Another incident happened in my days of student training and I have kept it a secret for all these years. It occurred while I was in my obstetrics rotation. One of the doctors decided to do a saddle block on a young woman in labor. The other student nurse who was with me was in her early forties while I was twenty-three.
The doctor eased a long metal tube into place inside the woman’s vaginal canal. Next, he picked up a syringe. Attached to the tip was a very long needle and when I say long, I mean at least ten inches. As he started to insert it into the tube, it made a rasping, grating sound of metal on metal.
I saw movement out of the corner of my eye. The sound was too much. It had caused the nurse beside me to start to faint. Fortunately, she was standing between me and a nearby wall. As her knees began to buckle, I leaned my weight against her pressing her tightly against the wall, keeping her upright. And let me add, I am no light weight person.
There is little more embarrassing than to faint as a student nurse. It is a bane to a student’s name to have “passed out’. It’s not a black mark against your training, but you can be certain you will be teased about it for a long, long time.
I turned my attention back to the procedure at hand and watched the doctor complete the block. He had just finished and had removed the needle and the metal tube, when I felt a stirring of the weight on my shoulder. The wilted nursing student began to rouse. She shook her head, once, twice and then reclaimed her weight. As she straightened up, I leaned away from her as she stood back onto her feet.
A few seconds later, she leaned close to me and whispered into my ear, “Thank you.”
It was something that I never shared until now.