As the Tail Wags – “Slipping Away”

Wag 3Wag 1As the 4
Season 1, Episode 27

On our last visit, we were at the hospital where Old Man Jenkins lay dying in the Critical Care Unit. Krystal Sullivan had just reviewed his chart and discussed his situation with one of her fellow nurses. Jenkins had been admitted with an injury to his shoulder but his condition had taken a turn for the worse.

Apparently he had an allergic reaction to some of the medication he had been given. His temperature had spiked and remained dangerously high. His white blood cell count was also alarmingly high. Basically he was a dying man.

There was discussion of notifying next of kin. However they were having difficulty finding any family he had locally or even any relatives outside the area. Krystal was numb as she watched the heart monitor.

“Has he been conscious at all?” she asked the nurse.

“I don’t know if you could actually call it conscious. He thrashed about and pulled out his IV about an hour ago. He was pretty agitated. Apparently he knows some guy named Rex who he either wants to beat up or just see really badly. It was hard to make out much more than that,” replied the nurse.

“I know exactly what he was talking about!” shouted Krystal. “Rex is his dog. I don’t think Mr. Jenkins has much in the way of family but he does have a dog and he loves that dog dearly!”

Krystal turned toward Mr. Jenkins who was lying there quietly, eyes closes. It seemed as though tubes and wires were connected all over him. He looked helpless and weak.

Krystal wondered whether it would help to talk to the man. She thought for a minute and decided it was worth a try.

“Mr. Jenkins? My name is Krystal. I was with you last night after the accident. You wanted me to help you find your dog Rex.” Krystal could not tell for sure but she thought there was a trace of recognition from the old man.

She looked at the heart monitor and detected a slight increase in the amplitude and frequency of his heartbeats although they were still not what one would consider healthy.

She decided it would not hurt to tell Mr. Jenkins that she had found his dog and that Rex was safe and being taken care of by the Johnson family. She told Mr. Jenkins all of this but there did not seem to be any further reaction from him.

The man was fading and there was little that could be done. Krystal wasn’t born yesterday. She knew when it was no longer in the hands of medical personnel. The most important thing now was to keep Mr. Jenkins comfortable and as pain-free as possible.

She had only been to work about two hours but she needed to get away. Maybe she would get lucky and Jenkins would pass before she got back. She went back to the nurses station and found her supervisor.

As soon as she began to explain, her supervisor understood immediately and told her it was reasonable for her to ask to leave.  The hospital staff was very good about recognizing when someone needed to be out of the mix of things.

The duties and responsibilities were very stressful. When that is combined with personal involvement, it is best to call time out and get oneself out of the situation for awhile.

Krystal went to the parking garage and got in her car. Her movements were automatic and she was not really thinking about what she was doing. She drove home and found Fantasia was a perfect antidote for her blues.

She decided they would go for a long drive and try to unwind. Poor Mr. Jenkins…

Tune in next time for the exciting adventures of…

Wag 2

As the 4Wag 4

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