The Pulse Oximeter

By Marilyn Lucero • November 13, 2018

Eleven years had passed. I looked at her in awe and amazement while she sat down on her hospital bed. She is still that lively and cheerful woman I knew. She is still that someone who sees the world in its colorful hues. A peculiar someone who enjoys life despite its inconveniences. Yet, she is already far from that new and clumsy nurse volunteer we both were when we applied in this hospital eleven years ago.

"Do you still remember about our pulse oximeter story?" She asked me while we talked about how we had been as new nurse trainees in this hospital.

I looked at her with closed brows while my thoughts drifted back to our first days of duty more than a decade ago. I saw ourselves as staff nurses'buddies in a chaotic hospital scene, tagging along our senior staff in attending patients in their different types of morbidities. I saw ourselves running to and fro, pulling emergency carts and suction machines in trembling knees. I saw ourselves assisting in giving NGT feedings, doing tracheostomy care with fear, checking blood glucose and many other procedures. I, also, remembered exactly how we felt a sense of fulfillment for being able to do it all alone for the first time. Yet, somehow, I could never bring back a significant memory about an incident relating to the use of that certain gadget.

"Did you remember I was assigned to a dyspneic patient and was asked to get her oxygen saturation?"

We both laughed while recalling the incident. She was assigned to a patient who was closely monitored and whose vital signs were going down below the acceptable line. When asked about the percentage of oxygen saturation, she gave the heart rate instead. The next thing we knew was that everyone was running to the assigned room of the patient. The doctor-on -duty with the PGI's were rushing up the stairs.

False alarm.

I could still see her clearly in my mind as she was caught bewildered and guilty. I could still see her pale lips as she apologized. However, the medical team were all kind. No harsh words nor blaming. Neither grumbling nor deriding. A touching scene that maintained the dignity of the erring one.Something to draw courage and inspiration to learn fast and be a better nurse each day.

We were just new to the real world of nursing care, and perhaps, it was our first week. A portable pulse oximeter which was frequently brought up in college was something that really amazed us. Perhaps because, it was never used in a certain government hospital ward - setting that handled our training.

"The hospital where I worked now is one of the world's best.." her tone became serious, " but there's one thing I could never forget here wherever I will be," she turned more emotional.

I looked around the room. Though, she was situated in a suite room of the building's newly-constructed floor, the hospital's actualized expansion plan, I knew this is still incomparable from the institution where she worked somewhere in Middle East. A JCI and ISO accredited facility, it catered various medical specializations which this small hospital of ours would still take years to accomplish by God's grace. Yet, there is greatness in this institution which those highly-advanced units may not have. And, that is the very reason why she chose to be admitted here. She can always opt anytime for well-known and big hospitals in the city whose services may be similar to where she was accustomed for years already yet she chose the humble one whose edge is relied upon the Mighty One.

Pulse oximeter. A small gadget that measures a person's oxygen saturation. A small gadget which was already a part of her daily patient care, together with all those various digital machines as she assisted in different procedures in catheterization laboratories, nuclear medicine department, and during emergency calls as part of the code blue team. As a nurse anesthetist herself, she also assisted in endotracheal tube insertions and many other operating room procedures associated with machine use. And that pulse oximeter, which gave her the first lesson as a nurse, was just a small equipment among that great digital boxes in her daily routines.

"I feel secured here," she said.

"There may be less equipment that I am now used to," she chuckled, "I still feel safer here upon knowing that I am in the hands of God. Safer than anywhere else, because, I know that this institution is run by prayerful people, " she went on.

" I saw miracles here. I saw people miraculously recovered. It is something medical science cannot explain."

We both got teary - eyed. Talking about miracles, God's interventions and His goodness always made us cry.

Though I am always excited in her every new explorations and success, she is more excited to hear stories from me. Stories of God's love and deliverance. Stories about how God turned impossibilities in my favor. Stories about God's myriad blessings. Stories that always make us cry.

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