I have been a nurse for 25 years at a large, inner city, level 1 trauma center in Pittsburgh. My entire career has been dedicated to taking care of patients like this. Never in my worst nightmare did I ever think I would become one of them. Being a patient is indescribable, especially when your medical resume reads like an epitaph. It was humbling, humiliating, embarrassing, painful, incredibly frightening at times, and an overwhelmingly eye opening experience that has forced me to look at the nurse that I was.
Once I was conscious, and able to absorb the chronicles of my autobiography for the previous 2 1/2 months, I needed time to feel, to really comprehend what happened to me. The anxiety arising from the inability to breathe was unspeakable and exhausting. It is forever embedded in my memories. Before I knew it I was intubated, sedated, and placed on ECMO. The nightmare had begun.
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