Choked up over a pt today

Posted

Specializes in Trauma Surgery, Nursing Management. Has 14 years experience.

I was getting ready to do a Gamma Nail today for a pt, got all of the supplies in the room and went to go meet my pt. He was a 90 year old former MD. He had prostate ca with mets. As his LTC nurse was turning him last night, his femur broke right in her hands. Pathologic fx from another tumor. His daughter was with him, and she told me that she did not want to suspend his DNR order during surgery. She was holding his hand while she was talking to me, and was very aware that this may be the last time she would see him alive. He also had severe dementia. She said that he was unable to communicate anything but pain, did not respond to any questions or gestures, and did not make eye contact. He was extremely frail, and I could see every bone in his body.

When he rolled back to the OR, I leaned down and told him my name, told him that I would not leave his side and gently took his hand into mine right before induction. He looked over at me, held my gaze, and SMILED. I was so close to tears that I had to use every trick in the book to hang on to my emotions. I knew that the surgery would be terribly hard on him, and I think he must have known it too. I am humbled to have taken care of a man that had dedicated his life to the betterment of others. This patient reminded me WHY I chose nursing. I am still choked up.

sunnycalifRN

Has 6 years experience. 902 Posts

You're so right. Those little moments, gestures or few words communicate so much, and as you said, remind us why, we do what do.

Lizzie21

Specializes in Med/Surg and ANCC RN-BC. Has 4 years experience. 204 Posts

I got choked up over this story. That is so awesome that you and your patient shared that connection. It meant a lot to him knowing that you were going to be there by his side. It just gives me chills! that is exactly what nursing is about! thanks for sharing!

ERsn

104 Posts

This is making me tear up to!

littlemammanurse, BSN, RN

Specializes in PP, Pediatrics, Home Health. 1 Article; 185 Posts

This absolutely beautiful!Thank you for sharing!It is moments like these that make being a nurse absolutely wonderful!

CrufflerJJ, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 5 years experience. 1 Article; 1,023 Posts

I am humbled to have taken care of a man that had dedicated his life to the betterment of others. This patient reminded me WHY I chose nursing. I am still choked up.

THANK YOU for caring.

nurse2033, MSN, RN

Specializes in ER, ICU. 3 Articles; 2,129 Posts

Yup, moments like that make it all worth while.

BDot

27 Posts

Thank you for sharing! I am waiting to find out if I was accepted into nursing school. I have read many posts lately that were negative about the nursing field. I understand that it will be very trying and very rewarding. Your moment with him affected more live than you know. Again, thanks for sharing.

hearts895, RN BSN

Specializes in Critical Care. 465 Posts

Very moving! Thank you for the story. :crying2::saint:

NurseKatie08, MSN

Specializes in Geriatrics, Transplant, Education. Has 14 years experience. 754 Posts

Yikes....poor guy. Thanks for taking such great care of him :-)

phoenixrn

72 Posts

I worked with a patient with severe dementia once who was pretty much non-verbal except for incomprehensible sounds and moaning, and the word "Pain," which we unfortunately heard often. She was clearly in distress and confused, had to endure several attempts of inserting an NG tube. At one point I went into her room and she had taken off her gown and was covered in feces, she had been wearing a diaper, had a bowel movement, and got her hands into the stuff. After a thorough cleaning, I took an emesis basin filled with warm soapy water and a toothbrush, and cleaned out each one of her fingernails as gently as possible.

After she was all cleaned up, she turned her head towards me, looked me in the eyes, and said "Thank You." I couldn't believe it!!!