How to cope? Very Sad.

  1. 10 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.
    Last edit by NrsLucky on Jan 14, '12 : Reason: To add spaces in text
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  3. Visit  NrsLucky profile page

    About NrsLucky

    NrsLucky has '2' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'Urgent Care, MedSurg, SNF, ER.'. From 'California'; Joined Nov '11; Posts: 28; Likes: 45.

    26 Comments so far...

  4. Visit  gonzo1 profile page
    14
    Take heart in knowing that you were there for her when she needed someone to talk to. I believe God puts us where he wants us to be. This lady obviously felt safe enough with you to voice her greatest fears. Your kindness to her no doubt eased her pain and helped her feel safer. You were given a precious gift that will help you help others in the future.
    itsmejuli, Donna2011, VivaLasViejas, and 11 others like this.
  5. Visit  fralou profile page
    4
    Hi there. This is part of nursing right!! Anyway, you sound like a very caring person, and you took the time to share what must have been a very precious moment for this patient. Try to remember the special moments you had with her. I know this is a cliche, but her sufferings are no longer. She's now at peace. I'm sure this doesn't ease your, nor her family's pain right now, but in time, the pain will diminish. God bless and keep giving your caring care. Francine
    NrsLucky, IEDave, lindarn, and 1 other like this.
  6. Visit  xoemmylouox profile page
    9
    You were there for her. She was finally able to say all of the things she wanted to, but was not able to. You allowed her to say her fears out loud.
    OMG3kids, NrsLucky, canoehead, and 6 others like this.
  7. Visit  Been there,done that profile page
    5
    Do you have faith? Sometimes our spirituality can help. If not, just realize you did the best you could.

    My best friend died quickly from breast CA.
    She... also, said to me "I don't want to die"
    I opened my mouth, but couldn't think of a single word to say! I just hugged her.

    Remember, death is scary and ugly to all of us... I.. for one.. know I am powerless against it.

    Focus on the next patient and keep caring.
    Bortaz, RN, NrsLucky, IEDave, and 2 others like this.
  8. Visit  Whispera profile page
    8
    She needed someone to be with her so she could talk about her feelings and you were there. What a blessing you were to her! Warm hugs to YOU for this!!
  9. Visit  MusicEMT profile page
    4
    That story is why Nursing and the Healthcare field is soo special.. we are there when the patients are most vulnerable and need us. i agree with beentheredonethat, death is scary to all of us because its the unknown, but i find solace in that from the stories ive heard from people who have died and came back that they were in a very very peaceful and happy place and that they never wanted to comeback.. you were there when she needed you and you should rest easy knowing that.. you helped her tremendously and this is why our jobs are so special.
    NrsLucky, IEDave, sapphire18, and 1 other like this.
  10. Visit  KelRN215 profile page
    10
    If she died ~ 24 hours after she said this to you, maybe this was something that she really needed to tell someone before she died. You were her outlet.
    gonzo1, Donna2011, NrsLucky, and 7 others like this.
  11. Visit  Lil'mama profile page
    3
    You did well. You were there for her at a time when she needed to offer comfort. When there are no words, a hug is so appropriate and much appreciated.
    Libitina, NrsLucky, and IEDave like this.
  12. Visit  JustBeachyNurse profile page
    2
    Sometimes therapeutic listening is the hardest yet most comforting action an nurse can take. Souds like you were very successful in being there for her and offering her comfort when there was nothing else you could do. You were there. You listened. Not easy, but take comfort in the fact that you did well and keep caring.
    NrsLucky and IEDave like this.
  13. Visit  Old.Timer profile page
    8
    In all likelihood, you being there and allowing her to verbalize her fears assisted her in being able to peacefully let go.

    And no, you don't soon forget those experiences, they can be very powerful and usually remain with you a long time.
    Carrie_MTC, NrsLucky, lindarn, and 5 others like this.
  14. Visit  tokmom profile page
    5
    I think we always want to fill that akward silence that follows these conversations. We want to say something that will take that fear away and make them feel better. Isn't that what nurse do? We "fix" people. Sadly death is something we can't stop, and the fear of death is something we cannot always we can get them to accept before they die. Imo, she didn't want you say anything. She just wanted you to listen. Maybe she needed to say it outloud.Big big hugs to you.
    Quote from NrsLucky
    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.
    Libitina, NrsLucky, lindarn, and 2 others like this.
  15. Visit  NurseCard profile page
    5
    That's so, so hard, especially when it is someone so very young. I am still fairly young myself and it is terrifying to think, not of dying, but of leaving my children and family behind. Dying doesn't scare me, not like it used to.

    Anyway, what a difficult thing you have had to go through. My advice is to take some deep breaths, and do something to take care of yourself. Rent a funny movie and order a pizza. Watch your favorite team play a game on TV. Call some friends and go out for a night on the town.

    tokmom, NrsLucky, lindarn, and 2 others like this.


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