First Death (vent)

  1. Hey everyone, I just had to do a little venting. I have been working alot lately and have not had much time to get online with work, school, kids, and a husband.

    I was asked to work first shift and third shift yesterday (friday July 18) well I said yes. When I was at work I kept telling a co workers that I feel funny. I said that I felt like someone was watching me and walking in the halls (I work in LTC, We have 4 halls). Well I was making my second dry round (I am a CNA) and when I got to this one lady she said "Hunny your shirt is so pretty" I said "Thank you" then she said that I was hurting her and I said honey it's almost over. I did not think of her saying that it was hurting because she always says that. If you brush her hair she would say it hurt. Well I walked out and went to change two more people, then me and my co worker went outside to do out paper work and another CNA came running and said Ms. Brown (not her name) is dead. I said "WHAT"
    and she said "LINDA BROWN IS DEAD" I went running inside and sure enough she was dead. I was shocked because we had just talked and she seemed fine, nothing was out of the ordinary.

    I am happy that I did not find her and that it was the nurse. The nurse was doing blood sugars and went in 10 minutes after I walked out. What would you all think it could have been? She had feel and broke her leg a week before and had a bruise on her neck. It was getting better, but I think it was a blood clot. I know we will never know.

    This was my first death. It was the first that someone died on my shift and the first that I was close to. Her daughter and I cried together. I know that I will get learn how to better handle this. When I came home after working 16 hours in one day all that I could get was 2 hours of sleep. What was everyone's first experience and how did you learn to deal with it?

    Thanks for reading and helping.
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  2. 24 Comments

  3. by   karenG
    death is never easy and I am not sure it gets any easier. my first death was a man who was a scottish landscape painter. he was admitted with abdo pain and all investigations came back normal. He died in agony - we later found out he had bone cancer. I remember feeling totally useless and holding his hand. I still see his face and remember his name, one day I want to buy one of his paintings. I was 19 and it was a few years ago. so it never gets easy but you learn to cope and accept that it is all part of the great scheme of things.


    I hope you are ok.

    Karen
  4. by   ktwlpn
    My first experience was as a nursing assistant in a nursing home also.The nurses had us sitting with a resident so he would not die alone.He was a favorite of the staff-had been there for many years.He always wore a straw hat and loved to "work" out doors every day.He swept the driveway and walks daily and gathered the fallen branches from the yard.I remeber his bed was alongside the window and he kept his face turned to the sun and died reaching towards it.I remember thinking " Is this it?Is this all that happens?" Because he just stopped-and his face looked almost-happy....No smoky spirit rose to the ceiling-nothing dramatic.Just a little old fella that we all loved left us to get back out in the sunshine....They have his broom and hat and a picture of him on display in the lobby...-I continue to to be waiting to SEE something-and it never happens-life just ends.Even with my own parents.Now I see death as a gift to someone trapped in a body that is failing them-surrounded by people that care about them.I cry with families occassionally and it's because I feel sorry for them-I know how hard it is to feel so helpless and have to let go....When someone is dying all we can do is give them a "good "death...as comfortable as possible and support their families through it also....I have been with many more at their death...I see it as a celebration.....
  5. by   jnette
    I'm sorry for your pain. It is never easy. It always hurts. Even when you know that some will be truly "better off". It still lingers.
  6. by   GAstudent
    "Now I see death as a gift to someone trapped in a body that is failing them"


    When I told a lady in the nursing home who was friends with "Ms. Brown" she said "What a blessing" and she smiled. That made me really think. When I went in to see Ms Brown she looked peaceful. I had just cleaned her and she was peaceful.
  7. by   I_Love_Donuts
    My first experience with death was when I was 22, a new new new grad...actually, that was my 10th day as a RN. I was by myself in a very busy unit, the 3 other nurses were supposed to show up at 8:00 am. It was 6:30 am and I had 35 patients to take care of (Vitals and hep. injections). I came in a room and saw a man, I gave him his pills but he refused to take them. I said, fine, I'll come back in 10min...but I saw fear in his eyes, but I didn't have time to sit down and talk....So I just left him...alone...and kept doing what I had to do. About an hour later, one of our assistant came running and said "your patient (the man) is dead" and like you GAstudent I said "WHAT??"...I went in the room and yeah, he was dead (he was DNR). I looked at him and I cried. He needed me because he was scared but I didn't take the time to listen. I came home that night crying. Is this nursing? Is that it being a nurse? And that very night I decided NO never again. Now I'm 26 and work in onco/hema pediatrics. Different country, different language, different population...but what I promised that night is still here. I will never let someone die alone.
    I'm sorry for your pain...but sometimes death is a blessing
  8. by   GAstudent
    I_Love_Donuts how awfull. I knew all night that something was going to happen but I didn't know who or when. I thought that it was another little lady and had the nurse checking her, she was acting strange and saying she heard people out in the hall talking. No one was on the hall but me. We have had 7 deaths in 3 weeks.


    Have you all heard of deaths coming in 3's? Just wondering because so far it has been true.
  9. by   shelleybelle
    My first death was just recently... and it was my exhusband's Aunt. She'd been diagnosed w/ Colon CA 8wks prior. She was coherent & talking until about 3 days prior to her death. I am really close to the family and had been going to see her at home and help the family any way I could. She was released from the hospital to Hospice care. It was the strangest thing... The Hospice nurse told me that if we ever gave her meds (via feeding tube) and aspirated meds back - she would die shortly after. Well, we changed her diaper, moved her up in bed, gave her meds to her, etc. We aspirated and to my shock... got meds back. I told her daughter to come tell her it was okay to go - she had her eyes open. Before the daughter could get across the room, she took one big breath and closed her eyes... and was gone. I didn't want to believe it, really. I kept waiting for the next breath, but it never came. I was fine at first... comforting the few family members who were there, calling the Hospice Nurse, etc. But the second nobody needed any vital information from me, comfort, etc. I broke down... it was the hardest thing ever. This was on June 14th of this year. For at least 2wks I didn't sleep... everytime I'd close my eyes I'd see her. Like KTWLPN, I expected "something" to happen. I guess I figured it'd be more dramatic or something, I dunno. I had been praying for the Lord to take her before she got worse, and I was there when it happened for a reason. In some small way, I'm glad I was, although it broke my heart...

    Because of the wonderful hospice nurse who took care of her, I hope to one day do the same. It's just such a wonderful opportunity to touch people and make something so hard almost bearable. It's nursing...... and why I love being one!
  10. by   I_Love_Donuts
    Hey GAstudent...me too, sometimes I get the feeling that something is going to happen. That's weird, really weird, but it's a strange feeling that tells you "watch out..." I've learn to listen to this feeling...I remember a day, I came in a room, and the kid was ok, VS stable, lytes ok...but I told the other nurses :"Watch him...something is going to happen..." 2hrs later he crashed. Isn't that scary?? It happens to me all the time. If a child crashes it's with me. 75% of the time! Is it bad luck?
  11. by   maureeno
    no way is it bad luck people are moving on when you are around, I-love- donnuts
    look what you wrote:
    >>but what I promised that night is still here. I will never let someone die alone.

    if you think you can feel death's coming
    don't you think your patients can feel your caring? there are many stories about pts hanging on until someone gives them [verbal or nonverbal] permission to go.
    seems to me you may have developed a special gift.

    GAstudent may be developing the same gift
    maybe when you told MS Brown 'its almost over'
    she decided to go.
  12. by   I_Love_Donuts
    Thank you! :imbar
  13. by   Tweety
    Hugs to you for caring. It's so strange when someone is talking one minute and a few minutes later their are dead. But that's not a bad way to go actually.

    I had a gruesome death yesterday. A patient was hypoxic and tachypnic and I was transferring him to the unit. His ABGs didn't indicate he needed intubation according to respiratory and I agree, but knew he was going to be vented eventually (just had that feeling.)

    What I didn't know was he was going to die en route, he coughed, bloodly sputum came pouring out of his mouth, he coughed again and quit breathing.

    We were in front of the nurses station of the unit when this transpired and I asked the nurses to call a code blue.

    To their credit the nurses worked very hard cleaning up after being delivered a patient in a code blue situation.

    But I digress, perhaps I needed to vent as well. After all these years death still isn't all that easy to me. But I can't loose sleep over it, it's on to the living.

    We also had a coworker commit suicide this week, so I'm a little weird.

    Sorry for stealing your thread to vent my vent. It does get easy, but if it gets too easy there's no compassion. I doubt you're are every going to loose that caring and compassion. Hugs.
  14. by   ktwlpn
    Originally posted by 3rdShiftGuy
    We also had a coworker commit suicide this week, so I'm a little weird.

    .
    O-I am so sorry to hear that-I hope your employer is helping you all cope and offering some counseling...That is so hard....Several yrs ago we lost a co-worker and her whole family in a plane crash-it was very hard for everyone.Many of us see our work as a refuge from our own problems but when a tragedy affects your work community you really need professional help to get through it....

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