Wow! Today was my first day to experience this and am still in shock, feeling that there might have been some intervention that I should have done, please share your story with me, so I can feel much better. The whole thing is a shock to me, even though she was very old, but am still on orientation.
Nov 1, '06
I've lost 2 patients. One this last Friday. So it's still very fresh. She had refused medical treatment, refused to even see the doctor. I ended up giving her hospice type care without hospice being there. I called the family and had to let them know it could be any time. She had quit eating. Tues my grandma passed away and thursday was the funeral on the other side of the state. So I went to the evening funeral, and got home and in bed at 2am, got a call at 6am to come in and pronounce the resident I had that had been slowly dying for over a month. She was 92. She chose to leave this world, that is my one consolation, and I allowed her to leave this world comfortable and in her 'home'. It was peaceful which was good. The first one was very traumatic for me as she wasn't expected to die, when while a patient in the hospital her husband died (she had a simple case of pneumonia - not severe by any means). The day of her husbands funeral (well when it was supposed to be) she suddenly took a turn for the worse and died the day he was supposed to have a funeral. They ended up having a double funeral together. She I believe chose her time too.
If you did what you could to make the final time on earth as comfortable as possible then you did everything you could do.
Nov 1, '06
Thanks so much, on Monday I was giving her , her meds, and at the same time I was ging her comfort care by rubbing her head, to make her feel special, she couldnot even swallow the meds, but I took my time with her, and she was such a quiet person, i will really miss her, I did not know that I will feel that way.
Nov 1, '06
Awww I'm sorry Kay. When I worked as an aide, I experienced a couple of deaths. The one that really sticks out to me was when I was orienting at another hospital as an aide (though later quit because the commute was really too much for me). I was working with another CNA and we were assigned a patient who appeared to be fine. I can't remember what she was in for, but she was an elderly woman, very nice and sweet. We actually had helped her give a bed bath and her granddaughter was with her. After we finished her bed bath and gave her a boost to make her comfortable, she thanked us and smiled. Several minutes later we're working on another patient, when suddenly they called a code on the patient we had just finished giving a bed bath to! She didn't make it.
And it was really sad. Her granddaughter was with her and she was crying and hysterical. Even the patient's nurse broke down. It was even sadder that after they finished the code, her family came in and were grieving in the room. After her family left, we assisted with the post mortem care and again it was sad. This was about a year and a half ago..and yet is still fresh in my mind. I'm sure we'll see deaths along the way....and I'm sure its something you really never get used to but hopefully will make us stronger.
Nov 1, '06
Wow, so sad to hear that too, wishing you the best
Nov 1, '06
I don't mean to sound as callous as this will probably come across but death is a part of life and worse things happen to people then death. Death is not a failure. To be with someone when they die; to fight back it that was their wish or to ease the transition; is one of the priviledges of nursing. I have both fought to prevent death and helped to welcome it. Sometimes it is hard to say good-bye, sometimes it is a surprise, sometimes it is overdue. We don't control if someone lives or dies. Allow yourself the time to mourn and say good-bye. Personally, I find it easier if the death was what I would define as a "good death". For me that is either a death with minimal pain and discomfort or one where we fought to the end. If the pt wants to fight I will fight with/for them even I think the situation is futile. The times I find difficult are when the pt wants to go but the family can't let go. Grandma with CA with mets is made a Chemical Code or the decision is made to add nothing to the therapy but nothing ie vent, pressors, dialysis etc, is withdrawn.
The best we can do is strive to make every death a "good" death as defined by the pt. Remember death is a part of life and is not a failure by anyone.
Nov 3, '06
In a word, relief. I felt relieved that the pt, a 45 yo successful family man with leukemia, after all of his interminable suffering, was at peace. He was one of those fighters who never called it quits. He had a calendar at his bedside in the SICU that marked his goal date for discharge. He counted the days and marked them off. At the end, which came quickly, he was not the same person. His skin was excoriated all over, blistered and torn. His testicles were the size of a grapefruit and the skin was torn there too. He had the look of death in his eyes, that look that goes right through you. Oh there were tears. He had been with us for over a month and we had gotten to know each other. There are worse things than death. I've seen them.
Nov 4, '06
OMG! I imagine that feeling, this is a part of our career, we have to be really prepared for, all the best to you
Nov 4, '06
I just experienced another transition to the other side on Thursday night. One of my patients, elderly gentleman, full of fluids, had to be suctioned x 3. Family of 7-8 ppl there, hung a morphine drip and they left the hospital. Few hrs later charge nurse tells me he is bradycardic, going fast into 40's, 30's. We both went back to his room, held his hands, spoke quietly to him telling him he's not alone (we both feel that no patient should die alone) and finally he took his last breath. Still thinking about him days later. I feel honored to be an RN and to be able to comfort in any way possible, any patient who is dying.
Nov 4, '06
OMG! That must be very dramatic for you, but it is indeed a blessing to be an RN, I guess I have to get the hang of things, to incorporate that death is a part of life, God bless you.
Nov 4, '06
I'm an EMT-B student, as well as college sophomore finishing up my general education requirements for a B.S.N., and on my first ride-along with the ambulance, I had a patient with full cardiac arrest. The patient was young (43) with no apparent cause and was down for about 40 minutes until we arrived. We did CPR the entire ride to the hosptial (15 minutes) as well as an hour at the E.R. Although we brought her back to having a pretty strong heart rate, she ended up having a brain aneurysm and being pulled of the vent an hour or so later.
How I felt: too be honest, I was completely excited about getting my first chance to use my CPR skills and having my first real interaction with a patient. Although I was only suppose to observe, the paramedics, EMT-I, EMT-Bs, as well as the ER staff really let me get involved and work on the patient. We did everything we could so I didn't feal upset. I was saddened for the patient and her family but there was nothing we could have done.
Nov 8, '06
My first experience came about a year ago while I was still working as a CNA. I was a bath aide and my first bath of the day the resident passed away after getting into the shower chair and before even getting the shower. I had to call for help because no one was answering the call light. I think that I cryed for almost forty five minutes before I could go back to work that morning.
Now if I have a dying patient I take the extra time to just be in the room and hold their hand and talk to them. It still bothers me when someone dies but I just try to remember all of the things that I did to comfort that patient and make the dying process a little easier.
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