These events happened over 18 years ago. Some content has been changed to protect the innocent and the guilty. Searching for positive changes in the health care industry. We are not a number, and the patients are not a number. I’m not good at lying. My eyes go to the left or look downward, and I start to stutter and pause. There is no eye contact, and I fall deep into ...

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Florence Nightingale was among the first nurses who started wearing a nurse’s cap. The cap was derived by nuns and represented those caring for the sick. Hair was neatly tightened into a bun and covered by the cap. Back then becoming a nurse was typically seen as a female profession, but men were allowed to become nurses too. In 1930, only one percent of RNs nationwide were male. Growing up in the 1950s ...

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Jim Henson, creator of the Muppets and Sesame Street, died at the age of 53. His diagnosis was toxic shock syndrome/streptococcus pneumonia — a deadly bacterial infection. We were on vacation when we heard the news: The genius who opened the imaginations and hearts of our children ... maybe you too ... was gone. We were devastated and saddened that the magic Muppet man had died. One year later, our ICU admitted ...

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I know what you’re thinking: She’s cold-hearted, cruel, and unkind. But am I? Or are you? Grandma Lilly is 87-years-old and in the ICU. She’s on a ventilator with her wrists restrained to the side of the bed. Grandma can barely see because her eyes are puffy: scleral edema. And her heart races: 140 beats per minute. Her blood pressure is low and Levophed and vasopressin drips are ordered. Her family can’t talk ...

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This is based on a true story. The name and some details of the events have been changed.  She was the smarter nurse who floated to ICU, to CVRU, to CCU. She could handle any crisis: balloon pumps, CRRT, open-heart patients, respiratory distress, code blues — anything. Sandy was quiet. She didn’t really have any nurse friends. She was a loner. But we could depend on her to take the most difficult assignments. She ...

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My name is Lucy. I have stage IV liver cancer. I wanted everything done — even though the doctors told me this disease is terminal. My family, my church and my friends were praying for “the cure.” Though I believed in God and the hereafter, I wasn’t ready to go. 74-years-old with beautiful children, grandchildren, and a great-granddaughter. I woke up confused. In the background — wherever I was — I could hear ...

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Jenna had it all: She was smart, pretty, inquisitive and popular, with just one more year until she graduated from high school. She was at the top of her class and couldn't wait until high school was over, and she could become a pediatrician just like her dad. One day, Jenna would be an MD. "One day at a time," her parents always told her, even though she wanted to rush to ...

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It was a long December. A few years ago, my husband of 37 years got his death sentence: recurrence of liver cancer with mets to his lungs and lymph nodes. He had a “Whipple” — a surgical procedure for pancreatic cancer — on Dec 24, 2015, and the surgeon discovered liver cancer too. So it was a 16-hour surgery. We were told he might die on the table. His eyes haunted me as ...

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Patsy loved playing bingo every Wednesday night. Her boyfriend of three years loved watching her daughter Jenna who was a tiny and pretty six-year-old her momma called "princess." Even though they weren't related, Jenna called Patsy's boyfriend "Uncle Billy" at her mother's behest. And Uncle Billy made Jenna shyer and quieter than she usually was. He'd walk in on those Wednesday nights and demand a big hug and kiss on the cheek ...

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Years ago in a 15-bed acute medical-surgical ICU, the nursing supervisor contacted me about a special assignment. Once I knew what it was, I said, “Absolutely.” We were about to admit a patient in his 40s with end-stage AIDS/HIV. He asked to be a DNR, but his MD wanted to admit him to the ICU for close monitoring. But the patient had a special request. Even with IV antibiotics and pain ...

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