1. Yesterday, at work, I had a disturbing experience to be sure. I work afternoon shift at a hospice residence and the night before last one guy who was pre-active to active started going into some sort of terminal restlessness. But it was different than what I usually see. He was a little restless and twitching occasionally, but it really looked like he was dreaming. His eyes were darting around under his closed lids and his facial expressions were changing and making little noises. Exactly what it looks like when someone (even your dog) is in an active dream state.
    The next day at 3 I was back to find out that his restlessness had increased beyond all reason and no amount of sedation was touching it. We went in at shift change to clear the pain pump and I wittnessed the creepiest thing I have yet to wittness so far as a hospice nurse. Part of it was physical observation, but part of it was just a strong sense and a palpable sense of the spiritual. This guy was doing what he was doing the night before, but tenfold. He was so obviously seeing/experiencing somthing terrible, on a spiritual level. The strong thougt that I had, and which I believe, is that he was standing on the brink of hell of some sort. I don't judge my patients in terms of ultimate judgment, but it was so obvious with this patient. I am very sensitive to the supernatural around me and was overwhelmed by the oppression present in the room. It was so bad that, outside the room, where the med cart was, I had to move it down the hall, away from that room, because I couldn't concentrate. Luckily for all of us watching, he died about an hour later. But I am left wondering things like: Did he go to 'hell'? Or, was there some sort of spiritual battle that he was in for his soul? Who won? Did he do unspeakable things in his life that he was now having to face. Was he going through some sort of a 'life review' in which years of denial were stripped away and he was forced to review life in all its realities?
    Being a survivor of severe abuse myself where my perpetrators live lives of impunity in the here and now, will there eventually be a 'reckoning' for them, even if it comes at the brink of death? Will they be forced to recognize the lives that they tried to destroy, no longer hiding behind a cloak of denial?
    Brings up a lot of questions.
    One thing is sure, the whole building could feel the spiritual tension in the air, even people who were up front and had nothing to do with this situation. Also, though, the last few days we have had a huge die off. So I'm sure there is a lot of spirtual activity present in the atmosphere that people are able to pick up on.
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    About Severina

    Joined: Dec '04; Posts: 31; Likes: 23
    Hospice Nurse


  3. by   leslie :-D
    i don't know if it's spiritual or mental anguish but yes, i do know what you're talking about.
    that's why when i treat my pts, i don't just address the physical pain, but assess for any misgivings, regrets, fears, etc. i try and talk w/them as much as possible, as soon as that therapeutic relationship has been established.

    i know i told this story but it still haunts me and there's an important lesson to be learned.

    this pt had ca w/mets- alot of pain. he would cry out and we ultimately ended up giving him around 40 mg. of mso4/hr...yet his crying out echoed down the hallways. i looked in his chart and found out that he had abandoned 4 of his sons yrs before. i got in touch with pt's sisters (whose number was in the chart) and one of the sisters gave me the oldest son's number who lived in fla. i called the son up, told him about his father and the son relayed a message that he and his bros lives had been good, and all was forgiven.

    i went into the pt's room who was screaming away and i gently touched his shoulder and told him he needed to hear what i was going to say. he looked at me, i relayed the message from his son and suddenly his entire affect changed....he then told me he thought he was going to hell for abandoning his sons but i told him that his sons all had good lives and all was forgiven. he then started talking/praying to God, asking for forgiveness. after a few minutes i left the room- no more screaming and he died a couple of hours later, quietly and (hopefully) peacefully.
    so all that screaming had nothing to do w/physical pain but mental anguish.

    so severina, whatever your patient was going through, it could have been fear, memories resurfacing, just some sort of anguish....that's really sad.
    may he rest peacefully now.

  4. by   UM Review RN
    I've seen deaths like that, Severina. Very, very disturbing.

    I usually pray for people who are dying. I wouldn't want anyone to go to a place of eternal torment, and I do believe that there is an afterlife, and a heaven and a hell, precisely because I have seen so many people die.

    Some people die and it's peaceful and quiet on the entire unit, like the peace that comes on Christmas Eve. Others are gone before their bodies stop. Still others wrestle with death. But what you described, I have only seen once or twice--and I'm glad. I felt like something evil was in the room.

    But enough of that.

    Your story also reminds me of a story that I read about a man who did "go to hell" and was in severe spiritual torment. But somehow, he wound up not dying. He was so grateful that he turned his life around and became a minister.

    We all have different ways of interpreting the unknown. That's mine, and I respect the rights of others to have their beliefs on the subject.
  5. by   fluffwad
    Years ago I worked for a hospice that had an 'acute care' unit in a converted school / and another in a local hospital. One night we got an admit from home care, a unconscious man who I knew nothing about except name and dx. There was nothing horrific/ gross happening. No one came with him. He was a bit restless too, but died within a couple hours of admission.

    Standing in his room before he died was one of the creepiest experiences I'd ever had. After he died, the feeling in the room was 'neutral'.

    I had another woman who was fighting all the way down, even after she went unresponsive. She told me that she believed God would heal her even at the last moment, but apparently God was not giving her the answer she wanted to hear.
  6. by   jnette
    Very troubling, to be sure.

    Like you, Severina, I too pick up on these "vibes", and it doesn't even have to be from a dying person, but just people/situations in general. A type of "spiritual discernment", if you will.

    Knowing how to addresse these situatiuons when they arise takes being willing and disciplined enough to put forth the effort required to be truly silent and to LISTEN.. not with the ears, but with your whole being.. mind, heart, and spirit.

    May he rest in peace.