My Patient is Dying

  1. I am a oncology nurse my job is to help patients through the disease process without judgement. Sometimes that is soooo hard, and sometimes no matter how hard you try not to get involved, no matter how hard you try to stay objective you get sucked into the patients life so when it comes time for the final curtain or even close to that time your heart cries along with the patients family as if you are truely loosing a good friend.

    I have a 28 year old cervical cancer patient who is pretty much in renal faliure at this time. The hospice nurse called the clinic today saying the patient has not been feeling well for the past 2 days and has little or no output from her nephrostomy tubes. We told her to send her in and we would probally admit her to check and/or replace the tubes. She looked weak when she came in via ambulance, but she was alert, articulate, oriented and cooperative. Her labs gave the full truth K= 7.5, BiCarb=14, Creat= 19.9 (when a few weeks ago it was 1.9). Basically everything was out of wack.
    As the doctor looked at the labs he said and I quote "We are looking at the labs of a dead person!"

    This is a pateint who has a husband and two very young children.
    I have been holding back on tears since we admitted her. I called to check on her about 9pm and was told the doctor and nurse were with her at that time and I should call back later to talk to her nurse if I wanted.

    Sometimes this is sooooooo hard. She is 28 years old!!!! The worst part of this is it could have been avoided if she had taken care of the problem when it first showed up as a bad pap when she was 19. But she chose to ignore the certified letters urging her back to clinic to take care of the problem. SO now she is dying.

    Don't get me wrong I love my job, but times like these are so hard. It doesn't matter if the patient is 28 or 82 it is still hard. I feel so helpless. All I can do I guess is do my job to the best of my ability and hope that I have somehow made a difference however small in the patient's life. Because I know she has made a difference in mine. I will never forget her.

    So before you lay your head down to sleep tonight please say a prayer for this patient that she simply falls a sleep. Say a prayer for her young children who will have to grow up with out her, and for her young husband who now has to raise his family without his wife.

    Thank you for allowing me this forum to have a place to vent when it is needed.
    •  
  2. 14 Comments

  3. by   dianah
    Bless you, no one ever said it would be easy. We all want to make a difference, which most of the time means we want to heal our pts and "make them all better." The reality is, we help in a lot of non-task-oriented ways, in small ways and large. Basically we ride with some of them in the carriage until they get off at their designated stop, and then we go on without them. But we were there for them while they rode, maybe talking, maybe adjusting position, maybe just listening, maybe just being there was caring enough.
    It is hard. We do what we can. Please allow yourself time to grieve and be human. I will keep the family and you in my prayers. -- D
  4. by   jkaee
    What an emotionally trying situation for you! I can only imagine how difficult this must be for you and for this woman's family....give as much as you can to them; it will not be forgotten.


    Please let us know how everything is going for you, and for the patient and her family. We're here to listen!


    Jennifer :angel2:
  5. by   Dixen81
    I will remember you, the young woman, and her family in my prayers.
    God bless.
  6. by   leslie :-D
    how lucky this woman is to have you for a nurse. to me, it makes a big difference whether the pt. is 28 or 82......at 82 it seems so much more natural. if it eases your mind, her end stage renal disease will probably be very peaceful; i have seen many patients die from uremia. it's the woman's age that's so horribly unfair. just keep her comfortable in every way you can. you, she and her family are all in my prayers.
  7. by   LolaRN
    I work on a medical/oncology floor and had one of my patients die on Monday. She was only 50 and had cancer everywhere. You could feel the tumors in her abd. It was heart breaking and I cried the morning that she died. I know exactly how you feel. We have had 4 patients under 40 die in the last week. I just keep trying to tell myself that it matters to the family and just the empathy and trying to keep the patient comfortable matters to them. I am not sure if its true but I need to say that to myself. My thoughts and prayers are with you and the patient.
  8. by   Tweety
    It's tough when you are loosing young ones. One of the worst things I hated about trauama was dying young folks. You're a good nurse for caring.
  9. by   renerian
    Worked on a unit like your for over 6 years. I have been sucked in before for about 5 people. I needed to go to their funerals to say goodbye.

    Thanks for doing what you do,

    renerian
  10. by   beckymcrn
    Thank you for all you kind replys.


    I just called the unit and spoke to her nurse.
    She made it through the night. I spoke to her briefly too, she sounds very tired.
  11. by   mercy31513
    Hi, I feel for you. I have been there myself. I am enclosing a poem that the family may appreciate and you also. It has helped many times in my hospice career.
    I'M FREE
    Don' grieve for me, for now I'm free.
    I' following the path God laid for me.
    I took his hand when I heard him call,
    I turned my back and left it all.
    I could not stay another day,
    To laugh, to love, to work, or play.
    Tasks left undone must stay that way,
    I've found that peace at the close of day.
    If my parting has left a void,
    Then fill it with remembering joy.
    A friendship shared, a laugh, a kiss,
    Ah, yes, these things I too will miss.
    Be not burdened with times of sorrow,
    I wish you the sunshine of tomorrow.
    My life's been full, I've savored much,
    Good friends, good times, a loved one's touch.
    Perhaps my time seemed all too brief,
    Don't lengthen it with undue grief,
    Lift up your heart and share with me,
    God wanted me now, he set me Free.
  12. by   beckymcrn
    Thank you that is beatiful
  13. by   soltera
    I know this was not posted for me but my favorite auntie just died of breast cancer this saturday and when i saw this poem it lifted my heart. thankyou, it is truely beautiful.
  14. by   orrnlori
    Oh, Lordy - I need to stay away from some posts, this is the second time this morning I've cried reading this board.

    We are all in this together, some days are worse than others. Just know you make a difference for those you touch.

close