Nurses Week!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Nurses Week!

it's no secret that i'm not a nurse.
lemme tell ya that's one profession that never crossed my mind.
my mom said when i was a baby i used to gag at my own diapers.  baha.
and trust me i can't even clean up dog crap without losing it.
and after having two children, ayi there just some thing i don't want to see of other peoples.
and well maybe because i kinda have no tolerance for sissys.  it's be really hard for me not to say, ok suck it up, this doesn't hurt.  ha.
no thank you.
but for the one out there who are - THANK YOU!
i have to share this story about a good friend of mine's sister.
fair warning you might want to grab a tissue.....

Jennifer Aycock has seen a lot of horrendous and heart-wrenching things in the 20 years she’s worked at Barnes-Jewish Hospital.
But Marcus Engel being wheeled into the emergency room on the night of Oct. 9, 1993, stands out.
Engel, who was 20 at the time and living in St. Louis, was riding in the passenger seat of a friend’s car when it was T-boned at Hampton Avenue and Chippewa Street by a drag racer running a red light.
The car that Engel was in barrel-rolled several times, ejecting him from a window. He landed and skidded on his face, crushing every bone in it. All his teeth were knocked out, his jaw was hanging off, and one of his eyeballs was knocked out of its socket. He had a swollen aorta, dislocated hip and a double compound break in his lower left leg.
Engel was conscious when he arrived at the hospital, and one of Aycock’s jobs as an emergency room technician was to keep him that way.
So she put her hand in his and for the next several hours, she asked him over and over to squeeze it so she’d know he was awake. She also repeated two words that would be imprinted on Engel’s brain from that day forward: “I’m here.”
Engel was blinded by the accident. He spent several weeks at Barnes-Jewish Hospital undergoing 350 hours of surgeries to repair his smashed face and broken body. He stayed in touch with many of the nurses and doctors who cared for him during that time. But he lost track of Aycock when he was moved from the emergency department and had to let go of her hand.
Engel began learning Braille while still in the hospital. He returned to college as soon as he could and went on to earn a master’s degree in narrative medicine at Columbia University.
Fast forward 20 years. Engel is now the author of four books on compassionate communication in patient care targeted to health care workers. He tours the country speaking at health care facilities and nursing schools, using his experiences at Barnes-Jewish Hospital to illustrate his message. And everywhere he goes, he distributes silicone bracelets imprinted with the words “I’m here.”
“There are hundreds of thousands of people who know of Jennifer, and how a simple human presence needs to be the cornerstone of health care,” he says.
Aycock, meanwhile, became clinical nurse manager of the Barnes-Jewish ICU.
One day in February, one of her colleagues told her about a “Moments of Truth” presentation he had just attended, and the amazing speaker who had been in a car accident that smashed his face and left him blind; how he was brought to Barnes-Jewish, where a young woman named Jennifer held tight to his hand in the emergency department and kept saying, “I’m here. I’m here.”
Aycock was stunned. When she heard it was Engel, she began rattling off details of that night so long ago.
“Yes. Yes. Jenny, he talks about you. You’re in his book,” she said her co-worker told her.
The next morning, when Engel returned to speak a second day, the ‘Moments of Truth’ coordinator approached him with a surprise: They’d found his long-lost Jennifer.
Instantly, the tears began to flow.
Aycock cried. The coordinator and other nurses cried. Engel’s wife, Marvelyne, cried.
“It was like Les Misérables,” said Marvelyne Engel.
Marcus Engel was so stunned he didn’t know how to react.
“I’m very good at holding on to important connections in my life, and Jen was the one I couldn’t hold onto,” he said. “I didn’t know whether to hug her, kiss her or hold her hand. She was this incredible snippet of my life. But what was I to her all these years later? Does she care or even remember me? It was an awkward dance.”
Marvelyne Engel recalls that he kept saying, “It’s you. It’s really you, Jennifer.” Like he was trying to convince himself.
Aycock had become almost mythological to Marcus Engel and those he knew, said Engel’s stepson, Jordan Adams. He sometimes wondered out loud if he’d hallucinated a woman named Jennifer.
“Memory is fallible,” Engel says. “But I didn’t know how I would have remembered her name or that she was 20 (years old) and studying to be a paramedic.”
A few weeks after their reunion, Marcus Engel, Marvelyne Engel, Jordan and Garret, a guide dog, visited the newly renovated ICU at Barnes-Jewish Hospital so Aycock could give them a tour.
Engel had a lot of questions for her: What was going through her head when she saw his ghastly face on a stretcher?
She was sad, she said, but awed that he was still alert.
What were her duties in caring for him besides keeping him alert?
To cut off his clothes and hook him to a catheter.
She told him how she refused to leave his side while he got a CT scan, despite her colleague’s protestations.
“They knew I wasn’t playing, so they gave me a lead vest,” she says. “I knew in my heart and gut that I could not let go of this boy’s hand.”
“Thank you for not,” Marcus Engel said.
Marvelyne Engle said, “You saved his sanity. We wouldn’t have the Marcus we have today if it wasn’t for you.”
The two chatted about their lives, their families and jobs. They talk about how when Garret retires as a guide dog in a few years, Engel will give him away to a good home, preferably a friend.
Aycock’s eyes lit up and, in a split second, she made a decision.
“I’ll take him,” she blurted.
Engel smiled.
“OK, then. He’ll be yours.”
i mean seriously - how awesome.  so again, thank you to all the nurses out there!


Anonymous said...

This gets me EVERY TIME! The story is amazing. Jenny was telling us about it at Austin's baptism. We were all glued to the story in complete shock. Tears for sure!!

Jenny is amazing!

Kim Luke said...

I have chills reading this! So incredible! Amazing story!!

Sara Simpson said...

Holy moly. I mean I know you warned us but geez that one really got me. Seriously crying my eyes out. What a wonderful story.

Kacie said...

Sitting at my desk crying! Love this story!

Adrien said...

Great story!!