Going to bed is difficult. I got to work about 630 AM Thursday, got maybe 3 hours sleep, was paged to a death call at 0530. The day was long and I left the ICU and hospital about 4 PM following a second death. Add a 3rd death from Thursday afternoon and you’d think that I would have my ass in bed. Up for 40 of 43 hours, 34 in the hospital, I would hope to be in bed. Not quite. My anxiety closet opens for business late at night. I’m going to try to get to sleep tonight. PTSD makes life interesting. At least I can write. Pray for me a sinner. Peace, Steve+
Daily Archives: August 7, 2009
In Memorium Senior Chief Hospital Corpsman D’Juana Hayes-Jones
This has been another difficult week at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center. Once again we experienced the unexpected and unsettling death of a beloved Shipmate. HMCS D’juna Hayes-Jones, the Senior Enlisted Advisor for the Director of Nursing Services passed away early Wednesday morning of a massive Heart attack or another sudden catastrophic event.
I was just coming off of duty and conducting the duty turnover when the pager went off. The chaplain relieving me took the page and came back saying that he had just been informed that we had lost yet another Shipmate and said that he had to go get more information. I looked at our Deputy Department director and said: “I pray someone that I don’t know; I’m really tired of losing people that I know.” A few minutes later my friend came back and gave us Senior Chief’s name. I was pretty tired having come off a night with little sleep. Initially I looked at him and the deputy and said; “I’m sure I know her but am trying to picture her face.” We finished the turnover and I started to walk back up to the ICU when I clearly saw and remembered her face, which always had a friendly and caring expression. I had just seen her and said hello the day before in one of the main hallways. When this registered I simply said “shit, not another one, damn.” This was the 5th active duty death that we have had since December. I had met all five and had a decent number of interactions with three of the five. Senior Chief was one that I had met a lot in the hallways, had frequent small conversations with and was involved quite heavily with when Senior Chief Pam Branum passed away on June 2nd of this year. Additionally we had a civilian RN pass away and several civilians in our clinics. The active duty deaths were all unexpected and tragic. We have come close to losing a number of other shipmates who were very close to death but have since recovered. With all the deployments added in we are all showing some strain with the loss of our friends and shipmates, so it is important to take care of each other because we don’t know what tomorrow brings. With more deployments coming, a flu season that never ended and H1N1 looming on the horizon I fear that this will not be the last shipmate we lose this year. I pray that I am wrong but my intuition tells me something different. In the midst of this I am reminded that we must live to the fullest and not waste the life that God has given us. As Marcus Aurelius said “Execute every act of thy life as though it were thy last.”
Losing good people, who care for others, strive for excellence and serve faithfully who are younger than me, is getting old. Senior Chief from what I had seen and heard was a great leader who really cared for her corpsmen and the nursing Staff. She could always be found out among her corpsmen on the nursing units and clinics. She was kind, fair and a caring teacher, coach and mentor to many corpsmen and nurses. Her loss was met with stunned disbelief by those who knew her and who really have not yet fully recovered from the loss of Chief Branum. Her death has shaken all of us who knew her, from the most senior officers and Chiefs, to the most junior corpsmen as well civilian staff. I and most of our other chaplains have spent significant time with our shipmates since this happened.
Senior Chief Hayes-Jones would have had her retirement ceremony on August 28th. She leaves behind two children, her husband and her shipmates. We will have a memorial service for her next week; the date is still to be announced as of this post.
God bless you all and take care of each other as we once again walk through the valley of the shadow of death.