I personally know some pretty amazing nurses. In fact I have three sister-in-law’s who work a variety of positions in hospitals here in Minnesota (Amy, CRNA; Meggin, RN; and Shannon, LPN). I celebrate all of you! However on March 16, 2009 I believe one special nurse saved my life.
I was 36+ weeks pregnant with my daughter and experiencing mid-back pain, nausea, diarrhea, swelling, floaters, tunnel vision, tingling in my fingers/hands, and my urine was dark. I’d had these symptoms for several days (some of them for weeks). I went into the hospital four or five times prior to that day and was sent home with assumptions that I had “a bug”.
At 4 A.M. that morning I quite literally felt like I was dying. The words of the last intake nurse at the birthplace rung through my head, “If you feel something isn’t right, come in again.” So I listened to my instincts and I woke my husband to go to the hospital, again.
This time was different. The nurse listened carefully to everything I told her and had me give a urine sample. It was darker than the last time. She called for labs. This was the first time someone drew my blood.
When the blood tests came back my room began to buzz with doctors and nurses and terms that I didn’t understand. HELLP syndrome. I had never heard of it. Later I was told I was the most critically ill patient that they’d seen in over ten years.
What is HELLP Syndrome?
The name HELLP stands for:
- H- hemolysis (breakdown of red blood cells)
- EL- elevated liver enzymes (liver function)
- LP- low platelet counts (platelets help the blood clot)
It meant the back pain I was feeling was my liver and kidneys shutting down. It meant my platelets were too low to risk spinal medication. It meant my baby would be born quickly, that day, without drugs. I labored for 15 hours with another amazing nurse (thank you Deb, RN). They pushed pitocin and magnesium but my baby was stuck face up. The only option was an emergency c-section which was their last resort with my risk of bleeding.
My daughter was born early but she was healthy and strong. I spent 5 days on bed rest recovering with another set of amazing nurses. The following days/weeks/months were spent trying to wrap our heads around what had just happened and how close to death I was.
A team of people worked together to help us during such a scary time (thank you Doctor Anne), but no matter how I look at the moments before or after my admission to the birthplace, I believe one nurse followed her instincts and did what was needed to save my life from the start.
Thank you Kathy, RN, for doing your job and doing it well. I might not be here today if you hadn’t. You likely don’t remember me. But I remember you.
* If you or a friend are pregnant and experiencing any of the following symptoms please seek medical help immediately. HELLP syndrome is often unheard of, misdiagnosed, and deadly for the mother and/or baby depending on the time of diagnosis.
What are the Symptoms of HELLP Syndrome?
The most common symptoms of HELLP syndrome include:
- Nausea and vomiting that continue to get worse (this may also feel like a serious case of the flu.)
- Upper right abdominal pain or tenderness
- Fatigue or malaise
A woman with HELLP may experience other symptoms that often can be attributed to other things such as normal pregnancy concerns or other pregnancy conditions. These symptoms may include:
- Visual disturbances
- High blood pressure
- Protein in urine
- Edema (swelling)
- Severe headaches
Were you aware the the healthcare field is experiencing a severe shortage of nurses? Amazingly, there is currently a nationwide vacancy of over 100,000 positions, and that number is expected to grow to 800,000 by the year 2020!
The upside to this shortage is that the career outlook is excellent for the nursing field. And nursing is a highly regarded profession: a 2011 Gallup Poll announced that the public voted nurses number one for “honesty and ethical standards of various professions” for the eighth consecutive year. Nurses offer patients comfort, care and skill that is desperately needed in patient care. The time is now to encourage and celebrate this important role in our healthcare system.
Do you know a nurse who’s been important in your life? Read below for more information about how Johnson & Johnson is spreading awareness and celebrating nurses.
Nurses constantly put the needs of others over their own, which is why Johnson & Johnson has created an awesome opportunity to celebrate amazing nurses everywhere. From in-home caregivers to emergency room specialists, the level of compassion and attention we receive from nurses can make a world of difference.
For the past ten years, through the Campaign for Nursing’s Future, Johnson & Johnson has maintained a commitment to supporting the recruitment and retention of nurses nationwide. Nurses offer patients comfort, care and skill that is desperately needed in patient care. The time is now to encourage and celebrate this important role in our healthcare system.
The Amazing Nurses Contest celebrates and honors the dedication of all of the incredible nurses across the country. Many of us can recall a time when a nurse helped us or a family member tremendously, and via this Facebook tab, each one of us can share our story. Ten finalists will be honored on the Amazing Nurses Contest page and one winner will receive a trip to Los Angeles and a feature at the 2012 CNN Heroes: An All-Star Tribute. But hurry, the last day to nominate your favorite nurse is June 29th!
Disclosure: I wrote this review while participating in a blog tour by Mom CentralConsulting on behalf of Johnson & Johnson and received a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. All thoughts remain 100% my own. The medical information is directly from my memory and not medical charts, with the exception of the quotes from the American Pregnancy Association. Please consult a doctor if you have questions regarding any of these conditions.