The most heartbreaking thing ive ever had to do :( - page 3
Ok, so I kinda need to get this off my chest, since the people who would understand it the most, are you guys. So last week, I had this patient who was 45 years old, and had cancer. She had a hx of... Read More
Mar 5, '06Quote from DutchgirlRNjoanne- i can relate and agree with everything you've written. your thoughts echo mine exactly.I think the best nurses are the ones who can put themselves in the families shoes, who can cry with family, or who grieve in private when it's over.
Life seems so unfair sometimes. The younger the patient the harder it is for me. I've held a dying child when the parents could not. This almost made me quit nursing, that was 20 years ago and I still remember it like it was yesterday.
My only solace in situations like these are to remind myself that the person who passed is now in Heaven, happy and pain free and that death is only painful for those of us who are left behind to mourn.
being a hospice nurse, that's all i do is help pts die and assist their families in coping. some deaths are easier than others; some seem more natural; some more welcome if suffering cannot be abated. it's a privilege and i can't see me doing anything else, although i have seen many of my collegues switch specialties.
so many times i have cried with the families and have also cried w/my pts. the relationships developed are intimate and feelings shared, highly palpable. assisting your pts and their families in dying is undoubtedly one of the most humbling areas of nsg. and no matter how young, no matter how unnatural or unexpected, no matter how painful......ultimately you are relieved that they are finally in a glorious place. i have done yrs of soul-searching of my spirituality; from everything i have witnessed in these past 10 yrs, has led me to my current beliefs and my faith is unshakeable.
you did well my friend. God bless you; God bless your heart.
Aug 1, '06Thank You for having a heart....
My own Mother died, unexpectantly at the age of 43, when I was 10 yrs. old and left my Father and my 5 sibs (ranging in age 2-18)...shattered. She had complications (bleeding) during a routine hysterectomy (this was back in '67) and the docs could not control it. She left on my 10th b-day, (Sat) had surgery on the following Monday.......and died 4 days after that, on Friday.....I was too young to visit her while she was in the hospital, and family members kept telling me everday that she was getting better and would be home soon......well, it has been 39 yrs., and I'm still waiting....
I was forever changed in so many countless, fundemental ways I can't even begin to share........I just want to say to you that as a young person having experienced the same as your pt's family......THANK YOU for having your patient's death affect you so humanely......makes me think that my Mom's caregivers had the same feelings of HEART. That her death affected not only her family members, but strangers assigned to her well being, as well....:kiss
Aug 1, '06Dedicated to the man I never Knew...
As I tend to you, in your death.
I feel I know you, by those you left.
You must have been, a wonderful man.
The strengh and character, of your clan
I see love, deep in their eyes.
The pain they feel is no disquise.
The gentle way , they touch your hand.
As you are drifting, to the promised land.
Your children talked, of being raised.
Respect and devotion, lived at your place.
Grateful to God, they appeared to be.
Happy to be a part of your family.
Your wife's heart, is beating loud.
Tears well up, her eyes did cloud.
Unable to speak, she begins to cry.
Begging to God, to not let you die.
So you see, my friend, this life is past.
But the values you left, will always last.
Though I never knew you, I know you well.
Your life, your love, their eyes did tell.
Regretfully... not all patients survive,
but the love they have given their family will last a lifetime.
Aug 1, '06I think that you did a wonderful job. There are days like those that will make you wonder why you ever went into nursing. Then those same days, you will know why. You helped the patient and her family.
It is perfectly normal for you to feel the way you are feeling. Always feel free to come here and vent, cry, yell, whatever. We have all been there.
It is ok to cry with the family too. It doesnt make you weak, it shows that you are human and that you truly care about what you do. Seek out a chaplain at work, or other co-workers as well. They can be a tremendous help.
Thank you for doing what you do.:kiss
Mar 9, '07What a great nurse you are...to have been there for the family and your patient. Some of these events really kick you in the chest. You are not in anyway amiss in shedding tears, or having 'feelings' for your families and their sick loved one. All here are right, we are HUMAN BEINGS....and are very much connected to one another....
I am reminded of something when I read your letter....
I don't know if you ever watch Animal Planet, but it's one of my favs.
One day, there was a documentary on about a specific elephant herd in Africa that is dwindling,because of encroachment, poaching, disease, drought, etc. The matriarch of the herd had died. The other elephants would stand for days over her body....sometimes touching her with their trunks and nudging her to 'get up'. Then, the herd realized that she was dead, and was not going to get up again.....so they moved on....migrated to areas where there was more food and water and safety for the younger ones. When the seasons changed, the herd moved back through this same spot. The bones of the matriarch were still laying there, scattered in the dust, bleached by the hot African sun. The herd began to pick up pieces of her bones....touching, smelling, regaining memory of her, through her bones....
They lingered....and one elephant in particular, stayed for the longest time....picking up bone after bone of this elephant who had died....it was obvious that this elephant had a deep connection with the matriarch, and missed her....
Are we any different?
If even members of the animal world grieve the loss of a loved one, we certainly should be just as impacted as they.....how we express that grief is highly individual and personal....
You are a wonderful human being to have such empathy and compassion...
don't ever let go of that....
Mar 9, '07I feel like I am good nurse at the beginning of life. I am not so good a the end. It sounds like you have a real gift when it comes to relating to the family and being there for them. It is so sad, but it does mean a lot to the family who saw you treat their mom so well. You did a great job. Nursing needs bright compassionate young people like you. My daughter, God willing, will be graduating from nursing school when she is 20. She is also a bright, caring young lady.Do something nice for you. You know you will take something good away from this, maybe knowing yourself better or knowing you are strong enough to be there for someone else. There are very few people, especially at your age who could do this. I used to work on a cardiac floor and I have had a few patients who have died. The one I remember, though I don't know why, was a little man who died early in the a.m. before he was to go to the OR for CABG. He had a picture of his chihuahua dog beside his bed. He told me how his wife died a few years before, but he still looked forward to going home so his little dog could sit on his lap and play w/ him. She had been his wife's dog when she was alive. I often wonder about the dog and hope that someone loved his dog as much as he did after he was gone.
Mar 9, '07(((hugs))) you did your best. Now its time to take care of yourself. Go out for coffee with a friend, read a book, watch a movie, or just sleep in. You sound like an awesome nurse. You are brave and strong, and you made a difference even if it was hard. Tears are okay. Take care-Prayers-Peace
Mar 9, '07your reaction during that very trying and difficult time is a good indication of how you will deal with death and dying. i cringe when i think of how insensitive some nurses were towards my family when my grandmother died. we have a very large family and instead of accomodating us they made snide remarks about the amount of visitors that were at my grandmother's bedside when she was dying. i actually went to the nurse supervisor in this hospital and explained that we had a large family and to please waive the visitors rule of only 2-4 at the bsd. her response was that i should know better than anyone that (being that i'm a nurse) these rules are for the good of everyone. i told her that because i'm a nurse i do know that i would try to accomodate a family to the fullest extent in this type of situation. in addition i was sitting there arguing with this woman instead of being at my grandmothers bedside. so the reason i'm relating this story is because obviously you were touched by this situation. that's a good thing. over the years you will see many people that will remind you of your mother,sister,brother etc. you will treat them as well as you would want your family treated. so expect it. it's a good thing.
Mar 9, '07I am so sorry. I realize this post is not new, but I would love to hear how you are coping today.
Mar 9, '07One of my nursing instructors handed out a poem our first day in class and one line in particular read about how this career will make you cry and break your heart and if it doesn't then you weren't meant for it.
Working in LTC/SNF I lost four pts in a week, one of them unexpectedly. I went to my manager and asked her what was I doing wrong, that my pts were dying while I was trying to care for them. She told me that there must have been something comforting about my presence that let the pt know it was okay to pass and that I didn't do anything wrong, I made them more comfortable in order to pass on.
That has gotten me through some of the deaths I have seen. That is also one of the reasons I have stepped back from LTC/SNF/AL. I needed a break from that aspect of nursing. I may eventually return to it but for now I'm sending people home alive and in better shape than they came in.
Good luck to you and take comfort in the fact that the pt was comfortable enough with you as her nurse to pass on. She must have known you would then go from treating her to treating the family.
Mar 20, '07I haven't yet read all the posts but everyone is so encouraging. I like the variety I've read in how to deal with death. I couldn't finish reading all the posts but I will. I started crying. My quick 2 cents: Son got married, wife got pregnant, had miscarriage while he was away in the service. They're both under 25. Son went to Iraq. Came home to wife on a leave and she got pregnant. Shortly after his tour of duty was over, came home and the baby was born 2 weeks later. After dealing with death on the frontline, he has a gift of a son being born, got to cut the cord, etc. 7 weeks later, baby died of SIDS. The EMT's and ED nurses and docs where fabulous to say the least. There was not one dry eye in the ED, including other patients. Just showing that we are human, that we do have emotions, that we do feel pain goes such a long way with the family. Sometimes its the emotions, not the words that give great comfort for the family. Even though I am a nurse, that night I was a grandmother. I needed those nurses. All my "nursing" strength went flying out the door. When I "released" my grandbaby into the hands of my sister and brother nurses and EMT's, I knew my grandbaby was in good hands and it even though there was alot of silence, it was the tears we all shed that touched me most. Even the police dept was compassionate. Believe me, when the family members looked into your eyes, they were greatly comforted.
Mar 20, '07Oh that would have been so heart wrenching for you. Bless and thank you for being there for that family. Sounds like you did all you needed to do and were very loving and supporting.
That is what I love about Hospice Nursing.