Something to Be Thankful About
Something unusual happened while I was a student at Penn State University. The incident occurred while I was in my obstetrics rotation of training. I have kept it a secret for all these years, until now. One of the doctors decided to do a saddle block on a young woman who was in labor. There was another student nurse with me in the labor room She was in her early forties while I was twenty-three.
The doctor eased a long, thin metal tube into place inside the woman’s vaginal canal to do a saddle block. The end was touching the tip of her cervix. He picked up a syringe with a long needle attached to it. The needle was at least ten inches in length. As he inserted needle into the tube, it made the rasping, grating sound of metal on metal.
I saw a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eye. The sound was too much for the nurse standing beside me. It caused her to faint. Fortunately, she was standing between me and a wall. As her knees began to buckle, I leaned my full weight against her and pressed her tight against the wall and keeping her upright. I had barely moved at all.
When nurses are in training, there was little that was more embarrassing than for a student nurse to faint. It was a bane for a student’s name to have “passed out.’ It’s not a black mark against your training, but you can be certain that you will be teased about it for a long, long time.
I turned my attention back to the procedure at hand and watched as the doctor completed the block. He’d just removed the needle and the metal tube, when I felt a stirring of the weight at my shoulder. The wilted nursing student began to rouse. She shook her head, once, twice and then reclaimed her weight. She straightened up and I leaned away from her as she regained her feet.
A few seconds later, she leaned close to me and whispered into my ear, “Thank you.”
I can’t remember her name, so your secret is still safe with me.