Wednesday, March 2, 2011

No pain, no gain...

With my nursing heart strung up in pediatric and intensive care, I have spent much of my time in Mongu in the critical care unit. It is never overly busy, having just been established a few months ago and the nurses are still understanding the criteria of an ICU patient and when to transfer someone, but nonetheless there has always been work to do. One patient in particular has completely touched my heart, and I have care for her on and off the entire time here. After my first week with her it didn't look like she was going to make it, but a miracle happened over a weekend and she pulled through. This past week she wasn't looking well again, and miraculously she made it through another weekend. She has suffered through two surgeries now, and somehow this young woman has the strength I could have never imagined, and has pulled through some of the most horrific conditions. Knowing that she may pass at any time, I have made it my mission to give her the best care I can give when I am there, and advocate for her needs - the rest is in Gods hands. Today one of the doctors was assessing her, and it was heartbreaking to watch her face scrunch up and tears fall from her eyes (this girl never cries, she always is strong... so I knew when the tears came that this was serious). I convinced the doctor and nurses to go easy on her, even after laughing and stating that "surgeons are not meant to be gentle".... The only things within my power where to give her the most dignity possible, to keep her pain as minimal as I could, and give her comfort care (I washed her, changed the bed linens, rubbed lotion into her dry flaking feet). It was so hard to see her with so many tubes everywhere, and to know her prognosis was so severe, but it was also amazing to see the strength in her. That is one thing I have definitely noticed here -- everyone is so strong, and makes such an effort to pull through the tough times. Even as I was leaving the ward for the day, I saw a small child with half his face burned off which looked so raw and painful, but he was not crying. These patients are given absolutely nothing for pain either! I asked one of the doctors today for pain meds for my ICU patient and he said, "she does not need it, dont worry". Even after the weeks we have spent here, the strength of these patients still astounds me...... just sometime I wanted to share with you all back home.

Missing you all in Canada, can't wait to see you again,
Love Melanie


  1. Wow! I know that your patient will never forget you and I know you will never forget her! Thanks for letting us share in your experiences. Remember to take care of yourself.

    Love and hugs,

  2. Hello this is a test from Cranbrook BC.

  3. Hi Melanie, I am writing this for your gramma, she is quite emotional right now about the beautiful words you shared in your blog. She wants to learn how to use blog so this will be a short note.

    Gramma says "hope you are well, love you and look forward to more stories."

  4. As I am a Gramma-Nannie and I too felt all that emotion, straight from the heart. You are such a caring person. You will bring much comfort to all the people you will be looking after in your choosen career. You will indeed make a wonderful RN. Come home safely. Love from Nannie XXX OOOO

  5. Thank you for the comments :) I know that I will certainly never forget my patients and all of the friends I have met here... working as a nurse allows you to establish a close connection with people in an abnormally quick way, and it is very easy to become emotionally attached. And with the Zambian people I have met, who have such big hearts, it is impossible not to feel the love. I hope that I have touched a few lives here, as I know my life has been changed from this adventure.