On Losing My Niece

June 10, 2017 Phantasm Darkstar 0 Comment(s)

It was a normal day for me. I was working at the lounge, busy with my laptop when I had a phone call from my cousin.
As I answered the phone, kuya asked me where I was. "I'm at the mall. Just blogging." The next thing that came out of me was, "What?! How?! Why?!"

Apparently, he told me to rush to the hospital because our niece (from our other first cousin) was being intubated already. Kuya told me that if there was any person who understands what is happening, it would be me because I'm the only nurse in the family. For the close ones, at least. 
Just some quick background about us: I grew up with my first cousins, in our grandfather's house. All our parents were busy at work so we developed really close ties with each other like siblings. 
It was raining hard and the traffic was really bad. At that point, I was already getting frustrated. I wanted to BE THERE. While in the car, my ate (mother of my niece) kept on calling me.
I kept on asking for updates. She didn't know what to do because she does not understand what was happening, and she keeps on hearing a lot of medical jargons, from the doctors asking for her permission to do things to my niece. Things that are very, very painful. "Lalagyan daw ng IO! Nagshoshock daw sya!" (She's in shock. They will insert an IO/Intra-Osseous). At that point, I knew that her status is very bad. Shock is when there isn't enough blood circulating through the body and her blood pressure drops drastically. IO is done only during extreme cases. It is when doctors will insert a huge needle through the bone because they couldn't insert a catheter into the child's vein. It's painful to have a flu shot. Imagine having a huge needle into your bone, and you are only 5 months old. 
As I arrived in the Emergency Department, I saw her. She was intubated, unstable, IO through her right knee. I took over the bagging and maintained her oxygen levels. After a while, the doctor started to ask ate's permission for a cut-down. They asked if they can start a line on her neck, into the jugular vein. I was afraid she can't handle it, I told my ate not to allow it. Instead, I advised that they only do it on her arm. 

She consented. They brought her into the operating room and we waited outside. From this point, I was very worried that something might go wrong. I couldn't see her. 
After a few minutes, I saw her being brought out of the operating room and being rushed into the PICU (Pediatric Intensive Care Unit). I followed, and there I saw her. Eyes half open but not moving. They didn't find a vein in her arms, the doctors insisted to the cut-down on her neck. I can't imagine how painful it is for her. Needle into the bone, tube into the throat, a catheter into the neck vein. And then we saw her ECG. From what we saw, the doctors started code blue.
And from this point, I knew what was coming. My ate asked me what was happening. I couldn't say a word. How do I tell her that my niece just had a cardiac arrest? That her heart stopped beating? I moved my head, like how you would say no. And that's where she started to get it. With a tube in her mouth, the nurse bags air into her lungs, another one compressing her chest, one and a half-inch deep. 1..2..3.. the first cycle of CPR becomes the fifth, and so on. 
More than an hour has passed. It's not my first time to lose a patient. I've been in this scenario countless times. But it's my niece this time that I'm watching. Hundreds of questions in my mind, Why is this happening? How do I explain this to them (my family)? How will my ate handle this? And, as I have anticipated, the doctors finally gave up. They declared her dead and discontinued the resuscitation.
At that point, ate started to yell and plead to everyone not to stop. She then looked at me and told me to continue the resuscitation. "Cess! Ituloy mo! Meron pa! Meron pa!" Damn. It was very difficult. "Ate, wala na talaga siya." 
The things that happened after that was confidential and we're keeping it within the family. We baptized her before she was sent to the mortuary. 
This was our last photo. I was very excited. My first female "pamangkin." I was the first one to know when ate got pregnant. I was there on some of her check-ups during her pregnancy. During the time she gave birth to my niece. Until we lost her. I was there when she was dying. From being a pink baby, until she got pale, heart beat stopped, her lips turning blue, body stiffening, from a live baby to a cadaver. I was all there. 

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