgery, we needed consent from a parent. While I was checking her heart rate, I suddenly heard a sharp Sarah looked like she was completely aware of what was going on. “ What’s going on out there with your parents?” I asked.
“My parents..” she stated. “My parents don’t believe in any sort of medical procedures or surgery. They believe that the world can work its magic and make others survive.“ Before I could say anything, the parents came back into the room and told Sarah,
“Everything’s fine, we’re going home now and we need you to cooperate.” Sarah didn’t look like she was going to. After the remaining doctors and nurses left the room, the doctors told the other nurse and I that Mr. and Ms. Lockwood had other beliefs of surgery and that they were going home.
“But she’s not going to make it!” I shouted.
“We tried convincing them, trust us.”
I turned around and walked into Sarah’s room and asked Mr. and Ms. Lockwood to step outside. “Hello, I’m Sarah’s nurse and I just wanted to confirm with you what is happening to your daughter.” There could still be a chance I thought.
“We know exactly what’s going on.” Mr. Lockwood replied.
“Your daughter needs a Coronary Bypass Surgery. That’s the only way she will ever live.”
“I’m sorry but we can’t allow that.” Mrs. Lockwood stated.
“You know that your daughter is in a critical condition right?” I wanted to help Sarah so bad. She even wanted the surgery because she knew she wouldn’t make it without it.
“We know so stop asking us” I knew if I carried on with the conversation, the situation would’ve gotten worse. I watched Mr. and Ms. Lockwood as they signed discharge papers and as they left the building.
It was about three in the morning and it was the time of the week where all of the attending surgeons weren’t on call for the night and the surgical resident and intern surgeons were on call. I was doing check-up’s on some patients and suddenly I got a 911 page from a resident. The pager read: ER PATIENT SARAH LOCKWOOD EMERGENCY 911 – DR. SWEET. I quickly ran into the ER and found Sarah in great pain and her parents standing there beside her worrisome. “What happened?” I asked the resident. Dr.Sweet just stood there and shrugged so I asked the parents the same question.
“Sarah was sleeping and then we woke up to this frightening scream and drove here as fast as we could,” Ms. Lockwood said with fear. I knew what had happened.
“ Mr. and Ms. Lockwood, at this point, Sarah’s heart had been trying to work it’self with 2 blocked arteries for too long. She needs the surgery or she’s not going to make it.” I hated to tell them this. “There is nothing else I can do to help your daughter,” I said.
“No matter how much we are against this, we have to allow it, only because she needs it.” Mr. Lockwood said sternly.
“Thank’s dad,” Sarah said using her last breath…
“She’s crashing!” I yelled “We need to take her the O.R now” I paged the cardio attending but no answer. I paged the 2nd cardio attending, no answer. “Can you do this?” I asked the cardio resident. “I think..” she replied.
“You say you can or else you won’t and this will all be for nothing. Say you can do this.” I needed her to do this.
“I can do it,” she said confidently.
After that everything felt like a blur. It might have been that it was four in the morning and I hadn’t slept in two days, or that it was all so stressful. But what I do remember was that at one point during the surgery, Dr. Sweet looked up at me and told me that she didn’t know how to do part of the surgery. I told her to say “you can do this” to yourself because I knew she could do it if she told herself she could.
The next morning I woke up in an on-call room, got dressed, and realized that Sarah was alive. She was completely fine and we had successfully performed the surgery without any complications. Sarah was already awake when I came to check on her. “Thank you so much Doctor,” Sarah said. “No problem, always fight for what you think is best and don’t give up”
To this day I am still in touch with Sarah and I still think back to that day and smile.
Jean grew up in London, England and she said her favourite thing about London was going to Winsor Park with her dad and the never ending history. Jean was a scrub nurse for 45 years and she actually travelled all of Europe, Australia, and New Zealand while working part-time at hospitals as a scrub nurse. I based this story off a patient she had once, a little boy who needed his leg amputated because it was infected but the parents wouldn’t allow it no matter what. Jean did end up convincing the parents because the little boy started to code. Jean also said they are still in touch over email.