First day on the general ward,
My legs ache, so much done
With more to do.
Observations checked and plans read.
In a flash, the alarm cries loud,
I sprint round the corner,
Infant lies blue and grey.
"Dial the team. Paediatric crash in 32."
My heart jumps,
my fears confirmed,
I repeat, then slam the receiver down.
mother lies screaming, unconsolable.
"The twin, the twin"
pram wheeled over.
This is my job now.
I gaze into his eyes,
"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.
"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
So many questions, thoughts, images,
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.