Mario experiences PT death for first time - page 3
Today when I was in report, waiting for rm #'s and nursing assignments, about the 3rd thing the charge nurse said was that Mrs. U passed away over the night. My reaction was instant, and i flinched... Read More
Aug 8, '02Death is really a very spiritual thing. I work in Maternal and Child Health; and have seen many babies born. When I WATCHED my grandfather die, taking his last breath and seeing the peace come over him, it moved me...forever. After he died he looked like his old self again. Bruises on his arms began to fade!!! My son saw it too! I was not extremely close to him, but think of him often now. It made me even consider working in Hospice Care; something I never dreamed I would do. Death is part of the circle of life; and both are miracles.
Aug 8, '02Mario, your post touched me a lot. As most people on this thread, I still remember the first patient I lost. And the second, and most of the patient I've lost, come to think of it. I work in ICU, with very critical patients, and sometimes I feel like my work is to try to outrun death. But it happens, and it's ALWAYS sad. Last week was a very bad week for that. We lost 4 patients. It really gets you back to your own little life and how precious it is.
You have a great spirit Mario, don't change. Life IS beautiful!
Aug 8, '02Wow! This really is a good place (website) for a nurse ! Where else can you find people who truely understands to it's depth what we come face to face everyday! Thanks Mario for sharing your heart and trusting us with it.
Aug 8, '02Hi Mario.....
I remember my first patient that died as well. That is something that you will never forget. You truly touched your patient by giving a little of yourself even if it was just minutes at a time.... thats what nursing is all about. Sometimes we cant control death, but we are able to make there lives a little brighter just by being able to hold their hand or giving them a smile. Always remember this...... its something that one of my nursing instructors told me years ago........... the day that the death of a patient does NOT affect you........ is the day you need to leave nursing.
For some reason, I think you will be in nursing for years.......
Aug 8, '02I read everyones post about first death here and grow emotionally and have comfort. Some may say "how could it be so bad if you only knew them 2 months?" My answer is "I don't know." Today I saw a small paper bag in the med room with her name and last room number on it. But she's not around anymore.
I love you all for sharing your feelings with me.
Has anyone ever went to the funeral of a PT, or looked in the o*****uaries for PT's they were friends with and then died? May as well get all that I can to ease this when it happens again. I am not closer or more far away from any PT. The time knowing someone makes it hard. I know many, many people died everyday, including children, so I wouldn't be as shocked to see someone I didn't know die in front of me. Perhaps going to a funeral would be too much, if I saw Mr. U, we certainly would cry. He heard me encourage him and her that life is great and people do get better. Phew! It all stops abruptly when a person dies though. Thank you again for all the help you give me, and I would like to care for you all one day, at the big hospital in the sky! (sad smile)
Aug 8, '02<I should alighn and cover my feeling, still being proper, but making my peace with it before i leave the floor.>
Why? You got a switch you can flip on & off to do that?
Feel what you feel & let it work itself through.
Sometimes, no matter what we do, people die.
Just realize that you made a difference in someones life while they were there.
Dont measure yourself by how someone else deals with a favorite pts death. If you could "cover your feelings", you wouldnt be Italian. You cant help it, babe. Its in your genes.
So just be you
Aug 8, '02<Has anyone ever went to the funeral of a PT,>
There have been pts over my 20 yrs as an RN where I did think about going to their funerals but didnt. Theres just too many. Except for 1 pt who was in our ICU for 10 months on a vent. He wanted to go home & we arranged for him to do that - it was back in the days when people did not go home on vents. He died 2 weeks later & his wife came to the hospital that day to tell us we gave him the best 2 weeks of his life because he was able to be around all his grandchildren & in his garden, etc. We did go to his funeral but that was the only one I ever went to. It was emotionally exhausting. Since then, for pts we have grown close to, we send a card to the family signed by all of us & usually receive back from them a thank you note with a funeral card from the services.
Aug 8, '02Originally posted by mario_ragucci
Has anyone ever went to the funeral of a PT, or looked in the o*****uaries for PT's they were friends with and then died?
Perhaps going to a funeral would be too much, if I saw Mr. U, we certainly would cry. (sad smile)
I always went to the funerals of my families when I was a Hospice volunteer. After all I cared about these people. The nurses tried to go also. The family more often than not would drag me around to meet the relatives and say " this is person that took care of Mary or Joe.....
And 2 months is a long time to know and care about someone. I have been very attached to patients I have only known for 48 hours! I think you develop relationships faster under these circumstances.
You have suffered a loss too, allow yourself to grieve...
Aug 8, '02Mario Id like to tell you about my first pt death.
I had managed to avoid it all through & for my whole first year as an RN. Then I went to work in an ICU during my second year & for 4 months still hadnt a pt die. Then I was assigned a new admission -
a 102 yr old grand-daughter of Southern slaves who had escaped to NYC through the Underground Railroad. The lady was fully alert & oriented & had a leaking abdominal aortic aneurysm. The surgeons were very straight with her. They told her she needed immediate surgery which she might not make it out of & even if she did, she would have a rough post op course with all kinds of machines & tubes & possibiliities of complications.
She declined the surgery & asked for all her children to be with her at the bedside because, she said, "this is the day I will die & I want their voices to carry me away." All 5 of her elderly children sat with her on the bed. 2 sons on one side, 2 daughters on the other, touching her & holding her hands & a daughter at the head of the bed stroking her hair.
The pt talked to them, explaining her decision, & telling them how she wanted them to celebrate her passing. Then she told them they were wonderful children, had made her very happy & proud all their lives, & then she re-told them stories of their heritage & family history - her slave grandparents, their lives, their flight to freedom.
(I found reasons to be close enough to that bedside to hear her amazing stories. All I could think was this woman is regal. A grand daughter of slaves. 102 yrs old. The things she must have lived through. The courage she has knowing this is her last day on Earth & she is not afraid. I couldnt tear myself away but made sure I was not being intrusive. I stopped taking her bld pressure & the MD wrote an order to hold all meds - so as not to interrupt.)
When she stopped talking & started drifting in & out of consciousness, the children took over & talked very quietly to her telling her what a wonderful mother she was & recounting episodes of their own lives & how she made a difference for them.
Her husband had died when she was 30 & she raised the 5 children herself - all went on to college & professional careers - and they talked to her about all of that.
They didnt leave her side or stop talking to her for one minute. Four hrs later, the heart beat on her monitor slowed down & finally she was gone. Just like that. Looking like she was sound asleep. With her childrens voices taking her away. She was beautiful.
The nurses stood at the nursing station opposite her bed mesmerized. There was not a dry eye in the place. It was the most beautiful death I have ever witnessed.
After a time with her, her eldest son (about 80 yrs old) made a point to come to us & thank us profusely for giving his dear mother "a good death"
It was 1984 & I can still see it & remember it like it was yesterday & I still get choked about it - even now as I write this.
Welcome to nursing, Mario.
Aug 8, '02Mario, if you truely cared for this pt., by all means, go to the wake and/or funeral. Your presence there will show her family that those who cared for her in her last 2 months of life also cared about her and valued her living. I've gone to many funerals in my nursing career, and yes, the nurses on my unit DO check obituaries for pt. names.
Aug 8, '02I have a dirty secret. I always read the obits. I usually recognize one (sometimes 2) names of people who were former patients. It's kind of a morbid habit, but most nurses do it.
As for funerals, I have been tempted at times to go. I work with people who make a point of going to every funeral of residents (even their family members) that die. I choose to draw my professional line at that. Yes, I do grieve each death in my own way, but I choose to do it privately. It is a good thing to reminiss (sp?) with co-workers over those special cases that you know they're also hurting over. "Hey, you remember when Mr. X did this... He was such a character!" This helps the grieving process, and helps you to admit that you are a human being who is capable of loss.
I suggest you explore and develop your own rituals. Whatever allows you to cope and grieve. It's okay to do this. It's human to do this.
Aug 8, '02jt......
what a beautiful story, and what a privilege it must have been to be there to witness this incredible woman and her family!
I'm sitting here all teary-eyed now.....but thank you for sharing your story with us.......