Your chest is so tiny that when I am placed upon it, I feel like a cumbersome giant. Your skin is hot and dry and you lay still, too still.
I send the sound of your heart, fluttering beneath your ribs like the wings of a frantic bird to the ears of my holder. When I am lifted away, I notice that it takes several seconds for the color to return to the place where I rested.
Today, there are others in the room with my holder. This is usually the case when tiny people come to the ER. Their voices are quiet, but still, I can sense their concern.
Wires are placed on your chest as my holder cuts a blue tourniquet in half and then tightens it around your arm. Your mother’s hand is on your head and tears fill her eyes as my holder slides the needle through your tender skin.
You do not cry and my holder’s eyes meet those of the doctor’s and I see the silent message that passes between them. They would rather you had cried.
The needle is withdrawn and my holder whispers an apology to you then moves the blue band to your other arm. I feel a stillness in my holder’s chest as the needle hovers over a vein so tiny, that I cannot imagine it will find its mark. But my holder’s breathe releases slowly as the catheter slides forward and is quickly secured to your hand.
“Thank you,” your mother whispers.
As fluid flows into your veins, I once again find myself pressed against you. But this time I rest against your round belly. I feel its firmness beneath me as I am moved across the four quadrants of your abdomen. There are no sounds to send to my holder. Once again, I am pulled away.
A mechanical whir of wheels signals the arrival of the portable X-ray machine and you are lifted from the stretcher then placed on the firm black plate.
The bolus of fluid finishes as the doctor returns to the room. You are more alert and I am once again pressed to your chest. Your heart still flutters beneath me, but it is no longer frantic. And as I am pulled away, I notice the brisk return of color to your skin. My holder smiles. The doctor tells your mother you are doing better, but you need the specialty services of a pediatric surgeon. She has already spoken with the surgeon and arrangements have been made to transfer you to a larger hospital. As she speaks, the paramedics arrive.
Once again, you are lifted from the stretcher. You cry as you are strapped into your seat. Your mother comforts you.
My holder steps back, knowing you will be well cared for by the paramedics who have now assumed your care.
Hours later, my holder returns the phone to the receiver and smiles. You are recovering from your surgery. As I rest on my holder’s shoulder, I am proud.
I am a nurse’s stethoscope.
Teri Lee is the author of Troubled Spirits, a young adult paranormal novel, but she is also an ER nurse. This post is second in a series written to increase awareness and respect for nurses everywhere.