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I am a senior in highschool and I am going into college for nursing. I have a passion for working with people, and wanted to fit my personal goals into my story.
The amplified sounds of sirens were my que to get ready. I hear them so much, that I wonder when I’m not going to hear them anymore. I was stationed in the C Wing, the wing where most people don’t want to find themselves, the Trauma Center. I stood by the entrance, on the tip of my toes preparing for what can come through that door. I hear the doors of the ambulance shut followed by the heavy fast feet and the four squeaky wheels of a gurney. A wave of commotion busts through the door.
An EMT ran in and spoke fast but clearly, “A single gunshot to the abdomen, there is a visible exit wound, 120 BPM, blood pressure is at 88 and is nearing 80 by the minute, we need to get him into the surgical room he’s losing too much blood.”
The rush of nurses into the surgical room was hectic, as it usually is. We had to unwrap the gauze that was keeping the pressure on the gunshot. A pool of blood developing having to be constantly drained to keep a clear sight of the wound. As I stood beside waiting for orders by the doctor, I felt helpless.
The waves of his heart rate were compressing, beeping faster and faster.
“Doctor, it’s spiking.” One of the surgical assistants told him.
“He’s losing too much blood too quickly.”
The chaos in the room stopped when there was a single long sound coming from the heart monitor. The flat line caused everyone to stop in place and take a breath. One second his heart was pumping but in a blink of an eye there was no pulse anymore.
It wasn’t often that we lost people, but we’re in the trauma center, we have to prepare ourselves for the worst. But can you ever be prepared?
Everyone changed into clean scrubs, trying to prevent the chance of contamination between patients, just as a precaution. The hardest part of this job, isn’t facing the patient during surgery or during the times that you’re caring for them, it is facing the family of the patient, those whose hearts you’ll have to break, by telling them their friend - their family, has passed away.
When I have to break the news, sometimes I put myself in the family’s position, what would I want to hear, how would this hurt me the least, because when hearing news like this, there is always hurt and there is always pain, it’s inevitable.
I prepared myself to walk into the waiting room. I prepared myself to see the distraught faces, but I walked into the room to see nothing I was prepared for.
The face of a little girl, her feet half a foot off of the ground dangling and swinging back and forth with a worn down stuffed bunny in her hands. My heart felt heavy and was getting heavier by the minute, it felt like I was storing all my tears in my heart.
Her little brown eyes looked up at me as I sat down next to her.
“Hi there, I’m Maeve, what’s your name?”
“I’m Alanna.” Her soft, high pitched voice seemed to make it harder for me to tell her.
“That’s a beautiful name, how old are you?” I asked lightly.
“I’m six… Where’s Mikey, I wanna go home.”
I took a deep breath. “Alanna, I’d like to ask you, where are your parents?”
She sat quiet for a little bit as she processed my question.
“They were hit by Jesus’ car and he took them home to take care of them. At least that’s what Mikey always told me.” She said.
“Well, Mikey sent me to come talk to you and he told me that he can’t see you for a long while.” I said looking into her innocent eyes as they began to water.
“But- he told me he would never leave me.” She said clearly in a quieter, shakier tone.
“He told me, he’s so sorry but Jesus needed his help with your parents.”
“So why can’t he take me to help my parents too?”
“Because they all agreed that you need to live your life and be the best you possibly can and be the strongest you can ever get to help them. Do you know any other family that can take care of you?”
“Auntie, but momma never wanted us to see her.”
I paged a coworker on my and asked to put me through to the police department. I asked for some information on her aunt. I stepped out and kept an eye on Alanna, what I heard from the station was not something I liked. “Jane Addams, 43, recently out of probation, alcoholic, history of drug use, many listed misdemeanors, seems like she doesn’t give us a break.”
“Is there any possibility that I could take Alanna home with me? Instead of sending her to a foster home? She’s only six and I don’t think she’s prepared for that reality.”
“I’m sorry to say this but you’ll have to be granted permission by her aunt, with that you need to bring this to court. As of now, she is the legal guardian of Alanna. We’ll have to keep her in the foster system until then.”
I took a deep breath and thanked the officer. I stepped back into the room where Alanna was now laying down on the chair laying her head on the stuffed bunny.
“Alanna, we have to-”
I was interrupted by the door slamming open. A skinny lady with long brown hair and hollowed out cheekbones opened her arms. Alanna seemingly uncomfortable, sat up, moved closer to me and hid behind my shoulder.
“Auntie Jane is here to bring you home with her!” She said loudly with her raspy voice.
“No, I don’t want to go.” Alanna whispered to me. She wrapped her arms around my arm squeezing me tightly from fright.
“Have you-” I tried asking questions but she kept interrupting me, screaming over my questions.
“I was called and was told I have legal custody, so let’s go Alanna.”
Jane seemed to not have a sympathetic bone in her body. I wanted to grab and put Alanna behind me, but I know she has custody. I can’t do anything. Alanna with tears in her eyes is carried out. I felt like screaming, I wasn’t upset, I was more angry. I couldn’t let her live with her aunt. For the rest of the night I was impatient, I tapped my leg nonstop. Once my shift was over I drove over to the police station.
“I need CPS to send officers to Jane Addams house, I spoke with Officer Williams on the phone, he knows the situation let me talk with him.” I said sternly. I was brought to his office and said it again.
“I want officers at that house checking that it’s okay for Alanna, you need a reason? I have them, look at her charges and history, she’s not fit to care for her.”
“Ms. It’s not that easy-”
“I need this, please.” I said with my emotions taking over me, making me want to fall on my knees and beg.
“Okay Ms. Listen, I will send officers over tonight but I’ll have to ask you to go home and we will resolve this tomorrow.”
“No, if it is deemed unsafe, I want to be able to bring Alanna home with me. I’m staying here until a decision is made. Listen, she doesn’t even have a bag of her things.” The officer nodded and I sat impatiently.
I was exhausted, a 12 hour work shift, ending at 10:00 PM. My mind started overflowing with thoughts. With all the gears in my head working, my tiredness faded away. Around 1 o’clock the door of his office opened and when Alanna and I made eye contact, she ran into my open arms.
I scooped her up and she giggled at me. I felt an overflow of emotions.
“There was an active presence of heroin and cocaine in her house...” Officer Williams said to me, “...You’re a determined woman aren’t you.”
I couldn’t let go of her and it was an amazing feeling, feeling her hug me back just as hard. I remember watching the fear in her eyes be carried away. I hated having the feeling of helplessness.
“Now Ms. we need to do the same protocol for you, we have to check your house and approve it. It’s going to be quite a process, and you have to remember parenthood isn’t an easy thing. Before bringing her home, we have documents for you to sign.”
“Give them to me, no worries at all.” I said as Alanna and her stuffed bunny sat on my lap. With no other thoughts in my mind I said yes. But am I really that ready for parenthood?