Intensive Care

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Yamile Jackson needed a way to comfort her premature infant in the NICU when she couldn't be with him at the hospital. She founded The Zaky, which is a pediatric bolster that simulates a parent's warmth, weight, and touch and provides positioning to support musculoskeletal development.
Four children have died in the past month. Not just any four children, but four children that have the same rare disorder as my son. And that scares me. Our children's lives have an early expiration date.
Because as a nurse in the intensive care unit, I've learned -- while I'm relatively young, I possess an old soul -- that nothing in this life is promised. We have no guarantee. We cannot push off what we crave today unto tomorrow, because there is no certainty that tomorrow may come.
Tube feeds and turkey. Sepsis and stuffing. Code blues and "thank you's" and teamwork and tears. I am a holiday warrior -- I am an ICU nurse. Even when my feet are sore and my belly is hungry -- every holiday, every shift -- my heart is full.
Some people love us. Some people hate us. I can promise you that you do not want to be a patient in my unit. If you are then that means you're really sick. But I can also promise you that if you end up here you will get stellar care by a team of the best health care providers available.
Today I am feeling quietly concerned but calm. Yesterday I was motivated to overcome the challenge at hand. Tomorrow? Who knows. Every single day will be punctuated by a different emotion, a different version of the woman who I am.
I will never be the same. I border on crazy. I'm slightly irrational. I'm absolutely neurotic. I'm completely invested. I'm a woman. I'm a wife. I'm a daughter. I'm a friend. But through it all, I am unapologetically a nurse.
The Affordable Care Act of 2010 is one of the most impressive changes to our healthcare system since the introduction of Medicare in 1965. But Sarah Palin's "death panel" hysteria forced President Obama to remove a crucial piece of his original proposal, rendering it less effective.
Despite all that bile, the dilemmas portrayed in Shaw's 1906 play might inform some thinking about how we distribute decontamination equipment and intensive-care teams; how we allocate protective gear, bio-containment facilities, isolation rooms, and life-saving vaccines.