Com'on, you got one...What is your heart wrenching moment?

Posted
by CrunchBerries CrunchBerries (Member)

Has 31 years experience.

Mine was....

I was a very young, too young DON at a care home. I was working late one night doing paperwork. I heard odd noises coming from outside my office. I went out to investigate and I saw Marjean, one of my fav's sitting under a tree rocking back and forth.

I asked what was wrong, she kept rocking telling me she was just gang raped on the pool table of the game room.

Marjean was a hard core, paranoid schizophrenic. It never happened, while we had a game room we had no pool table and, we had cameras in that room. Naw, it didn't happen but SHE totally believed it did, it was one of her hallucinations.

While it did not *really* happen, it did happen in her reality and she was going through the same emotions as a true rape victim would experience.

I finally got it, I finally understood. Hallucination or not, it was still real for her. I just sat with her under the tree rocking back and forth.

We ALL have one or more of those moments, what is yours?

~PedsRN~

~PedsRN~, BSN, RN

Specializes in Acute Care Pediatrics. Has 4 years experience. 826 Posts

A chronic patient who I had a very special bond with came in extremely sick.... admitted straight to the ICU. I would go down and chat with him when I could on my breaks. As the days went on, he began to deteriorate. He was an older teenager, and I believe he had come to grips with his death long before any of us. One night I went down to visit with him, and I took one look at him and I just knew. His mother was still upbeat, in denial somewhat, but I knew. And he knew. And as she chattered on about this and that and what he was going to do for the rest of the summer, etc.... I kept my eyes locked on his. He motioned for me to come closer to him (he was unable to really vocalize at this point), so of course I did. He reached out with one arm, and grabbed me around the neck and pulled me close. He put his forehead on mine. He squeezed. Then he let go.

I cried all the way back to my floor, and all the way home the next morning.

I knew he had said goodbye to me.

He died later that day.

I will never ever forget just looking at him in the eyes, and having that unspoken conversation.

Miss that kid. He was awesome.

ScrappytheCoco

ScrappytheCoco

Specializes in Emergency/Trauma/LDRP/Ortho ASC. Has 3 years experience. 288 Posts

I was only about 3 days into my first job as a new grad when we got an older peds trauma pt. Jane Doe, I picked her cut up tshirt off the floor and pieced it together for the cops to take pictures. When her parents came in to the trauma bay one of them passed out cold on the floor. She died a few days later...I cried for days. I still think about it from time to time...I'll never forget her name.

CrunchBerries

CrunchBerries

Has 31 years experience. 146 Posts

~PedsRN~ said:
A chronic patient who I had a very special bond with came in extremely sick.... admitted straight to the ICU. I would go down and chat with him when I could on my breaks. As the days went on, he began to deteriorate. He was an older teenager, and I believe he had come to grips with his death long before any of us. One night I went down to visit with him, and I took one look at him and I just knew. His mother was still upbeat, in denial somewhat, but I knew. And he knew. And as she chattered on about this and that and what he was going to do for the rest of the summer, etc.... I kept my eyes locked on his. He motioned for me to come closer to him (he was unable to really vocalize at this point), so of course I did. He reached out with one arm, and grabbed me around the neck and pulled me close. He put his forehead on mine. He squeezed. Then he let go.

I cried all the way back to my floor, and all the way home the next morning.

I knew he had said goodbye to me.

He died later that day.

I will never ever forget just looking at him in the eyes, and having that unspoken conversation.

Miss that kid. He was awesome.

OMG, I wish I could like this over and over again!

CrunchBerries

CrunchBerries

Has 31 years experience. 146 Posts

ScrappytheCoco said:
I was only about 3 days into my first job as a new grad when we got an older peds trauma pt. Jane Doe, I picked her cut up tshirt off the floor and pieced it together for the cops to take pictures. When her parents came in to the trauma bay one of them passed out cold on the floor. She died a few days later...I cried for days. I still think about it from time to time...I'll never forget her name.

((((HUGS))))

odaat

odaat

Specializes in ER, Med/Surg, Telemetry, Dialysis. Has 4 years experience. 101 Posts

My first pediatric code...dad had been sleeping with the baby on the couch and must've rolled on her, she was DOA but being a baby we did a full on everything we can code with mom watching the whole thing. I'll never forget that. I've had more after that didn't do that to me but that first one, still rips my heart out.

HouTx, BSN, MSN, EdD

Specializes in Critical Care, Education. Has 35 years experience. 9,051 Posts

60-Bed multi-specialty adult Critical Care Unit. Elderly CHF patient admitted early on nights turned out to be the mother of a well-regarded, but not very empathetic House Sup.... you know the type, one of those starchy 'suck it up and get it done' types. Despite all the bells and whistles available (including bi-vad & heroic efforts to maintain hemodynamics) as the day progressed it became apparent that her mom was not going to last much longer. We all watched House Sup's attempt to keep it all together and maintain her famous rigid control.

As the night shift came on, a small bouquet of flowers appeared in the room along with a card addressed to the Sup. Then another one appeared - probably purchased at the gift shop vending machine; it was followed by several others placed around the room. None of them had any indication of who had left them. Around midnight, a 'poster' appeared taped to the wall outside the patient's room.... handwritten with expressions of support for the Sup. Throughout the night, staff added their own notes of sympathy and support. In the wee hours of the morning, as Sup made the decision to cease heroic measures, she was quietly surrounded by colleagues and the chaplain. Our unit secretary began to sing Amazing Grace - and was joined by others (with less than her amazing vocal abilities). The chaplain led everyone in a quiet prayer. We noticed that Sup had lost her composure completely.. so we filed out and left her in the room with the chaplain. At some point, her mom died & by the time the day shift arrived, the room was empty and ready to be cleaned. Shift report was very subdued.

The following week, when I saw the House Sup - she was perfectly 'normal' again and I never recall any acknowledgement or conversations with co-workers about what had happened that night. But I wonder if they still remember it as clearly as I do.

CrunchBerries

CrunchBerries

Has 31 years experience. 146 Posts

HouTx said:
60-Bed multi-specialty adult Critical Care Unit. Elderly CHF patient admitted early on nights turned out to be the mother of a well-regarded, but not very empathetic House Sup.... you know the type, one of those starchy 'suck it up and get it done' types. Despite all the bells and whistles available (including bi-vad & heroic efforts to maintain hemodynamics) as the day progressed it became apparent that her mom was not going to last much longer. We all watched House Sup's attempt to keep it all together and maintain her famous rigid control.

As the night shift came on, a small bouquet of flowers appeared in the room along with a card addressed to the Sup. Then another one appeared - probably purchased at the gift shop vending machine; it was followed by several others placed around the room. None of them had any indication of who had left them. Around midnight, a 'poster' appeared taped to the wall outside the patient's room.... handwritten with expressions of support for the Sup. Throughout the night, staff added their own notes of sympathy and support. In the wee hours of the morning, as Sup made the decision to cease heroic measures, she was quietly surrounded by colleagues and the chaplain. Our unit secretary began to sing Amazing Grace - and was joined by others (with less than her amazing vocal abilities). The chaplain led everyone in a quiet prayer. We noticed that Sup had lost her composure completely.. so we filed out and left her in the room with the chaplain. At some point, her mom died & by the time the day shift arrived, the room was empty and ready to be cleaned. Shift report was very subdued.

The following week, when I saw the House Sup - she was perfectly 'normal' again and I never recall any acknowledgement or conversations with co-workers about what had happened that night. But I wonder if they still remember it as clearly as I do.

Wow...

heron, ASN, RN

Specializes in Hospice. Has 50 years experience. 2,925 Posts

A 26 year old man with end stage AIDS whose dementia had progressed to the point of requiring a posey vest. One night on a routine safety check, I found him tangled in the vest. While I untangling him, he grabbed my hand and climbed hand over hand up my arm, then his head wobbled back and he looked me in the eye and said, "I want my life back." All I could do was to look back, say "I'm so sorry" and hold him until his mind wandered off again.

Luckyyou

Luckyyou, BSN, RN

Specializes in ICU. Has 11 years experience. 467 Posts

The dad of one of my long-term patients screaming at me during one of multiple codes the night he died, "Why won't you save my baby?!"

FlyingScot

FlyingScot, RN

Specializes in Peds/Neo CCT,Flight, ER, Hem/Onc. Has 28 years experience. 2,016 Posts

You don't want to hear mine. You really don't. Says the ex-pediatric flight nurse.

Okami_CCRN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. Has 7 years experience. 823 Posts

I was working in the ICU one night and was doing my round of temperature checks when this elderly female patient who was receiving blood grabs my hand, looks me dead in the eye and asks "how much longer 'till it's done?" I look at the blood hanging and I tell her it'll be about two hours.

She looks at me again, still holding my hand and replies "I wish I had longer, I'd like my husband to be here" I'm still confused at this point and ask her why she wants her husband to be present when the blood transfusion is finished and she replied "Oh honey, I meant how much time do I have until I die."

At that moment, I just started crying (full blown snot running down crying), couldn't talk or anything. At that point the primary nurse walks in and tells her that everything is going fine, no need to worry. The patient coded and died at 0730. I still think about her to this day even though it's been many years.