Our mom was admitted to the hospital with what we thought would be an easy fix, atrial fibrillation. When the medication didn’t work for her in the ER, she was transferred to another floor for observation and to see what else they might do to get it under control. After two days, she took a turn for the worse and it was determined that she became septic due to a UTI. On Sunday night she was transferred to MICU. After a long night of medications, intubation, and being on life support, it was a minute to minute wait and see process.
On Monday morning when the shift change occurred, we met Clay. From that moment on, we gained a new support system, medical interpreter, and friend. All of the nursing staff who helped my mom during this time were wonderful, I have never seen a unit work as a team and be so ready to help one another but Clay stood out. He immediately knew how serious the situation was and that we were all hanging on through prayer. My mom was on life support and unresponsive to us, but with everything that Clay did, he would always talk to her and tell her what he was doing. He would always say, “We’re going to turn you, or we are going to change your IV.” It was evident that he wanted to do whatever we asked of him to make the situation better for us and for my mother.
Mom continued on life support for three days, improving each day. We truly felt like we were witnessing a miracle. On the fourth day when she was taken off of life support she still was unable to speak, but she knew that all of her family was there and she was being well taken care of by Clay. On the fifth day, she was transferred to another floor. After being there for two days, it appeared the sepsis returned and my mom went back to MICU. I will never forget transferring her into the unit and catching Clay’s eye when he saw us. He was devastated to see us there as he knew it couldn’t be good. We were assigned another nurse, but Clay couldn’t help but be involved.
Mom did not get a good report and we had to decide if she would go back on life support or if we would let her die naturally. We chose the latter. During that time, we said our goodbyes and my mom was gone in less than an hour. After she was gone, Clay so lovingly came to her side with tears in his eyes and asked me if he could remove the tube that was in her nose. He knew the importance of how we would remember her. His gentle manner will forever be in my heart, and I will never forget the love that he showed my mom, my family, and me.
When you are alone in a room with only a nurse and your dying loved one, what you talk about is not easy. Clay always wanted to know what kind of woman my mom was. I showed him pictures of what she looked like before she came into the hospital. He knew that she was a strong woman who loved her family dearly. Throughout her stay we had several family members come in to visit at different times, whether it was the simplest of questions Clay answered when explaining a procedure over and over again or a caring and calming empathetic voice as our family concerns multiplied, he was ready to help us through this difficult situation. His caring, sympathetic way and anticipation of our mom’s needs and our family’s needs were unparalleled.
My mom’s death has not been easy for any of us, but I know that she knew that she was being treated with love and dignity the final days of her life and it is all due to Clay. His caring, nurturing way was such a positive force to our family during such a time of duress. I think of Clay often, wondering what patient or family his gentle soul is touching. I am so thankful for the week that he touched our lives. Covenant is a better place with Clay Brackeen working there. Thank you, Clay, for being that angel on my mom’s shoulder.