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crash call psalm

Onahi Idikwu finds Psalm 28 helping her to pray in a resus emergency

Your legs are running before you process what is happening. A default response to the crash bell going off in resus. Your heart pounds almost as fast as your feet, as you rush towards the chaos.

You see the senior nurse jaw-thrusting the patient, but your feet remain rooted, unsure what your hands can bring.

You're a newly-qualified nurse, after all, and this is your first crash call.

Dread consumes you but then you remember, you too have a call you can put out.

Your mind flashes to Psalm 28; you read it this morning on the bus to work

'To you, Lord, I call;

you are my Rock...' (v.1)

'Roc!' you hear the anaesthetist say, 'I need a dose of rocuronium, we need to prepare for a rapid sequence induction. He's been seizing for 30 minutes. Nothing we've given seems to be working.'

The room suddenly feels smaller,

as the alarms grow louder, each demanding your attention.

Each reminding you, you're running out of time.

Though you do not understand all that is happening, you know enough to sense he is slipping away.

The heart wrenching shriek that escapes his mother's lips, as she crumbles to the floor, reveals she senses it too.

You lean on the crash trolley as panic scurries up your spine and sweat drips down your brow.

You feel out of your depth.

But you too have a cry you can release

Lord 'Hear my cry for mercy as I call to you for help'. (v.2a)

Please God, calm my nerves.

Another nurse hands you the observation chart as she rushes to second check the rocuronium.

Grateful for something to do, your shaking hands begin to document the observations

Lord, please give us wisdom as we care for this child and bring healing

The infusion pump beeps, showing the phenytoin has finished. The beeps are drowned out by the groans and then cries of the child.

His mum rises from where she had fallen and grips his face, her eyes weeping with joy.

You hear the lead consultant say, 'hold intubation, he has stopped seizing.'

The collective sigh of relief is almost audible as focus turns from resuscitation to monitoring and debriefing.

Your mind returns to the psalm,

'The Lord is my strength and my shield;

My heart trusts in him, and he helps me'. (v.7a)

Father, thank you for answering my cry for help.

Onahi Idikwu is a paediatric and neonatal nurse in London

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