Sunday, November 8, 2009

My day at work

Today (and yesterday for that matter) I took care of a very sick little boy who was dying. His family is going to withdraw life support tomorrow. Most people look at this as a horrific part of my job and I won't lie, it is awful. But whether I chose to work in the NICU or not, awful things will still happen. Even to wonderful families like this one.

Because I have this job, I went to work and spent all day Saturday and Sunday helping this family through what will be their last weekend with their son/brother/grandson/nephew. This little boy has spent every day of his life since he was born hooked to machines, lying undressed in a warmer, looking more like a "patient" than a baby. Knowing what was coming on Monday, this weekend I was determined to give the family back their baby boy.

I helped him have his first cuddle with his teddy bear, wrapped him in his first non-hospital blanket and today I surprised his family by having him dressed in a very cute onesie that a coworker helped me find. So when the family came to visit, they found their little boy dressed in his first outfit (that helped to hide all the wires and tubes), laying on sheets that were not hospital sheets and sleeping with his bear. I got two tearful hugs from two tearful Grandmas in thanks for the simple kindness of dressing their grandson. That is why I do this. That is why I love my job. How many people can really say they make a difference in the lives of others? How many can say they had the opportunity to help a family through the saddest of times in hopes of being able to make it the tiniest bit more bearable? How could I not be so incredibly honored and humbled to have that job?

Today I placed a grandson in the arms of his grandmother for the first and (probably) last time. I got to watch her rock her grandson, read him a letter she wrote to him and say a painful goodbye. And I cried right along with her. Those things that I did for that little boy today were tiny in the grand scheme of things. And they certainly won't change what will happen to him tomorrow. But it was my honor and privilege to take care of this baby boy and I can't imagine doing anything else with my life. Is this the fun part of my job? No. Did my heart break for this family? Yes. Did I spend most of my day shedding tears right alongside them? Of course.

But like I said these things will happen whether I do this job or not. My hope is that by choosing to do this I get the opportunity try and make horrible situations like these a little bit . . . What? I don't know. I can't say "better" because there is nothing good about it. But if I could give these people a few sweet memories of this boy. Take pictures, create a few special moments for them to remember, a chance to say goodbye in a way that may (hopefully) give them peace. . . I don't know what else to say. My job has the highest highs and the lowest lows. But even after days like today, I'm thankful for it.

Excuse me while I go hug the crap out of Brad and Raina and tell them I love them. Then I'm going to go to bed and have a good cry before I pass out, cause I'm freaking exhausted.



  1. You are amazing. There is really nothing more to say than that.

  2. Well, I certainly didn't feel amazing this weekend. I was just trying to do anything I could to make this family feel better. But I fell really short, knowing that the only thing that would make any of them feel better is not losing their child.

    My job reminds me who's truly in charge of things. Because it certainly isn't any of us.