One of my first patient's to pass away had been a nurse herself. Her daughter was unable to get a flight out in time to be at the bedside. I used a cell phone
to call her daughter and then put the phone to my patient's ear so her daughter could say goodbye to her mother. Although my patient was on 100's of mcg's of Neo, maxed on dopamine and vasopressin and only had a BP of 60/30, she was responsive enough to shed tears while listening to her daughter talk (patient was on a ventilator and unable to talk).
I didn't get a chance to meet the daughter then, but I attended the memorial service for my patient. Turns out, she had been a nurse in my rather small community for 40 years and was well loved by everyone. She was also a nursing instructor at my school a few years prior to me attending and she had trained my stepson's school nurse. I was fortunate enough to meet the daughter that had spoken to her mother via cell phone, we hugged and cried. I ended up saying a few words during the service and felt a weight lifted off my shoulders after learning about what a terrific lady she was and what a full life she led.
Months go by and just a few weeks ago, I find a package in my mailbox at work. I open it up to find 2 stethoscopes and a small gold chain with a gold charm on the end that says, "RN". The card inside states that it's from the patient's daughter, the stethoscopes and necklace belonged to her mother while she had been a nurse and she felt her mother would be honored for me to have them. She wore the necklace everyday of her career as a nurse. I was so touched that this woman remembered me while going through her mother's belongings. Although I have my own "RN" necklace very similar to the one given to me, I will keep hers and should my stepdaughter decide to become a nurse, I will proudly hand it over on her graduation day. If not, then someday, when I am a patient and I have an incredible, caring nurse, I will pass it down along with the story of how it came to be.
Melanie = )