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First Hospice Experience....enough to bring a man to tears

Hospice   (1,980 Views 8 Comments)
by Atl_John Atl_John (Member) Member

Atl_John specializes in Pulmonology/Critical Care, Internal Med.

3,747 Profile Views; 216 Posts

Well, today was my first clinical in a Hospice (outpatient). I thought I would be prepared I've seen people who are dying all the time while in the hospital, however this time was different. The very first hospice patient I saw today put me into a state of shock. The patient looked almost mummified.....mouth open, extremely emaciated I felt like I was watching in real life a documentary about the Holocaust. The patient couldn't speak, and weighed all of 70lbs. She just sat there, eating no more than 2 cans of Ensure a day, I was in shock the entire time.

After we were done I was on emotional overload, I just couldn't handle it....I started to cry right in front of my clinical instructor after thinking about what this woman was going through. Me, a 26 yr old guy with a high n tight crying. I must say for those of you who work in hospice I salute you, your dedication to these folks in extreme suffering is truly admirable.

From someone who couldn't handle it,

John

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Bella Donna has 4 years experience and specializes in hospice, and home health.

75 Posts; 2,215 Profile Views

It is a very difficult job to do it, what makes it a little better for me is just the knowing that I MADE A DIFFERENCE in this person's life. Maybe if it is just trying to control their pain as much as possible.

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EmptytheBoat has 12 years experience and specializes in Med-Surg, Rehab, MRDD, Home Health.

96 Posts; 2,570 Profile Views

Dear Atl John,

Dying isn't always pretty, but it's challenging.

You present as a very compassionate

guy, and Hospice is all about compassion.

Best wishes and God Speed!

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Atl_John specializes in Pulmonology/Critical Care, Internal Med.

216 Posts; 3,747 Profile Views

No it was not pretty, not pretty at all, I guess it just made me extreamly sad to see her in this sort of situation just being strung along in the state that she was in. It seemed completely cruel and I just couldn't handle it. Lets say that me and my folks had a VERY long and indepth conversation about what they want during their time. I couldn't go through something like that with my folks

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John, if that scene DIDN'T bother you, I'd be worried. Dying is a messy, sometimes ugly business. I haven't done hospice for very long, but so far I find it to be so rewarding to be able to be there for these people and their families and to try to make the experience as comfortable as possible for everyone involved, but especially for the patient. I find that I use my critical thinking skills all the time, and I enjoy the challenge.

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llg has 42 years experience as a PhD, RN and specializes in Nursing Professional Development.

5 Followers; 13,158 Posts; 58,533 Profile Views

No it was not pretty, not pretty at all, I guess it just made me extreamly sad to see her in this sort of situation just being strung along in the state that she was in. It seemed completely cruel and I just couldn't handle it. Lets say that me and my folks had a VERY long and indepth conversation about what they want during their time. I couldn't go through something like that with my folks

Congratulations on having that talk with your folks. Some people never do that -- and that failure complicates the dying process when the time comes.

As someone in her 50's, I have so many good friends who are struggling with these issues with their parents. They've never had the discussions and their parents have made no arrangements for themselves -- not just for dying, but also for those years beforehand in which they need more help than the average family can provide alone. Their family situations are becoming a real burden and a real mess as siblings try to arrange things, but can't agree on what to arrange.

I was lucky. My father was a small town doctor and had dealt with these issues on a routine basis. My parents had the good sense to arrange everything for their retirement and any care they would need ahead of time. While I am very sorry that they have both died in the last few years, I take comfort (and pride) in the fact that they had "good deaths" and received great care in a setting of their own choosing.

It sounds like you'll make a great nurse, John, regardless of the specialty you choose. It also sounds like you and your family will be able to cope successfully with whatever comes your way. I wish you well.

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Thedreamer has 4 years experience and specializes in PCU/Hospice/Oncology.

384 Posts; 3,800 Profile Views

Dying can be a beautiful thing if you let it be. Each patient had dreams, love, life, and other beautiful things they've experienced. To help patients get through this last phase of thier life, and help thier family cope with it and come to terms is a big thing. Its the one thing that binds everyone together, because we all die.

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a21chdchic has 14 years experience and specializes in Hospice, Med Surg, Long Term.

151 Posts; 2,278 Profile Views

6-26-2007

Don't fret too much, Hospice isn't for everyone. There is a niche in nursing just for you. You may have to search a little to find it though. Good luck in all endeavors.

Ana

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