Best Death - page 5

I don't know if this has been posted before--but I was just wondering what the best experience with death has been for other nurses out there (or anyone caring to answer). I know we deal with this... Read More

  1. by   zumalong
    So sorry for all your losses. When I started this thread, I just wanted to vent some of my feelings of loss in a positive way. I am glad that I have given you a forum for helping with your losses. (I lost my 2 brothers to suicide in 1997 and 2001--and my father-in-law in 1998--4 days after my Sean was born).

    I truly believe that there is some kind of afterlife. I also believe that some people can contact the other level (or whatever you want to call it). What bothers me about John Edwards is that he has commercialized others suffering.
  2. by   mattsmom81
    Zumalong, I feel the same way about John Edwards...didn't want to comment earlier because I thought I might offend someone who liked what he was doing.

    The exploitation of strong emotion in people always troubles me...The shock TV shows like Maurie, etc. bother me too..with the anger, fighting, screaming...ecchhh..

    I'm glad your thread is helping people cope with their losses too. It is so hard to lose a loved one...I miss both my parents very much...still hurts... I try to remember the good times and 'make a memory ' for their grandchildren to know them by. (((HUGS)))to all!

    And thank you Micro for your kind words...I enjoy your posts too!
    (You're getting close to the magic number aren't you?) LOL!
  3. by   boobaby42
    It is so amazing how similar these posts have been about death. I too was at my father's side when he died. He had lived with me as he slowly withered away with his terminal CA. He did not go without a fight. But, he was staying alive until he knew his daughters would be ok. After fighting that good fight for months, my husband took his hand and said, "Don't worry, I'll make sure your girls will be alright." He looked upward as if looking at an angel, closed his eyes, and took his last breath.

    It is true, the end of the life cycle is as much a miracle as a birth. I would not trade being there with my dad for all the money, miracles, in the world. You can't imagine how much I grew, both spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
  4. by   whipping girl in 07
    I had my first patient die on me my first day out of orientation in the ICU.

    It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be because the family was expecting it. All he had going was a MSO4 gtt that I was titrating. I am just thankful he waited 30 min after I went up on the gtt to draw his last breath. Not sure I could have handled being the one to hasten his death.

    I had my second patient die last Wednesday at 3:07 AM. Taking care of this patient was the single worst experience of my life. End stage renal, bilateral AKA, comatose, eyes fixed and dilated the last two nights I took care of her, multiple decubitis ulcers including a stage IV that stretched from the midthoracic area of her back to her could see her iliac and spinal cord. Even that is not the worst part.

    She was a full code.

    We almost coded her the second night I took care of her. She went from breathing 40 BPM on a 40% VM with sats in the 90s to 16 BPM with sats in the 70s. Weren't real sure about accurate sats since only place we could put the sensor was on one earlobe (other ear was almost gone from decubitis and all fingers had decubitis). So we drew stat ABGs and her pH was 6.9! Called the doctor then the family, who didn't want her intubated at that point. Put her on 100% NRB mask and hoped we wouldn't be able to revive her when she coded.

    3rd night: we intubated her. She coded, we bagged for 20 min while MD was called. He said we'd have to intubate since she was a full code.

    4th night: I couldn't believe she was still alive when I got to work. She was on 20 mcg of dopamine and 15 mcg of levophed with a pressure anywhere from the 40s to the 80s. I just knew she was going to die on me, so I decided to get her good and clean for God. I used almost an entire package of toothettes on her mouth (before we intubated she would always bite down when mouth care was attempted). The family came in to visit at 9 and were talking about "when" she'd start dialysis again once her blood pressure rebounded. The MDs, social workers, chaplains, and nurses have been harping to these people since admission to ICU (for hypotension!) that her pressure was NOT going to rebound, the kindest thing would be to make her DNR and let her go to God. She could not have dialysis, it would kill her, and she would not live without dialysis. But one son, the one who cared for her at home, would not budge. Around 2 AM I decided it was time for her bath (she was still pooping and it was getting into that honking wound) so I went in and got started. When we turned her on her side and started cleaning, she just pooped and pooped, bradyed down and then went asystole. We were unable to revive her.

    I called the family and let them know, they came to the hospital and we were really surprised that they didn't make a scene. Can you believe they REALLY didn't think she was going to die? They hadn't even THOUGHT about a funeral home; they were going to have to make some phone calls in the morning and figure out what they were going to do. I could not believe it!!

    My charge nurse told me, "Congratulations, you've just given your first death bath."

    I went to breakfast that morning with two of my co-workers so we could decompress a little. I told the days charge nurse on my way out not to even bother calling me to ask me to work; the answer would be no.

    I got home and I slept a deep, dreamless sleep until almost 5 PM. I usually get up at 2. I fell back asleep at 9 and woke up at 1:30 AM and then couldn't sleep after that. Everytime I'd close my eyes, I'd see that awful wound.

    I'm glad I've been off work for several days and that I don't go back until Tuesday. Not sure I could have faced that place any sooner. But if I had been scheduled back that night, at least I wouldn't be starting my run of days off on a bad note. It took me two days to get over my funk.

    Sorry so long...but I really haven't gotten to vent to anyone who knows where I'm coming from. My husband's an engineer for heaven's sake. :chuckle

    Any comments would be appreciated.
  5. by   mattsmom81
    Konni, it's hard to lose patients and it will be less traumatic as you gain experience. Some patients grab hold of your heart and even veteran nurses have lots of trouble resolving things on occasion. I'm glad you're taking care of yourself through this.

    Something I've told myself which helps me gain perspective in codes, etc: The docs and I really are not in control here. God is, and when my patient's time comes it does not matter much what I do or don't do...God is in charge.

    You will find many families who cannot deal with the finality of their loved one's death and have NOT made arrangements or thought about it at's quite common. Often they ask the nurse for suggestions...I'll give them a list of area funeral homes, let them have some time to decide, then I will call for them. I get the signature to release, then send them home to rest and they can call the funeral home later about the details.

    I understand how you feel about the MS04 drip and knowing that by turning it up, you may hasten death. But remember you are doing it to ease suffering associated with the inevitable. My mother was struggling to breathe and I was thankful the drip was turned up for her and she had a peaceful death...families remember that and appreciate it.

    ((HUGS))) as you deal with these difficult situations...they will get easier, promise!
  6. by   mario_ragucci
    Whoa KOnni; I really enjoy reading and learning so much from your post. Your vocabulary is very interesting, as a nursing student, I really love that you took the time to introduce me to new words and scenarios.

    Some folks would be opposed to "worst death" cases like you describe so well and fun to read. Iy'd be heartbroken if someone kept me going on and on. :-(

    BTW - God said "I like the klean ones better."
    I'm sorry :-) ;-0
  7. by   whipping girl in 07
    No reason to be sorry about the joke, Mario. If we don't joke around (sometimes in terrible taste, I might add) about some of the awful things we see, we'd just have to sit down and cry.

    I have always thought that the worst thing would be to die in your own excrement (even though I'm sure it happens a lot). But at least my patients are going to be clean as they pass through the pearly gates. :-)

    I guess she was listening to me as I told her to go toward the light that night (although I forgot to open the window for her).

    I'm just glad it didn't happen at shift change like it normally does for me!! (Prior to this patient, all my patients who've coded did it during report!!)

    Keep truckin'. I am. Back to work tomorrow night.
  8. by   Agnus
    Originally posted by mario_ragucci
    Whoa KOnni...., as a nursing student, I really love that you took the time to introduce me to new words and scenarios.
    Clarify something for me. I thought in another post, on another fourm you said that you graduated and are working in ICU. Is this correct?
  9. by   mario_ragucci
    Aww Angus, I ain't working at no ICU, though I sit with patients there w/o internet access (boring as a CNA sitter). There are 5 ICU pods in the ICU. SOOOOOOO.advanced. It's a trip seeing people hocked up to umpteenth IV and catheter and heart monitors and BP cuff and oximeter.

    My unit closed down because of census. So I float through the hospital, like Scoobie Do after he eats a Scoobie Snak.

    No one can remember that Scoobie Do floats after he eats a Scoobie Snak but me, but it's true :-(
  10. by   Agnus
    I remember scoobie floating. ;-). I promise you there will come a time when that doesn't seem so advanced any more.
    My appologies for diverting from the thread. I'll shut up now.
  11. by   mario_ragucci
    Twisted and sick Mario had a thought. Since, in my opinion, the best dest would be discintergration, the only folks who have experienced it were the folks within kilometer radius below the two Japanese cities in 1945. Again, because all cells stop within a microsecond. Not trying to be morbid, just honest opinion.
    What on earth is more powerful or hot than atomic fission/fussion?

    If we could get something, like our bodies, to reach absolute zero, then death can go away, or at least stop along with you.
    Death (best or worst) means time. If, one day, we can travel to outside the heliosphere, and totally leave the influence of the sun, time can change.

    Sorry to go off on a cosine here . :-(
  12. by   eagleRN
    Mario, are you "alright?"