Day #89.2: Vulnerable.

Being a nurse isn't easy. More specifically, being an emergency room nurse...isn't easy. I'm not saying all areas of nursing don't suck. I'm just saying sometimes my job...sucks.

I have seen people at the start of their lives...after their first fews breaths of life in this world. However, I have seen more people breathe their last breaths in this world. 

It is physically and emotionally draining and exhausting.

My experience with death, unfortunately, isn't lacking. My first memory of death was my grandma. She died when I was 12. Basically, right in front of me. She was talking one minute. The next minute I was screaming for my mom, 30 seconds later, I watched my mom give her mom CPR while we waited for the paramedics to arrive. I could go into more details, however, I won't. Let's just say, the memory is vivid.

I'll never forget the first patient who died on me. One minute he was awake and looking at me, the next minute he tongued his breathing tube out, 30 seconds later, his heart stopped. His family hugged me tightly for a long time as I sobbed and said "I'm so sorry". They were stronger than me that day.

Then there was the day when two of my friends and co-workers, had to sit me down and tell me my best friend died. I started working in the ER in 2008. That summer I was working a Saturday night shift, when a trauma came in. The trauma was my best friend, Brandon. When he came in, I had no idea who it was. CPR was in progress. My co-workers worked on him, probably for longer than they should have, knowing he was my friend. He was 26. He wasn't wearing his seat belt. He was also drinking. 

Two of my friends, took me into a consult room and told me "Brandon died". Probably one of the hardest things they had to do and probably some of the worst words I have ever heard. I screamed through my cries. I know what it feels like to be the family or friends, that are sat down and told their loved one died. I have been on that end. I am more often the person on the other side, working on the patient who is dead or dying, attempting to keep them alive. 

A middle age man came into the ER last summer. He was awake, he was talking. He was having a heart attack, severe enough that he had to receive treatment quickly. Hubby was working and I had him go with me to transfer this patient to the cardiac cath lab. His wife walked with us. Before we took him into the procedure room, we stopped to let her say good-bye to him. They kissed quickly, said I love you and separated, fully expecting to see each other in a few hours. 

He died within that hour.

Hubby and I went outside, processing what had just happened. He looked at me and said, "We were with her...we were there the last time they saw each other. We were there when they said good-bye." For some reason, this hit home and I freaking lost it. I cried for the next 2 days every time I thought about it.

My grandpa died this summer. He was awake and alert, several hours before he died. He made jokes. He flung (Yes, literally FLUNG) his dentures out of his mouth and said "I don't need these." He died a few hours later. He made up his mind. It was time. 

Today a twenty-something year old man came into the ER. He walked in with his father. He talked to me. He joked with me. I saw him from the moment he walked into the ER. I saw him the moment he unexpectedly died just over 4 hours later.

He was 2 years older than me. He walked in. He was talking and joking. He refused a wheelchair at first.

I'm not reflecting on these experiences to be morbid. I have dealt with a lot of emotional experiences in my short career. These are the ones I vividly remember. Somehow, just writing about them...makes me feel a tiny bit better.

Nursing is not easy. For some reason, people go into this career thinking it's an easy way to make money. Maybe for some it is. For most, it isn't.

It's okay to be vulnerable sometimes. Sometimes you need to let it all out. Thank-you for listening to my rambles :)

Until tomorrow, 

Big, Beautiful & Broke... Chelsea


  1. You're still stronger than many other people, thank you for being a nurse and making a difference!

  2. This is deep your a very strong lady to take all those emotions on, I know I wouldn't be able to do it. I lost my grandma when I was 9 and I don't think I've ever fully recovered from losing her. As an adult I look back on it and it's like she was just there. Thank you for doing all you do in your career the world needs passionate and caring people like you <3

  3. Dear Chelsea, Thank you for sharing. Your job is more than I could handle. I'm not a big death person and would rather avoid the subject. At the same time, writing helps you heal. Through all of your stressful moments at work, be sure to keep writing. I have other stress relief tips, if you're interested. Esther Norine Designs

  4. Your post is so deep and heart wrenching. I know that I'm not the kind of person cut out for nursing but I thank my lucky stars that there are wonderful people like you who are. I am so sorry for your losses.


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