3: The Beeping of a Miracle

3: The Beeping of a Miracle

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Miracles Happen

The Beeping of a Miracle

When you’re a nurse you know that every day you will touch a life or a life will touch yours.

~Author Unknown

I stuck my head into the driver’s window to find a woman slumped forward and lifeless. She was not breathing. Then I noticed flames bursting from under the hood. I summoned the closest man to assist me, and together we pulled the woman from the burning car. We then laid her on the asphalt a safe distance from the flames. She still was not responding, but thankfully the movement had been enough to open her airway and she was now breathing.

I would begin nursing school later that week, and the realization of my inexperience in facing a crisis began to overwhelm me. I gratefully turned my very first patient over to the emergency crew when their helicopter landed. She was soon on her way to the hospital. An officer at the scene approached me for my account of the situation. I told him, “I begin nursing school later this week, but I was not ready for this.”

After my nerves settled, my spirit began to soar. I knew I wanted to help others in their time of greatest need.

Once settled into my training, nursing became my passion. I remained truly passionate for many years after. However, as time passed, the reality of doing more with less took a toll on my enthusiasm. I felt as though the needs of my patients were simply tasks to complete by the end of a shift. My love for hospital nursing seemed to be fading.

Taking an assistant manager position on the hospital’s medical unit was a welcomed break from the physically and mentally heavy workload of bedside nursing. My new duties consisted of checking on patients. I was often present for the nurses shift report every morning, and would choose which patients might need a little extra attention. Basically, though, I decided whom I would round on.

One morning, the night nurse gave the particularly sad report of a patient, Ms. Brandon, who came in via the emergency department during the early dawn hours. An unfortunate victim of an accident, she suffered irreversible damage to her right arm and required amputation. Sadly, the patient had lost the use of her legs from an accident many years prior. Now, she would have to function with the use of only one limb. Despite hearing her sad case, I fully intended to avoid Ms. Brandon’s room during my morning rounds. That was, until I heard the beeping of an unattended IV pump. Any good nurse knows a beeping machine must be attended to.

I caught the sound of a soft whimper as I entered room 403. The patient lying there was Ms. Brandon, a woman in her early fifties. Her grotesquely disfigured arm was propped on a pillow to her right. I paused and asked if she was okay. While wiping the tears from her eyes with her unaffected hand, she replied, “I will be okay. I don’t have to worry about losing my arm, because I know God is going to take care of me.”

While looking straight at me she said, “Did you know a nurse saved my life?” She quickly explained further. “I mean after my first accident fifteen years ago, a nurse pulled me from my burning car. She helped me until the helicopter arrived to take me to the hospital. My family tried for a long time to find the nurse without any luck.”

My heart fluttered. “Were you driving a black Monte Carlo?” I asked. She innocently responded, “No, it was maroon.” Then the atmosphere in the dim room became surreal, and I realized that of course a dark maroon car could have looked black to me.

“Do you want to meet the nurse?” I asked.

“Yes! I have always wanted to meet that nurse!” she gushed.

“Ms. Brandon, I am that nurse,” I said as I offered my hand.

Before I could say another word, she burst into tears again. This time they were tears of joy. I explained I had tried to find her for weeks after the accident and feared she was dead.

My encounter with Ms. Brandon that day was a miracle for both of us. She was blessed to know that God was still with her despite her recent misfortune, and would keep her close. I, on the other hand, felt a renewed sense of wonder and excitement for my beloved profession. Since then, I know my nursing career is a serendipitous adventure, and miracles can happen when you least expect it!

~Suzie Farthing, RN

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