HI, you might recognize me from such posts as; "whats is like to be an oncology nurse" and "whats the worst thing you have seen in the burn unit"
Anyhow, i am curious to know what the worst thing you have seen as an oncology nurse (or any nurse who has sen someone w/ cancer) (e.g most disgusting, saddest.. ect...)
Might seem weird that i keep asking this, but i want to know if i can handle the job or not! :uhoh21: ( i must admit, i am a BIT nervous)
Lookin' forward to your replies...
May 17, '04
I'm not an onc nurse either, but as a former hospice nurse, I cared for many CA pts.
Young pt w/ terminal melanoma, had a six inch high tumor protruding from the shoulder. It looked just like a volcano with blood erupting out of it like lava.
Another pt w/ rectal CA w/ mets. This pt had fissures and fistulas all through the intestines and abdominal wall. BM oozed out of many adominal openings. The pt was always in a huge mess, despite constant care, and the smell was unbelievable. Very nice pt. This pt had made peace, and died peacefully.
Fungating breast CA, with spontaneous amputation (what was left of the breast fell off) and there were maggots in the tissue. Also, a wonderful person.
Saw a lung CA pt cough up a chunk of something gray and black. I saved it in a baggy, and asked the doc what it was. He said it was a piece of lung.
Had a pt w/ a giganitic ovarian tumor, which took over her entire abdomen, and completely occluded her bowel. She was told that she should not eat, but did anyway. She had copious amts of fecal emesis, and had to undergo palliative sedation.
The most heartwrenching are the pts w/ brain mets which causes them to behave in an extremely psychotic matter, and be extremely aggitated- violent and in terror, or just totally loopy. This can almost always be controlled w/ meds, but sometimes it takes a while.
I take that back- the most heartwrenching thing is when a pt is in great need of pain mgmt, and we have the ability to make them comfortable, but the family member who has the Durable Power of Attorney won't allow it, or a doc ignorant of pain and sx mgmt won't allow it.
But, there are lots of good things, too. There are pts who tell you that they have been in agonizing pain for months, and they cry with relief and joy when we are able to make them pain free.
There are the pts and family members who are very angry and in denial, fighting with each other and blaming each other, hateful to staff. It is a wonderful thing to see when they finally accept the situation, and in doing so, are sometimes able to come to terms with their lives- their regrets and their joys, and have a very meanful last few days and death.
Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on May 17, '04