Have you cried? - page 3

He is only 40 years old. He went to the dentist and coded. They did CPR. Sometimes that's not a good thing. He is now in a permanent vegetative state. He has a trach. His secretions are so thick... Read More

  1. by   VAC
    Great thread.
    We are only human, I think it would be impossible to not be affected by what we see. It's the grieving families that get to me much more than the patients. I took care of a 43 year old lung ca post thoracotomy patient who was severly short of breath while on the vent. The only thing I could do was keep medicating her for pain and sedating her . What made me almost loose it was when this lady's husband brought in her 10 year old son and had him sponge her off for her 103.5 temp. The oncologist on the case wrote an order forbidding the staff to discuss DNR status or prognosis with the patient or family. I thought the patient was being tortured with all the ineffective heroic measures. I had to tell myself over and over that I could not change their reality, all I could do was be there, answer their questions, and keep her as comfortable as possible. She died a couple days after I took care of her. Then I learned that the lady's mother was admitted to the hospital oncology floor, sent to ICU right around the same time as the daughter died. The mom's husband didn't want them to die on the same day, so he had her intubated and withdrew a couple days later.
  2. by   Teshiee
    All of your stories are so touching. Now I realize why I am a nurse, despite the pitfalls we go through there is no profession like we have. God bless you all. :-)
  3. by   hoolahan
    Vac, I find that doctors actions appalling! He wrote an order forbidding staff to discuss DNR?? That is in direct violation of a patient's right to be informed, and/or to refuse treatment!! I hope you never have to deal with this again, but in case you do ask for a stat ethics committee meeting!!

    Your story is so touching! That poor man and the poor babe, lost mom and grandmom so close to each other. I am glad you were there for them.
  4. by   Marijke
    Hi there,

    Thank you for sharing your story, it is for me what nursing is all about. I am glad you cried, not because I am glad you felt that way, but because you where able to feel at all.
    I feel very sad when I read the replies like the one by ladynasdaq, it looks to me like she has lost touch with her human feelings. If a nurse can not feel the anguish, how can she help (read he/she)the patients (clients) and their loved ones.
    I have always said if I can not feel anymore, it is time to get out of the profession. On the other hand you can not live with those feelings all the time either, you have to find yourself somewhere in the middle, a balance in your life. I think that is what they call emotional health.

  5. by   thisnurse
    burger-i am so sorry about your sister. i dont think you are sounding harsh at all. sounds like she had a fairly fast and "good" death.
    im not being insensitive but it did save your sister's children a great deal of suffering. she would want it that way.
    when my brother was comatose i would get so angry with myself for not being able to do anything. after all i am a nurse and i SHOULD be able to do SOMETHING.

    i spoke with my patients mother the other day. i had him again and im sure he recognized me. she said that he had had surgery and somehow the oxygen got cut off. she said that he wasnt vegetative at first. it was more like a stroke, but he was coming back. he was able to talk slightly and follow simple commands. then something happened and he ended up like this. she said "and this is what my baby is like now"
    boy did i choke.
    i told her that i think he can understand the things we are saying and that i felt he was somewhat aware of his surroundings. we just dont know the extent. she agreed. i understood then why he is not a DNR. there is a slim slim slim chance that he may come back. he will never be "normal"
    but thats ok too. mom called me later that night to see how he was. she never did that before. funny cos when she called i was telling the pt what a nice family he has and how much his mom loves him.
    im going to follow up on some things for this pt. i dont think he has ever been evaluated for swallowing. mom says she gives him sips of water. i told her to be very very careful.
    secondly i want to get him on a clinitron bed or something similar to avoid further breakdown. im going to assess him further for pain. if his sensations are intact this man has got to be suffering. especially during the dressing changes.

    maybe im not as helpless as i had thought
  6. by   thisnurse
    i think the babies would be the hardest. i dont know if i could let go emotionally. the thought of adopting him yourself has had to cross your mind.
    these are the things we give that cant be priced.
    another thread asks how we show our faith at work.
    this is it.
    im proud to call you my sisters
  7. by   kaycee
    Thisnurse, I'm proud to be your sister!!!!
  8. by   nightingale
    We have a gift.. The gift to care so much and then we keep on giving! It is a blessing.

    I often tell patient's families, that in the dynamics of the three of "us", patient, family, and nurse / healthcare professional, that their role is the hardest. The patient can usually tell you what he/she needs in one way or another, the nurse / healthcare professional can usually figure out what to do to comfort and aide the patient, but the family is often left outside looking in. We do our best to draw the family into that circle of care and for me it helps me to feel that I am leaving the patient in a greater good connected way in enabling the family to provide some of the care and tools for comfort.

    How brave these families usually are! That story of the child sponging his mother with a fever makes me want to run and hold my own children and pray that they never have to perform such acts.. but then I too would be denying them the connectedness in the circle of healing.

    What we do is about healing, about connecting, and making a difference. Thank you my sisters for reinforcing me of my goals and nurturing my soul so I may be there for the greater good. It makes me feel real and gives so much meaning to my days (even though it can be painful)

    I love you guys....

  9. by   oramar
    Maybe you should ask "who here hasn't cried?"
  10. by   thisnurse
    what a wonderful perspective you have on the dynamics of three.
    i had a patient that is dying. she is DNR, in her 90's and with it for the most part. she is very afraid. her daughters understand what is going on, and they are with her nearly constantly. they lie in her bed with her and they sit with her round the clock. their love for their mom is so touching, especially since its rarely seen. we have many more patients that die alone than we do those with family present. a sad commentary on our treatment of the elderly.
    the families find themselves lost. they feel like they need to do SOMETHING, but they just dont know what. having been in a similar situation, i understand that feeling.
    and you know these are the ones we almost always feel like strangling..lol
    they are at the desk constantly. they look for you when meds are a few minutes late. they come and get you when the IV bag of NSS is getting low. they are quite the challenge..lol
    but i always keep in mind PR_N's signature...people may not remember what you say, but they remember how you made them feel.
    these daughters will always remember me. id rather them remember me as a source of comfort and a positive part of moms death.
  11. by   nightingale

    I know what you mean about those families... lol

    I am sure the sister will remember you in a very positive way...

    When I my own father died, 20 years ago, I was not a nurse; oncology was not at the level of paliative care that it is today.. and he, my father, truly suffered as did I watching him die and feeling so badly... the day he died, I almost went shopping.. yes shopping because I could not "stand it" another day...

    I know God pushed me back up to the hospital to be with him even though I wanted to go shopping.. actually bought the subway ticket and everything.. somehow.. I changed my mind (duh) and went back to that hospital floor.... thank you God for givng me the oppourtunity to be with him one more day....

    My fathers death was painful because it was cancer.. and because he was afraid to die.... I did not know how to help him.. my faith, at the time, was not really solid as it is now (my peace within) and so I truly was not able to go there with him.. to ease that emotional pain and to really make it better.....

    I have since had many conversations with my Dad and I know he is okay now and in a better place... but oh to have had a little comfort at the time.. truly I felt unfinished with his death for years...

    In addition, I had a "Terms of Indearment" interaction with the nurse over pain medication.... it was awful... that is really all I want to add to that at this time...

    Maybe from that and all the other "health care experiences" I have indured and yes, enjoyed that is the reason I decided to become a nurse as my third career.. probably.... What I do know as certain is that I must treat people as I would like to be treated.... that is all we can expect of our fellow man... fortunately.. for our patients we all offer different "gifts" and talents....

    Thisnurse.. I hope to be with a nurse like you when it is my time of greatest need...

  12. by   rachet65
    To LadyNASDAQ- When someone is an "enabler", he/she is either directly or indirectly helping another person harm him/herself.
    How can you view nursing as enabling behavior??? While most of us may question the reason why we care for some patients who are considered "goners", Ours is not to question why.

    Ihad a patient in his 30's, brain tumor, many complications, comatose, etc. I cared for him a lot- I talked to him all the time- we talked baseball, current events, music, everything. I KNEW he heard me. He is now out of the hospital, no longer comatose, but not much improved. BUT, when he and his parents stopped by to visit, his eyes sparkled when I spoke to him- he recognized my voice, and remembered our "chats"
    While some may not think his life is not worth fighting for. Some may think that caring for him day after day is "enabling". I'll continue to do my best for each and every patient. Isn't that what it's all about?
    We are not enablers, we are encouragers, enrichers, energizers...
  13. by   gpip
    Originally posted by kaycee
    I've been in this profession for 27yrs now and when I stop crying with my patients it will be time for me to leave. The tears keep coming so I guess it's not time.
    kaycee i totally agree I have not been a nurse for all that long(3 years)but while going through nursing school I had a girlfriend who told me I should not be a nurse because I was too emotional. I talked to one of my professors and she told me the same thing as your quote. Emotion is good thing and when I stop showing it its time to find a new profession.