Lorena Valencia

Submitted 2022-09-21

As I clock in, through the double doors I can hear the emergency alarms. The monitor screaming, the patients family being escorted outside the room. While I walk in I immediately without hesitation grab the crash cart. The patient was going into cardiac arrest. As a CNA, my job is to aide the nurse and medical team at a day to day basis. That day as many days in the ICU they needed my support, my team assistance, the knowledge I have acquired as working in this critical setting. Counting compressions, connecting the patient to the AED machine to shock and perform CPR as we lose his pulse. Time is going by slow as the resident is saying 1,2,3 turn the patient is now on his side as I’m placing the CPR board, compressions restarted. By that time the room is full, the nurse emergently hanging medication and another yelling and writing down doses. The doors are closed but in my peripheral, like a fog hearing the family cry, scream to their loved one. As I’m there hearing, feeling the patients ribs crack, I somberly hear clear the bed “stand clear, shock advised” . We regain a pulse, the numbers in the monitor stabilize. What seemed like hours. Was only minutes. Every minute counts. The doctors leave to console the family. The room slowly clears of chaos and what is left is me attempting to console what is my friend the nurse assigned to the patient. I offer my help. Blood in my hands sweat on our heads we make the patient comfortable to leave the rest in the families hands. The resilience , fast acting decision making experience the ICU has given me are something I acquired with time.

Even though going back to school was in my plan , I never effectively followed through with it. Life unexpectedly has a way of guiding us towards a path we have been afraid to endeavor. My grandfather fell ill. The day I dreaded as a medical professional. My skills, my knowledge were used on someone my heart was heavy for. Walking into my grandparents home surrounded by my family members in disarray attempting to help my grandfather. By looking at him, counting his resperations, seeing his blood pressure, I knew he was fully going into septic shock. As he grew somnolent and lethargic , time was against us. Suddenly my instincts changed as second nature strength and resilience from working ICU came over me. As my uncles drove my grandfather to the E.R. I found the closest wheelchair and with struggle, safely got him inside, fully reminding him that I was beside him. Keeping him calm and whispering what’s next. Hoping he hears me, holding his hand. Walking him through step by step still with hope that he would answer me. Finally, escorted to a room. The monitor screaming, beeping, alarming and just by looking at the numbers I knew the clock was ticking. Tic toc. Every minute mattered. His O2 dropping.

The nurse having the IV to control his blood pressure. As results started pouring in from labs his counts were ICU status. As I sat there the team knew of my medical knowledge, as they consoled me they were honest with me with the outcome. Making matters worse, the unfortunate Covid restrictions left me alone. Absorbing everything will have to be repeated to my family, mentally preparing myself for the unknown. Asking all the appropriate questions. Staying vigilant and alert to any change that can happen at any instant. Thus a glimpse of hope, no more drastic beeping it was like a calm came upon the room. My grandfathers blood pressure was controlled, the antibiotics, the medications were working as his dream like state he finally talked to me. Telling me I was born for this. Progressively his color started changing. A sense of peace came over me. The numbers in the monitor started looking better as my eyes watered. This feeling I knew to well . My adrenaline turned to was now raw emotion. Crying in relief and not desperation. At that moment my knowledge and fast reactions saved my grandfather. The medical team said to me “if you waited any longer…”. I knew what that meant. Due to the E.R. , the medical team, and my fast response my grandfathers life was saved. Life experiences change us and mold us. Personally never thinking in my the darkest hours of my life would confidence and perseverance come along.

As I progress in my life throughout this year, jumping full force on a career I feared and lacked confidence in. Receiving my acceptance letter in August was a stepping stone in my journey. Excited to grow and reach my full potential as a LPN. Knowing that all the training, life experiences will only benefit myself and others around me. My personal journey will affect my community as I will care for people around me as if they were my family. With protection, assertiveness, and hard work mentality advancing my education with nevertheless bring more principal and significance in my life.

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