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Black Humour

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Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 9 years experience.

brownbook

Has 36 years experience.

Humor when you are under stress can save your life! An author studied real life situations where people were in physical danger. He tried to fathom who survived and who died.

Short version, my take away, was people who could laugh, (relax, take a deep breath, not panic....laugh!) could, would, did, survive.

If black humor relieves the pain, stress, of dealing with dying patients, so you can continue to function, then use it.

la_chica_suerte85, BSN, RN

Specializes in Pediatric Hematology/Oncology.

OMG one of our nurses with years of experience called a provider to come and pronounce a comfort care patient. So when she called she said to the provider "the patient in room X expired" I immediately thought to myself "what the hell is he milk" and had to go to the bathroom to explode....for whatever reason I can't use the word "expire" to explain a dead person - they are not food! LOL

I always hear expire and think of coupons.

silverbat

Specializes in Care Coordination, MDS, med-surg, Peds. Has 22 years experience.

On my med-surg floor one dark and stormy night... Oh wait!! That's a tale for another time!! LOL

However, one night a patientdied. I was NOT her nurse. Well, the nurse that was taking care of her and the CNA were fairly new, did not ask for assist from the rest of us, and when the patient died, they left her in the position she was in until the funeral home could come, 4-5 hours later. I am sorry, but I laughed when the gurney went by... The patient had been sitting up in the bed, and remained so on the gurney!!!!

VivaLasViejas, ASN, RN

Specializes in LTC, assisted living, med-surg, psych. Has 20 years experience.

Okay everybody, I have laughed my way through this entire thread, including videos, and I've been to the bathroom TWICE now for fear of peeing my pants!! I don't know how I missed this thread but I'm making up for lost time. Keep the funny coming, folks!:laugh:

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 9 years experience.

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 9 years experience.

I had a patient that the family had taken off life support a week prior. He had a morphine drip and was on q2h ativan pushes. I had to keep from singing "let it go" when I was pushing the ativan.

Brekka, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics. Has 6 years experience.

Truthfully, when I was a nursing student, I believed that the black humor I heard from the nurses was simply a burnt out nurse who needed to find a new career. I swore I'd never be like that, I insisted that since I genuinely cared about my patients, I would never do something like that. Black humor is definitely not something most students are prepared for, and they certainly don't address it in nursing school.

Fast forward 3 years later, and I have a severe case of black humor. Luckily my co-workers do as well, so it fits. I make jokes with coworkers that seem dark and uncaring, I even think a lot of normally inappropriate things with some of my patients, but that does not mean that I don't care about my patients. That does not mean that I am not a good nurse, and cannot provide good care. All it means is that I've found a way to cope with the constant loss (I work in rehab and LTC, and can grow attached to my patients).

Black humor even runs in my family. My mother was a paramedic for over 30 years, and my various other family members, from Air Force career, to school teacher, they all have a strong sense of black humor. A few years ago my grandmother died of a brain aneurysm, combined with coumadin therapy... it was not pretty. Her BP was sky high, 1/4 of her skull was filled with blood, and she was completely unconscious and unresponsive the entire time. We understood her wishes, and had agreed to make her comfortable and let her pass. She was admitted in order to die comfortably, with frequent PRN morphine (one nurse refused to give it because "the patient might die").

Family came in from all over the United States. One got leave from the AF to come, another drove all night to get there. With dozens of us together, we too used black humor to help us through. Black humor comments were common, such as "She was dying to get us all together, but she couldn't make it because she had a headache." This didn't mean that we loved her any less, or that her loss was any less tragic, but it was the way that allowed us to cope with the 4 days it took her to pass.

This is one of the reasons that I will never look down on anyone for using it, so long as it's used correctly. If you can make it through your nursing career without a twinge of black humor, that's great, but that gives you no right to judge or ridicule those that use it. It does not make you a better nurse, or a better person.

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

100% agree with ^^^this!

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 20 years experience.

I was taking care of a patient who was brain dead and awaiting to have organs placed. Our procurement agency was in the room with me and the nurse replied "I'm feeling brain dead". I stopped what I was doing and we looked at each other and laughed. She was mortified she said that. I needed the stress relief. (That night was busy with swan insertion, bedside bronchoscopy, and other tasks)

bagladyrn, RN

Specializes in OB.

There is an owner of a funeral home here in Florida with a marvelous sense of humor. They have billboard along the highway that reads: "Remember that dress you said you wouldn't be caught dead in? Better tell your family!"

I almost drove off the road laughing the first time I saw it.

Tenebrae, BSN, RN

Specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative. Has 9 years experience.

When I was district nursing, I visited a client who was profoundly deaf. Client lived of a busy road, and we were making small talk when I said "tell me, does the noise from X street bother you?" I realized what I'd said as soon as I'd said it, fortunately the client had a brilliant sense of humour.

The other one was again district nursing I was doing a catheter change for a male tetraplegic at the end of it when I had the catheter in, balloon inflated, I asked him "how does that feel?" He looked at me, I looked at him and we both cracked up with me apologsing for the second most daft statement I'd uttered at that time

No Stars In My Eyes

Specializes in Med nurse in med-surg., float, HH, and PDN. Has 43 years experience.

Yeah, at my very first nursing job I had a paraplegic patient ....16 years old :sarcastic:.....every time you'd do something to his feet he would make his upper body jerk and he'd say, "OWWW!"......I cannot count the # of times I fell for that and started to apologize, only to have him collapse LAUGHING at me, "You KNOW I can't feel anything......don't you?"

nursecathi

Specializes in critical care, LTC. Has 20+ years experience.

Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately, I find humor in almost everything. I do have a very dark, dry sense of humor. Even some if my coworkers don't understand it. I've worked critical care, long term care and now I'm in what I call short term care--hospice. My son shares this gene. He's a paramedic. My daughter also shared this gene. She not in healthcare. She just grew up with a mother who learned to cope with the tragedies of life. And death. I would never say anything in front of a patient or family. Think it, yes.

Edited by nursecathi

Nurse Leigh

Specializes in Telemetry.

Apologies if this has already been posted, but I heard this quotation the other night and immediately thought of this thread.

"Life does not cease to be funny when people die any more than it ceases to be serious when people laugh." -- George Bernard Shaw

I think it sums up my feelings rather nicely. :)

kbrn2002, ADN, RN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Dialysis. Has 19 years experience.

Fortunately CamillusRN, I haven't developed a dark sense of humor and I'm sure I will never poke fun at the death of a patient. There's plenty of other coping strategies that could be utilized, humor is just not the one. Put yourself in their families shoes.....

Nobody is advocating "poking fun" at a death. While the dark and twisted helps us cope, I've never heard anything inappropriate said where anyone other than a like minded coworker or friend can hear it.

Now that I got that my chest...my favorite warped sense of humor moment happened when I came on shift and discovered a resident had passed when I made first rounds. Unfortunately he had been gone long enough that rigor had set in. Makes me wonder when he was actually checked last, but it was a long time ago and that's another topic altogether. Anyway, he was on his side in the fetal position and when the funeral home was there to pick him up we had a heck of a time getting him into the body bag. At one point we had rolled him onto his back and ended up playing a sick version of seesaw with his body in an attempt to get him the darn bag. Picture every time we'd get his head positioned his legs would go up...push his legs back down and up goes the head! A few rounds of this and all of in the room were laughing hysterically.

hppygr8ful, ASN, RN, EMT-I

Specializes in Psych, Addictions, SOL (Student of Life). Has 19 years experience.

Two nights ago I found myself with another nurse bagging a 96 year old who was "Hospice" but the family had signed the polst as a full code before they flew off to Reno for vacation. A was monitoring the pulse with a stethascope as we do not have cardiac monitors in our facilty. While our desk nurse was on the phone trying to reach the family. The only thought that kept running through my head was "If i start compressions this person is going to come apart like a bowl of rice crispies" The words didn't come out of my mouth but the thought was there. As it happened the family was contacted and changed the status to DNR

nrsang97, BSN, RN

Specializes in Neuro ICU and Med Surg. Has 20 years experience.

Nobody is advocating "poking fun" at a death. While the dark and twisted helps us cope, I've never heard anything inappropriate said where anyone other than a like minded coworker or friend can hear it.

Now that I got that my chest...my favorite warped sense of humor moment happened when I came on shift and discovered a resident had passed when I made first rounds. Unfortunately he had been gone long enough that rigor had set in. Makes me wonder when he was actually checked last, but it was a long time ago and that's another topic altogether. Anyway, he was on his side in the fetal position and when the funeral home was there to pick him up we had a heck of a time getting him into the body bag. At one point we had rolled him onto his back and ended up playing a sick version of seesaw with his body in an attempt to get him the darn bag. Picture every time we'd get his head positioned his legs would go up...push his legs back down and up goes the head! A few rounds of this and all of in the room were laughing hysterically.

OMG the visual of you guys trying to get that poor pt into the body bag. I would be laughing hysterically too. The visual keeps giving me the giggles.