I work in pediatric oncology. I love my job and there are some days that are so happy. But Friday was particularly sad. A little 2 year old, Logan, has a cancer that will probably not be cured. They are trying a last ditch effort to save his life Tuesday, but it probably is far fetched. It's hard for me to see this little boy who looks so small in his big crib, looking up at me with his big smiling brown eyes. Hands tightly holding his little plastic toy. He looks perfectly healthy, but inside his body is ravaging. The cancer is taking over this tiny little angel. He little hands will soon be still and his big brown eyes will be closed. His chubby little cheeks will soon be quiet, and a set of parents will lose their most precious gift. I think the hardest thing is there is no answer to the question in my mind "Why? Why little Logan? Why this sweet baby boy?" My heart is in my feet. I heard his prognosis and I sank. His parents have to be feeling a thousand times worse than me. They tell you in nursing school not to get attached to your patients. I'm glad I got to know him. I'm glad he is my little pal. I'll never forget him. His little picture-perfect face will remain in my heart forever. It is so hard to love so much. But isn't that what we are there for? I'm rambling. I had a very sad day. But I'm sure there will be happiness for me soon. Miracles happen at St. Jude every day.
2 cute little boys
Sep 25, '99
Sounds like you have a real soft heart. That is SUCH a good thing! So many nurses get almost immune to death and suffering, since they see it all the time. Pediatrics is SO difficult, because that ISN'T supposed to be the end of the lifetime that is cut off! I think that is part of the reason I chose to work in Geriatrics. I work with the "sunset" of the lifetime. People are SUPPOSED to die when they are old. I think the thing we all need to remember is, that no matter the age or circumstance, we need to make people's last days here comfortable, dignified, and peaceful. We need to remember that there is always SOMEONE else who is affected by the death of their loved one, and keep them "comforted" as well. No matter the age of the patient, SOMEONE has memories about them...they had SOME kind of life experience...They are special.
Sep 27, '99
A nurse with a heart, please stay that way. I know it is hard on you to care but that is what nursing is really all about.
Sep 28, '99
I am humbled by your posting. I work in a chronic dialysis unit where colleagues and i remind myself that we are doing the best we can to help people prolong their lives after their kidneys have failed. They either are transplanted or they die. It must be so hard to work with kids who haven't yet had a chance at living before they undergo the process of dying. My heart goes out to you. It is so important, as Heather mentioned, to let the little boy's survivors know how he effected you just as it is so important for Heather to let her geriatric patients know how they effect her. I applaud you for the work that you do.
Oct 4, '99
It is hard to stay unattached sometimes isn't it? But you're just human. Now and again a patient comes along that is just slightly more 'special' than usual, although you give them all the same professional and loving care. It is especially hard when you have to be so strong for the family as well. Are there any colleagues you can talk to or a counsellor when you're feeling so bad? Don't view your feelings as a 'failure' to remain unattached, but as a special gift which is part of caring.
Oct 8, '99
I am glad that there are nurses like you that can take care of dying children. I don't think I could do it. I have two beautiful "babies" (ages 22 and 21) of my own. They, of course, are not considered pediatric pts. anymore but never the less, they are my babies. Your pain is evidence of your caring. I can only hope that when one of my loved ones needs a nurse that someone like you with the compassion and caring heart is there with them. Bless you and all of your "little angels".
Oct 9, '99
Wow, that has got to be hard. I would like to say that your words of comfort and kindness may be the thing that helps these parents get through what has got to be the worst time in their lives. I applaud your courage to face this tough job every day.
Oct 16, '99
Maggie, you should live in Tx. because you have a heart the size of Tx. I am speachless, keep on loving your little patients the same exact way.
Oct 17, '99
It's sad to say but I have quite a few sad days all the time. i'm a new graduate nurse working on a renal unit. i find it to be extremely difficult and fustrating. Everyday I think I'm about to loose my license. What kind of advice can someone give to a new grad nurse like myself.
Oct 17, '99
I hope there is an angel like you at the bedside of my loved ones when the need arises. Keep the faith!
Oct 17, '99
Maggie, Just take heart that you have gotten to know this special child and that you got to take care of him the best way you knew how. What could be more rewarding then that? Knowing that you got to spend special time with him and watched over him the way you would want your children to be cared for. It takes a special heart to take care of sick children and you must have it. Especially to take it home with you. They did say not to become attached in school. But, thoses people who wrote the books we are suppose to follow, I wonder if they actually every cared for someone who reaches out for you to hold there hand. Just wanted to say I feel for you and keep up the good work. He will thank you for it in his own special way. Tara
Oct 20, '99
From a 15 year adult oncology nurse. You HAVE a heart the size of TX! My hat goes off to your efforts. God Bless you.
Oct 20, '99
There is no answer to the question why. We don't know. The important thing is that you find meaning in what you do for your patients. Taking time to express yourself is a good idea, you will be aware of how you feel and help you cope. Your work promotes philosophical inquiry and you will probably come up with your own answers.
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