The Patients Who Break Your Heart - page 4

by VivaLasViejas Guide

31,505 Views | 62 Comments

From the earliest days of nursing school, when we were taught never to become "too involved" with our patients, we nurses find ourselves balancing precariously on the gossamer thread that separates caring for people and caring... Read More


  1. 4
    I was what? 23, maybe? My patient was a good looking 21 year old guy, he had shot himself in the back of the head. His family waited in the hallway. They didn't want to come until he was gone. Then they came in.

    The 37 year old woman G 9, P 0, miscarrying triplets. The delivery of those triplets on our unit.

    The first maternal demise after delivering a healthy baby girl. Mom had a ruptured cerebral aneurysm.

    "My" AIDS baby. He was 6 when he passed. What a smile that kid had, even though he never spoke. The boy with AIDS with the same birthdate as my son. whoo hoo, he's 17 next week!

    Thank God for the ones who make us smile and not dwell on the ones who make us cry.
  2. 1
    These stories are beautiful, heart-rending, and uplifitng. Thank you.
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
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    I remember the 3 y/o little girl I took care of who was being molested in the hospital room while she was in a spica cast. I was in the DON's office being told that I would be fired if I kept making these allegations (after a state investigation decided my charges were untrue) when her UA came back full of semen. I remember the young mother who was holding her baby in her lap when the driver of the car she was in broad-sided an 18-wheeler's trailer being backed across the road, and trying to help her deal with her trauma secondary to the baby's decapitation. I remember the woman who was pinned under her dead mother in a wheelchair for hours after being caught trying to get to safety during a tornado. I had to sedate her every time the air conditioner had to be turned on, but I also remember the man whose family was notified of his impending death only to have him turn it around and WALK out upon discharge. I remember the lady whose baby was in fetal distress, but was born healthy because I was in the right room at the right moment. I'll never forget so many people and stories from the 20 years of nursing that have made me who I am as a person and I'm glad I dedicated my life to it, even though there were times I just wanted to go fry burgers for McDonalds instead. I always believed that we as nurses have an obligation to use our strength in the defense of those who are too weak to defend themselves, regardless of any consequences to us. Today I train the next generation to carry the torch and they are already making me proud.
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    Good luck to you, young nurse. Never forget, "I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me." That is the verse that has carried me through so many people's grief and pain, including, at times, my own. If it's really bad, I repeat it over and over to myself, placing the emphasis on different words...."I can do.." "I can do..." etc. Hope this is a tip that helps you stay sane.
    ttmm2008, 2012RN2b, pink_girl, and 2 others like this.
  5. 1
    Wow....Thank you so much....I hope we all try and somehow even remotely achieve the kind of care we would want delivered to us and our families. I can tell that you are the epitome of the kind of nurse we all strive to be...Thank you..
    VivaLasViejas likes this.
  6. 2
    I really don't have the words, just THANK YOU. thank you for your stories and thank you for the wonderful jobs you do. Sometimes things happen that are so hard even impossible to comprehend. I tell myself if we had all the answers then we wouldn't be here.
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    i cared for a 47 year old man who had an appendectomy gone wrong and ended up with a foot long wound in he abdomen as well as a colostomy. i got to chat with him for quite some time due to the fact that i was changing his wound vac dressing. he was one of the nicest people ive ever taken care of. i remember him asking me if he'll get better and that if he'll be able to go home to his wife and 4 children despite the fact that he has a foot long incision on his abdomen. i remember reassuring him that the facility i work at has a great wound team and that he should take little steps at a time in his recovery. he told me that he was the bread winner in his family and that his illness has made his wife et a job working $8 an hour trying to support his family - and i only reassured him again. i found out that two days later he ended up coding and they couldn't bring him back... it breaks my heart when i think of it because i start question my ability as a nurse, the state of his family, and the reassurance i gave him. well, i found out that his cause of death might have been an infection to the foot long wound he had in his abdomen. he had no signs of infection but some how i wish that i could have spotted it before.
    leemacaz likes this.
  8. 0
    AS a pediatric nurse for 11 years, I can truly say I understand the very heartbreak you felt then and are still feeling to this day. That kind of death just does something to you mentally and deep in your heart. I'm so very sorry that you had to deal with not only her death but they frequent visits to this house. May God bless you and give you some measure of peace.
  9. 0
    Oh my gosh!!! I had goose pumps all up and down my body with that story. Thank you for sharing!
  10. 2
    Okay, so every one of these stories has brought me really close to crying. I want to put up something lighter - but I am only a nursing student and don't have any stories yet, but I wanted those reading this to come across a cheerful account, so I hope you all don't mind me posting this more personal story anyway. My grandfather had colon cancer when I was twelve. He was diabetic, so he had this "compact" calculator/timer that, as far back as I can remember, he would use to wait five minutes after putting in his eyedrops... I don't know the reasoning, but I do remember him taking out that calculator, a big plastic pill container labeled with the S-M-T-W-Th-F-S and eyedrops. This calculator would ding, say "Time is up" and play Camp Town Race Tracks (sing this song, doo dah, dooh dah, camp town race tracks five miles long, oh the doo dah day...) Anyhow, he was under hospice care for the last few weeks of that summer. He passed, as far as I could tell, rather peacefully, as he had been talking to his mother and deceased brothers three days previous. Anyhow, the priest came over to say some prayers before they removed his body, and the priest had just said something along the lines of asking God to take his soul to heaven, now that he has passed, when that timer went off: "ding dong, ding dong - Time is Up! *melody to Camp Town Race Tracks*". Even the priest laughed... my grandpa liked jokes, and humor, and I kinda believe he had some part in making that calculator go off... he bestowed one last laugh for us all.
    leemacaz and Nepenthe Sea like this.


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