Crash Call

First day on the general ward,

My legs ache, so much done

With more to do.

Six o'clock.

Observations checked and plans read.

In a flash, the alarm cries loud,

I sprint round the corner,

Infant lies blue and grey.

Doctor shouts,

"Dial the team. Paediatric crash in 32."

My heart jumps,

my fears confirmed,

I repeat, then slam the receiver down.

Then blur,

mother lies screaming, unconsolable.

"The twin, the twin"

Someone says,

pram wheeled over.

This is my job now.

I gaze into his eyes,

the thought

"What if his brother dies?"

I stand with him,

wrapped in my arms, trying to feed,

through all the chaos and alarm

He cries too.

The team, they perservere.

The minutes fly

yet drag in paradox.

I overhear the struggle and the nausea hits.

"Failed intubation, he's bleeding out."

Father runs into the ward,

I direct him to the scene.

He gently takes his son from me,

and holds him to his chest.

Other parents in tears run to me,

want to know more,

I bear the brunt of their emotion, trying to calm them

as I tremble.


Mother says

"He's suffering now, stop."

So in a moment, fraught tension falls to silence.

Having not heard this, I step forward.

Sister looks over.

"Is he gone?"

I can hardly speak, the words but a whisper

but my heart is pounding in my mouth.

"Yes." she says

nothing stops me,

the tears flow free, I run,

I'm followed by a nurse into the office where

I break.

So many questions, thoughts, images,

Emotionally worn,

I leave the ward, feeling like failure.

The suffering was theirs to bear,

the guilt gripped me.

Only after all the debriefs, teas and talks,

with a full picture did my head rest,

my emotions put to the test.

But I will be undettered,

I want to be there,

in the blur

holding families with tender care.

But I will never, ever, not feel.

If that day comes, it's the day I end.

I nurse with feeling,

or not at all.

The End

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