Derek AchterfeldtEng 10110/14/96Remembered Event RevisionBeing an orderly at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital was a fun job thatrequired a strong heart. The hospital was a great place for me to experiencethe beauty of life and the unwanted death of humans. Throughout my year ofemployment at the Community Hospital, I was able to enjoy my work by interactingwith many kinds of interesting patients. Without the hospital, I would havenever imagined to be carrying on conversations with most of these people.Aiding curses required many long exhilarating hours of work each day, but Iloved experiencing the daily recovery of patients, in which I was able to besome part.The night of August sixth became a different story. Just as my shift wascoming to a normal close, a nurse’s call light from one of the patient’s roomshad illuminated.
On one of my many repetitive walks down from the station to apatient’s room, I had nothing else on my mind except for my evening plans withfriends. I was extremely happy that this would surely be the last call light Iwould be answering that shift. As I entered the room, a crying relative cameyelling at me. “He is going, something happened, do something, do somethingnow!”, demanded the distressed lady standing right at the bed side. I had seenthis man before, although I had never spoken to him. I had know idea that hewas not in a stable health.”All right, all right,” I replied in frustration, not knowing exactly whatto do first.
I looked at the 84 year old overweight male patient. He appearedvery pale with his brown colored eyes half shut looking desperately at me forsome sort of help. My mind was becoming blank, as I could not believe what Iwas about to experience.
In training we were told this could happen from time,to time, but I never thought with me. We were also told how to deal with thedeath of a patient, although I never thought I would be a part in this type ofsituation. Regardless, I could not think straight.
I could not move as Istarted to panic. I looked around before I noticed that I was the only helpavailable. I became scared. I then all at once, ran out of the room, screamingfor help to any one that would be able to hear me, “Code Blue, Code Blue, room219 now!” Running back into the room, I stepped behind the bed and pulled thecall light on again. The high pitched sound was louder than ever. I stoodthere waiting, it seemed forever not knowing exactly what I should be doing.The young lady relative was looking at me expecting that I would bring this manback to life.
I wanted to do just that, but I did not know exactly how.Finally, two registered nurses and then a third came veering into theroom.”What’s happening?,” the first nurse exclaimed.”The man just stopped breathing,” I announced to every one.
I reported tothe nurses that I was unable to find a pulse and the patient’s respiration ratecould not be seen. As I backed off two nurses came racing up to the patienttrying to locate a pulse. “Nothing, nothing,” a nurse concluded as two of thembegan performing CPR. Within five extremely long minutes, the oldest nursewhispered, “It’s too late.
“Right on the spot, the nurse had pronounced the patient dead. I couldnot believe this scene was actually taking place. For the first time I saw ahuman die right in front of my own eyes. The death to me did not sink in myhead, until a nurse ordered me to call the funeral home, while she would betalking to the family. When I hung up the phone I was again in the room alonewith a corpse who seemed to just stare at me. The room now seemed to carry adifferent indescribable scent that I will never forget. Nurse Jane then walkedin the room.
She wanted me to clean the body before the coroner would arrive.Before cleaning the body, I first had to remove the IV line out ofpatient’s left arm. Removing the IV itself was an experience. I did notimagine that a dead person would still bleed. Being unprepared for the streamof blood, a puddle splashed out onto the spotless, white tile floor. I grabbeda towel immediately and began applying pressure to the IV site.
After a fewminutes, I tried sticking a band-aide on the cut, but blood still came gushingout. I was about to remove the oxygen tubing from the patient’s nose when Ifelt that this man was still alive and watching me. I became extremely nervous.
It looked as he was analyzing our hospital procedures. I started trembling as Iremoved the bloody towel off the bed. His eyes were still half shut as I triedto avoid any eye contact. In my mind I was telling myself that this man wasjust sleeping and not to worry.Ten minuets later, a coroner arrived pushing in an old black stretcher.He asked me to help him lift the body up with the under sheets onto a hard board.The coroner then hid the body under a thick vinyl plastic sheet.
When the bodywas removed from the room I was still not at ease. I felt that maybe I shouldhave done more, or done something differently. This was the first time I haveever had an experience with a dead body on the job. Hospital workers always say,you encounter many, but your first one is always the unforgettable. Afterexperiencing this event, I spent a lot of time with myself thinking. Thinkingabout how precious life really is. I began to think of how important it is forme to experience everything that I want to, for one day I would run out of time.
Life and death became more than just words to me. They had a special meaningwith a lot of motivation behind them. From that day on I have spent more timespelling flowers and having fun, because I know one day I will not be able to.Category: English