Loss in the Operating Room

Karen Nolan Rose By Karen Nolan Rose, 8th Oct 2013 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Health>Mind & Spirit>Work Issues & Stress

Have you every felt indigestion so bad that you felt your abdomen was on fire? Have you had your yearly check-up with full panel labs and x-rays. Tragedy does not have to happen if you are informed of what could possibly end your future if you ignore certain symptoms.

Compassion in the O.R.

The phone rang, 7:53 in the evening, “Get the Operating Room ready now, we have a leaking abdominal aneurysm in the ER and we’re bringing him right up.” All staff available jumped into high gear, each with a defined purpose. One of the nurses grabbed the large cold, stainless steel emergency AAA cart, always kept full of supplies available containing everything imaginably necessary for that particular case. On wheels and extremely cumbersome, the heavy cart was rushed it into O.R. number one. Everyone else in the area not involved with the case became aware it was a major deal because the cart was so heavy and in motion. It sounded like an enormous thundering train rolling across the cream color tiled floor, without the effort of an engine. The unfortunate familiar rumble turned everyone’s eyes into that direction and the mood of the operating room become dark and somber.

Anesthesia techs were running down the echoing hallway with their own emergency cart, which included difficult airway equipment and intravenous supplies. Another employee ran into the operating room with the Level II warmer. This Level II machine was critically needed for rapidly delivering fluid as well as life sustaining blood. I looked down the hall and observed the surgeon and anesthelogist, a vision not usually seen doing this particular job, pushing the patient who was aware, yet, gasping with each rough intake of air. I quickly assessed the man and noted he was in grave condition. He was pale, sweaty and moaning with deep dark sounds of gurgling air escaping his throat, We quickly entered the icy cold 65 degree room and a sea of staff swarmed to gently move our patient to the OR table. One was helping with IV’s, another placing a warming blanket over his legs while anesthesia and the technician attempted to begin a central line for large volume access. The surgical technician and assistant were off to the patient’s right setting up sterile instruments, while the surgeon quickly gave additional necessary information, noting time of onset and arrival to the ER. Aware that all in the room were doing everything possible for our patient, I knelt down under the sterile drapes to meet him face to face. He looked at me with tears in his eyes, vulnerable, and gasped “Help me nurse, please help me.” I observed uncontrollable fear in his face, all too familiar with my occupation of choice, yet I didn’t let on I knew. I could see, even though the drapes darkened the area, shades of deep sea blue with one eye containing, I believed, a small sparkle of gold. He kept twisting his head back and forth because air was so difficult to get into his swollen abdominal chest cavity. This in turn was making it next to impossible for the anesthesiologist to place the central line. “Karen, please get him to be still, I need him to be still or I cannot get the line in place.”

“Sir, we really need you to try and be still. Focus on me, look into my eyes and try to think of someplace wonderful you would love to be right now. If you focus on my eyes, I promise you will be able to breath easier and the doctor can place your very important fluid line. Would you like me to pray with you?”
He responded barely with a whisper, “Please, yes pray, I am in so much pain.”
“I know,” I said with deep compassion, “I want you to keep your eyes on mine, focus only on my voice and my words. Just please don’t move your head, ok?”
Softly he said in return, “Your eyes look kind and they’re green like leaves in the spring.”
His words caught me off guard and I smiled. “What is your religion, sir?” Are you a Christian?”
“Yes”, he replied barely audible, “but no church.”
“Have you received Jesus Christ as your savior?”
“Yes ma’am,” he whispered as a tear dripped from his left eye. I gently wiped his face with a sterile four by four.
“All will be well,” I said softly. I began praying, holding his left hand that was becoming cold and damp without strength. His eyes remained locked into mine and minutes which felt like hours later, he took his last breath. His hand relaxed in mine and the blue eyes slowly closed. Suddenly, I myself felt warm and blanketed with love, when I noticed the most peaceful vision I had not witnessed in a very long time. A tender smile slightly indented the edge of his cheeks reaching to crease the outer edge of his eyes, if only for a moment, and the rush of the operating room came to an end.

Risk Factors for Abdominal Aortic Aneurysms (also known as AAA)
1. Family History, higher risk in men
2. Smoking (cessation lowers the risk, the sooner the better)
3. Clogged arteries
4. High Cholesterol
5. High Blood Pressure
6. Sedentary lifestyle
7. Poor diet

Symptoms of AAA
1. If Aneurysm is intact, there are usually no symptoms
2. Sudden abdominal pain with throbbing mass
3. Feeling symptoms of heart attack (pressure, difficulty breathing, chest pain, shoulder pain)
4. Lower back and hip pain
5. Rapid decrease in blood pressure with lightheadedness

Treatments for AAA
1. Early detection is the key to survival; ultrasound screening for men ages 65 through 75.
2. Proper diet along with regular exercise
3. Regular yearly exams, alert physician to positive family history if known.
4. Medicine
5. Surgery:
a. If diagnosed and not ruptured, a graft procedure can be done. Depending on degree or severity, procedures involve opening abdominal cavity or endoscopic repair. Recovery is usually the outcome and if done endoscopically, some people are even discharged the next day.
b. If leaking or ruptured, call 911. Immediate treatment is necessary for any chance of survival.


Abdominal Pain, Aneursym, Chest Pain, Nursing, Prayer, Spiritual Comfort, Symptoms Of Aneursym, Treatment For Aaa

Meet the author

author avatar Karen Nolan Rose
I’m a Harley owner/rider, Registered Nurse, Writer, and am happily married. I love writing about everything and anything especially all that happens during the day concerning grandchildren and love

Share this page

moderator Steve Kinsman moderated this page.
If you have any complaints about this content, please let us know


author avatar Connie McKinney
9th Oct 2013 (#)

Karen, you gave this poor man some comfort when he needed it the most. You sound like a real-life angel of mercy.

Reply to this comment

author avatar Karen Nolan Rose
9th Oct 2013 (#)

Thank you for your kind title Connie. I pray with all my patients and am in the process of writing a book titled, "The Prayerful Nurse." It has sometimes almost cost me my job, but I do not stop as I am sure I was called by the Lord to do a little "love" work for Him. It is truly a blessing helping people every day. God Bless you.

Reply to this comment

Add a comment
Can't login?