Today I was at work to get through all the mandatory training updates that I have to do each year - the pain management ones, fire and emergency training, infection control - all the usual subjects. The final one of the day was basic life support and it was at this point that the day started falling apart.
Let me go back a few months....we had a patient who I had nursed on a number of admissions and each time this wonderful woman came through the ward doors I was always keen for a chat to find out how life had been going for her and her boys (she had two boys, one of which was autistic so we had a bit in common). She had been a historian and had PhD for which she had worked on tracing acient langugaes - how they travelled to different geological locations and how they developed over time. She was amazing.
2:22 on a Thursday morning there was an emergency resus code on our ward which I was involved in and which resulted in this womans death. It was the first time I had ever performed CPR outside of a training scenario. It was awful. During the resus we applied an AED which is an automated defibrilator and we did shock her. It was awful.
Fast forward to today and as soon as the instructor ripped open the packed on the AED I had a lump in my throat. A big one. Then I heard the automated voice and I wished an enormous hole would open up and swallow me whole. I closed my eyes and all I could see was this dead womans eyes, the way her jugular line would ooze every time we compressed her chest. The phone call I had to make. I felt absolutely ill.
I walked out of the room, head spinning, eyes wet and feeling just awful. Composed myself, went back in and finished the session but as soon as I got in the car I burst into tears and cried all the way home. Cried for the loss of a woman who was amazing, cried for two little boys who will have a lifetime of mothers days, birthdays and christmas celebrations without the woman who bought them into this world. It sucks. Life sucks.