As I was saying goodnight to a patient of mine as I was getting ready to end my shift Thursday evening and give report to the nurse who was now on duty I asked if there was anything she needed or I could do for her before I go. This patient who is only a few years older than myself looked at me before gazing out the window and asked if I could hold her hand. I of course obliged her request as I have become rather attached to this patient and I am normally very empathetic in general to all my patients which sometimes does cause me issues as it is now at 1:19AM in the morning. She than looked at me with tears streaming down her pale cheeks after I gently held her hands in mine and said (this is as close to word from word as I can recall. Nonetheless these words are seared into my memory even if they are not in the exact order as she shared them with me.) "I am so scared. I am acting like I'm fine for my family but I am so scared. I don't want to die. No matter how bad I try and convince myself that death is not that bad I just can't and don't believe it. I am scared to die. Today was a good day today and I felt fine so it's hard for me to think that I am dying. I don't know if Its going to hurt. I feel like there's so much I am leaving unfinished. I don't want not to be around my family or son. I want to see him grow old. I want to be there for him for his 1st day of school. I feel like there's so much more I need to laugh, smile, love, and just live. I am not ready to leave this world. I know it's selfish but I am just not ready."I was fighting back tears by the end of her emotional outburst and was utterly speechless. She stared at me for a minute and said "Im sorry. You don't have to answer. I just needed to tell someone how I really felt. I'm sorry it was you." I couldn't talks I just hugged her until an Aid interrupted us. I than said my goodbyes and said I would be back tomorrow. She passed away Friday afternoon. I was told 30 minutes before she left us the nurse heard her say what a beautiful day to die. May she rest now with no more pain.
x 3 How do I cope? I'm haunted by these words it seems. Any advice would be helpful.