Friday, January 23, 2009

Heart Donor

At UCLA it is not uncommon for transplants to be performed. I think you could almost say it is routine for organs to be transferred from donor to recipient. But today, after 12 hours on the pediatric oncology unit, I became somewhat of a donor. Because tonight, at 7:15 p.m., I left the floor and left a little bit of my heart behind.

My patients and their families were amazing. Some of them have been patients for months. Some have been in and out of UCLA their entire lives. Today I became a part of their hospital memory. I played soccer in the hallway, figured out a way to create a train with an IV pole, a little red wagon, and a bed sheet, took vital signs, ate a chicken fajita made by a grandmother in a hospital room (on a George Foreman grill!), made beds, played cars, watched medical personnel sprint down the hallway in response to a code blue, took strawberry ice cream to a little boy who had come back from radiology and couldn't think of anything in the whole world that sounded better, sent specimens to the lab, and prayed for a family who lost their precious little girl.

Nursing is an emotional roller coaster unlike anything else I've ever experienced in my life. There are triumphs and tears, and everything in between. By the grace of God I know without a shadow of a doubt that I can trust Him for everything that happened today. I can trust that His sovereignty extends to the lives of my patients and their families, and that that little girl is safe with Him in a place where "code blues" don't exist and morphine isn't needed for pain. And because I can trust Him, I am headed for bed so that I can (Lord-willing) get up in the morning and do it all over again. There will likely be tears and hopefully some triumphs, but most importantly there will be prayer. Lots and lots of prayer.

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