Why We Need Nurses (just one of those reasons...)

  1. I saw this post in the Denver Rocky Mountain Newspaper and had to share it....

    Here is the website:

    URL: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drm...913325,00.html

    or the story if you can not get it on your puter..... :

    Rocky Mountain News

    To print this page, select File then Print from your browser
    URL: http://www.rockymountainnews.com/drm...913325,00.html

    Amole: Very blessed am I and ready to die

    Detached.
    My hospice nurse says I have tissue-paper skin. There is a medical term for it, but I can't remember it. My skin appears very thin, almost transparent. I have lots of splotchy, purple bruises.

    These are caused by two medications I am taking, prednisone and coumadin.

    The prednisone is for pain, and the coumadin prevents blood clots from forming that might cause a stroke.

    These marks appear mostly on my hands and arms and not on my face. They do not cause any pain. I mention this because my skin condition is one of the signs that I am dying.

    Trish and I had a long talk with my hospice nurse about how and when I might die. We need as much information as we can get so it will help us plan to use the time I have left.

    Will I be able to die at home, or will I have to spend the rest of my last days in the Hospice of Metro Denver residence facility? Of course I want to die in my own bed in our own home.

    If my care becomes too difficult for Trish to manage here, I would want to die at the residence facility. I have seen it, and it is very pleasant and well-staffed with caring professionals.

    It isn't likely I shall have an "event," a term used to define death as the result of a stroke, massive heart attack, or some other sudden happening.

    It appears now that I will gradually surrender my life as a result of what is called a multisystem failure. That means my vital organs will no longer be able to sustain my life.

    This process is already under way. One sign this is happening is I am gradually becoming "detached," as my hospice nurse describes my condition.

    This means I am sleeping a lot. As I noted in this diary before, I actually nod off while writing entries in it, or go to sleep while reading a newspaper, or talking to friends on the telephone. I just drift away.

    I try not to be detached completely from reality. I still want to know what is happening around me. I want to see my Trish, my sons and daughters, my son-in-law and my precious little Jacob. I want to cling to those I love as long as I can.

    I think I shall be able to enjoy Christmas with them, but how much time after that, I don't know. At this point, I feel fortunate that my passing has been as pain- and anguish-free as it has.

    I have Trish, my caregiver, and drugs to make this possible. It is so sad that for many years the medical profession was not schooled in helping their patients die comfortably, and doctors hesitated too long in prescribing pain medication.

    They are rarely present when a patient dies. They are not there to ease the pain, to offer emotional as well as palliative support during the last days of life. It is more often the nurses who have had to assume these roles.

    It is because of them that the hospice program has evolved.

    Some medical schools are beginning to include training in their curriculum to help physicians be more responsive to their dying patients' needs.

    As for me, I am grateful for the care my family and hospice have given me. They have made it possible for me to reflect on my life in the most positive terms. I have no anger, no hate, no fear. I am blessed, and I am ready to die.


    Contact Gene Amole by writing editor@RockyMountainNews.com. Previous columns in Amole's diary of dying are available online @RockyMountainNews.com.

    December 19, 2001

    MORE AMOLE COLUMNS

    Copyright 2001, Rocky Mountain News. All Rights Reserved.

    B.

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  2. 1 Comments

  3. by   pooshkie
    Dear Nightengale,

    It is beautiful to witness such extrordinary peace and dignity into eternal life. What a touching reminder of why we become nurses. God Bless, Pooshkie

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Why We Need Nurses (just one of those reasons...)