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Can I keep going.....

I lost a patient yesterday, not my first patient to ever lose, but the hardest yet. He had been on services for over a year. CHF and COPD. Lived at home alone. Had lost his wife about 2 years earlier. I had been to his house twice a week and most of the time more than that for the last year and a half. Loved him dearly. Anyways, yesterday morning I went to his house for his visit. He wasn't feeling very good. Nauseated and just down in the dumps. So I stayed for quite awhile just talking to him, setting up his meds in a weekly planner and getting him situated. His daughter and son in law were out of town for the week. So he had some church members going in to check on him and fix him meals. So I left that morning and told him I would be back in the afternoon to check on him. I went back in the afternoon and some church family was there visiting. So I told him I would call or come back by about 7pm to check on him and see if there was anything he needed me to do. So...........I called last night about 6:30pm and didn't get a answer. So I waited about 10 minutes (thinking he might have been in the bathroom) and than got a really funny feeling, so a HHA and I went to check on him. I found him on his kitchen floor dead. At that moment all my nursing judgement went out the window and it was like a family member of mine, laying there on the floor. I just can't believe he's gone. I am so sad and feel so empty and just can't shake it. He was still warm when we got there, and putting together a time frame he had to have died between 5:30pm and 6:30pm. But I hate the fact that he was alone. I hate the fact that his daughter was out of town. (5 hrs away). So the HHA and I stayed, cleaned him up, called the Dr and funeral home. And made arrangements for his dog that was with him. I know this is long and rambling but I just have to get it out. My husband dosen't understand the loss I feel. My co-workers and you guys are the only one's I can share this with, who really understand my pain and sorrow. Thanks for listening. :o

CANRN, MSN, RN

Specializes in Hospice and Palliative Care, Family NP. Has 17 years experience.

I am sorry for your loss. I do understand your pain, I have also gotten very close emotionally to a couple of my patient's and when they passed, it was very difficult to deal with.

I know right now it seems as if you can't keep going, but you can. You sound like a very compansionate and caring person. Your other patient's need you and so do their families. Your in my prayers. *HUGS*

Cindy

RosesrReder, ASN, BSN, MSN, RN

Has 18 years experience.

I am so sorry for your loss. I have no advice as I am not a nurse. Hope you can move on soon. Hugs

HappyJaxRN

Specializes in Transplant, homecare, hospice. Has 9 years experience.

I'm so sorry this has happened to you. I'm sure he appreciates everything that you've done for him and did for him after his passing. You're a great nurse and very compassionate! It's hard when you bond with your patients and they die unexpectedly, however, it's all part of the process. I hope that you can heal, mend, and move past this. I know how you feel and my thoughts and prayers are with you. Getting it out and talking about it is the best therapy. I'm all ears...eyes...I'm here for ya.

Sometimes you get a patient that becomes very special to you and when they die they take a little piece of your heart with them. I've had people say "you work for hospice what do you expect" but those I work with understand. I tell myself that its selfish of me to want them to stay when its time for them to move on. I keep their memories with me and think of the moments we spent together and I smile.

that's the beauty of hospice nsg....the relationships formed and bonded are created interdependently; you get from your pts. as much as you give. it sounds like your pt. went quickly, no lingering. thank God for that. for as much as you're hurting now, it is these types of heart-wrenching times that only serve to enrich our nsg. experiences. i've lost pts. that i still miss, even though it's been yrs. since they passed. yet it has only motivated me to deliver the most compassionate care to every single pt. i have. you obviously have a most loving heart, and hospice should have all nurses as devoted as you. my heartfelt sympathies for your loss.

leslie

Thanks for all your kind words. Its makes me feel better. I believe he went quick and was gone before he ever hit the floor. And I can take comfort in the fact that he went quickly without suffering, or having his independence taken away. He was such a kind, gentle man that will be in my heart forever. And like earle says it will definitley keep me motivated to deliver the best possible care for all my patients.

One thing is for sure, your kindness and caring manner come through in just your posts alone, so I am sure they shine from you in person. Your patients are blessed to have you. I'm sure he knew how much he meant to you, and that helped him greatly. You did more than most would, and the pain you feel just means you aren't afraid to be close with someone who you know is dying. So many people shy away from building close relationships (and even friendships) with those who are terminally ill. Can you imagine what that must feel like to the one who is dying, the feeling of being isolated... instead you gave of your heart. God bless you.

Lori

assuming that his church family was seeing him earlier,i would hope the only one he needed was there by his side.his friend,jesus.i have worked in both icu and oncology.many patients really do want to be alone when the lord calls them home.we will never fully understand death and dying but the fact that you were blessed to spend such a long time with him is what counts.do not be sad,you touched his life til the day he was called home!.

assuming that his church family was seeing him earlier,i would hope the only one he needed was there by his side.his friend,jesus.i have worked in both icu and oncology.many patients really do want to be alone when the lord calls them home.we will never fully understand death and dying but the fact that you were blessed to spend such a long time with him is what counts.do not be sad,you touched his life til the day he was called home!.

I take comfort in the fact that jesus was there by his side and the more I think about it I know that is probably exactly how he wanted it. He was such a private man, that never wanted to bother anyone or be any trouble. So that was probably his way of "not bothering anyone"

jnette, ASN, EMT-I

Specializes in Hemodialysis, Home Health. Has 10 years experience.

webblarsk.. I am SO sorry for your pain. :o

I know only too well how this hurts as I deal with it all the time myself.

And I always come here to unload as well. My dh can't relate, either.. not that he is unkind, but he just can't "feel" it as we do because he is not directly involved.

I can well imagine what a shock it was to you.. how overwhelmed your emotions were. I know you just wanted to take him in your arms and gently hold him close to let him know another human being who cared was in his presence. Bit he KNEW, webblarsk, he KNEW. And he felt your love and compassion even though he had already vacated his ailing body. I believe his spirit was still hovering, and he saw you there and felt your pain. I'm sure he would have dried your tears if he could have, letting you know that now all was finally well.

(((((((((((HUGS))))))))) my friend. Thank you for caring.

Our relationships with patients and families are brief, but meaningful and genuine. Sometimes no one "gets it" not even our co-workers. Mourn your patient and try to take comfort that you brought a comfort and caring to him during his last months.

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