When patients hit close to homeRegister Today!
- by LCinTraining Aug 16, '12I walked into a patient room last week to help a coworker with a transfer. We situated the patient, I stood up as he said "Thank you" and I saw it. My father in law was looking right back at me. Only, it wasn't my father in law. He passed away a few months ago. It took me off guard but I was able to deal with it and said my goodbyes and went back to my patients.
Yesterday I had to cover that group of patients by myself. I did great the entire shift. I honestly didn't even notice a resemblance, until right towards the end of the shift. He made a facial expression and there it was again. The father in law was looking right at me.
After I left the room, my direct nurse (I'm an aide) started asking me about something regarding the man and I started crying. It was only a couple seconds and I took a deep breath and said "I'm o.k. Wow, that was awkward". I'm not a crier. But for some reason this patient really gets me emotional and I'm not sure how to handle it being so close to a man I loved like my own father. Has anyone else dealt with a situation like this? What did you do?
- Aug 17, '12 by rn/writerWhen you have an experience like this, take time after work to let yourself feel what you feel--grief, sadness, missing someone you loved. Let out what you had to more-or-less hold in while on the job. Have a good cry and accept the fact that you're human and you lost someone you really cared about.
If you're working in LTC, it should be a little easier now that you know this gentleman is there. Seeing him won't be such a shock next time. If you need to take a couple of moments to put yourself back together after working with him, so be it. Eventually, you won't feel things so strongly. If you work in a hospital, this patient will eventually be discharged and then you won't have to worry about running into him.
What's far worse is seeing someone who evokes a negative reaction, someone who reminds you of a person you disliked intensely or who caused you great pain. If that ever happens, you might need to confide in a co-worker or the nurse you're working with and see if your assignment can be switched, if for no other reason than to be fair to the patient or resident. If the change can't be made, you just have to rein in the feelings, but again, as soon as you go off duty, it's important to process what you felt.
I'm sorry you lost your father-in-law.
- Aug 17, '12 by LCinTrainingI'm pretty good at separating myself from patients that remind me of negative experiences. They normally have the same last name of someone who has done me wrong. Sometimes they behave the same, but it's easy to acknowledge they are not the same for me. And it's easy to remind myself that nobody wants to be at rehab. They'd rather be home not getting pumped full of meds. I can excuse a lot of grumpiness that way. I've never experienced that gut wrenching "oh my god you aren't here anymore" with a patient before and it threw me. This man's mannerisms were identical to my father in law. I felt like I was talking to him in that week before the pain made him unable to communicate. I was very involved in his Hospice care so that probably played into my emotions, however it totally caught me off guard. I have only lost it once before and that was the night I had to call in late because I was hesitant to leave. I just had a gut feeling that I had experienced my last conversation with him and sobbed on the phone to my boss trying to explain my tardiness. I had a good cry on the way in and was able to pull myself together before I walked in the door. People offered support but I simply asked them to let me deal with it by working. That I couldn't talk about it right now. So no one has seen me cry at work before this patient experience. I am not a crier. So it really threw me.
- Aug 17, '12 by NorCalMimiI was working for an agency and was asked to work a shift for a patient on home hospice. My dad had a fantastic experience with hospice before he passed, so I was more than willing to take care of this patient. This was my first hospice assignment. I was surprised to see so many family members at the home -- maybe 15 or so. Well, the gentleman died two hours after I got there. I have never tried so hard to get an apical pulse...but I eventually had to tell the family. I handled everything with compassion and professionalism, but after my work was done and I got into my car, I lost it. This same day just happened to be my dad's birthday. Times like this really help us to remember that we, too, are human beings with feelings.
- Aug 17, '12 by logachelleI live in California and my parents are in Arkansas. My father had an MI and was in ICU, he was doing ok, fairly stable, and I was able to talk to him but I remained very emotional and worried since I wasn't in a position to go home. That night at work I took care of a man that reminded me sooooo much of him. He had a lot of the same characteristics, witty sense of humor, AND health issues. I was frank and told him so and told him I would take great care of him and hope that someone was doing the same for my dad. It was a great night despite everything. :0)
- Aug 17, '12 by KimyCocoPuffYou know, it might just be your father-in-law visiting... My Dad passed away 2 years and 4 months ago, quite unexpectedly, when my oldest sister, my younger brother, and me were all still in college and about to graduate and with my other older sister about to give birth to his first grandchild a month after his passing. And his dad, my grandfather passed away many year ago. Then one day last year, my mom went to eat dim sum (we're Chinese), just so happened to get a really strange feeling that someone was staring at her. When she turned to look to see who it was, she couldn't believe it but she saw my grandfather sitting there with a smile on his face staring at her. She did a double take and it only turned out to be his brother who looks similar but pretty different from him and is kind of grumpy and with the early, early stages of alzheimer's. And he started asking her all kinds of questions with concern about how we were doing, how the kids (my siblings and me) were doing because he said he's been worried about us ever since my Dad passed away. And this uncle (brother of my grandfather) never attended the funeral because he had been too distraught that my Dad had passed so suddenly. My mom thought it was really weird that he was asking all of this but knowing that she had seen my grandfather's face instead. She told my uncle's wife and kids about this and they said that there is no way that that could've been my uncle talking and that it mustve been my grandfather visiting and checking up on us.
So if you believe it, it may have very well been your father-in-law making a brief visit. Don't think you're delusional or get spooked... Just be happy that he's visiting. We've had a lot of interesting things happen since my Dad's passing. So I wouldn't be surprised that if you were pretty close with your father-in-law, that he's just visiting you. But definitely do take some time out to grieve. I've had patients who had similar cases of disease progressions like my Dad or some that looked similar but it didn't trigger anything but it still made me think of my Dad.
- Aug 17, '12 by peggy2624Everyone seems to be on the same page as far as considering this a visit from your father in law...I think those of us who've had thsi experience and agree that it is truly a blessing even if you cry....and it's ok to cry...But it can be a comfort as well..just knowing they're looking out for us.
- Aug 17, '12 by P_RNDaddy has been gone for 30 years this past February. He always wore a fedora year round as his hair starting thinning in his early 20's. When he entered an elevator he'd remove his hat. He'd tip his hat whenever a lady passed him in the hallway or sidewalk.
In these past 30 years I have "seen" my Father hundreds of times. Men just don't have the manners that the greatest generation men showed. Every now and again I see "Daddy" and I get a little catch in my throat or a tear in my eye. Who's to say that he wasn't tapping that man on the shoulder and saying "show some manners son."
- Aug 17, '12 by umcRNI guess this is a different situation but I'll share it anyways. My very first home nursing patient during clinical in school was a 60ish woman with advanced MS. My mother had been diagnosed with MS only a few years prior. This patient was completely quadriplegic, gtube dependent, had a terrible pressure ulcer, total care though was neurologically intact. She TERRIFIED me. While today my mom is still very much independent, works, etc, I can see little things in her like one of her legs atrophying more than the other, that bring me back to that patient and a future I fear my mother will have.
This is kind of the reverse of your situation but every time I think of that patient I get scared of what my moms future might be and of course I will never, ever forget that woman.