Tag Archives: Critical Care Unit

A Promise is a Promise

wedding rings

One Thursday 3rd November I celebrated my Silver Wedding Anniversary and consider myself lucky to be someone who has found his soul mate. So my mind went back to the promises we had made on that day which, in my own imperfect and flawed ways, I have kept. But my mind also went back to a few days before my anniversary, when I was called out to Critical Care. Here was another couple who had been together 25 years – first meeting whilst working for the Government under the Official Secrets Act – both with risky jobs. But now his wife was critically ill and about to die. When I met Ron [not his real name] he hugged me and wept profusely on my shoulder. “I love her so much!” he said. “We’ve been through so much together; I don’t know how I will live without her.” He told me about their life together; their love; and his heartbreak now- and then he asked me to do something: “Will you baptise me?” he asked. Ron explained that he had always promised his wife that he would get baptised but had put it off and off. He believed but there had always been something more pressing which prevented him from doing it. “Please will you baptise me in the presence of my wife while she is still alive.” So in a congregation of four, with the nurse from the Unit joining us at Ron’s request because she had been so kind, I baptised this man, on his profession of faith, in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And then we prayed that God might welcome his wife as she embarked on the next stage of her journey. “See, I’ve kept my promise to you Darling. I’ve been baptised and you’ve been part of it.And with that, she slipped away. Heartbroken would be an understatement to describe Ron’s emotions, but he took some comfort that he had fulfilled the vow which he made to his wife in her lifetime and had kept his promise ‘til death did them part.

Critical Care Unit: Thanks in Distressing Times

intensive care

I have only experience Critical Care from the vantage point of a Chaplain. I can’t begin to imagine what it is like when your loved one is wired up to all the machinery in a state of lowered consciousness with ventilators and tubes and state of the art monitoring equipment. It must be overwhelming and frightening. Below is a portion of a lengthy reflection sent to me by one relative, whose wife was in CCU, and whose life at that point interweaved with mine. It shows the compassion of the staff, the attention to detail, the medical expertise and the overwhelming care which the patient and family recieved. I hope this is every patient’s and family’s experience throughout the Trust.

“Dear David, I saw your blog and thought that I must put pen to paper and write of my experience on the Critical Care Unit at the Royal a couple of months ago when we also met. I can’t say how grateful I am to the staff. Needless to say my wife (N) was very poorly and was wired up to all sorts of machinery which I had never seen in my life. She was unconscious and we didn’t know which way was up.

We are not religious people- but we are spiritual. And you and the staff catered to our emotional and spiritual needs. We are very grateful to you for the time you spent listening to us in the dark hours of the night and the way in which you led us in thoughts and prayeers for (N). We too thought she was entering into another journey and that way of talking about it help us immensely.

My children and I were also immensely grateful to Dr. Hoze. We are not a stupid family, and he didn’t treat us as if we were. He explained everything clearly, listened to our comments, answered our questions. It was as if he was thinking through the situation with us and helping us to understand the decisions that we reached.

The nursing staff were truly attentive. They met N’s needs with dignity and professionalism. They spoke to her and encouraged us to do the same. It was inspiring and heartbreaking at the same time.

When it came to the end David, we are so glad that you were with us. The words that you said and the silence that you kept with us were a real comfort. We felt that N and ourselves were unique. No one took her passing lightly and we were so grateful to be there with her when she left us.

Now it is still heartbreaking. I miss her terribly. After 43 years of marriage there is a huge gap in my life. But the care, compassion, dignity and love which the hospital gave to my wife in our darkest time has helped. I hope others are never in the situation we were in but if they are I am sure that they too will take comfort from the same level of care which we were shown. Thank you seems inadequate. But thank you.”