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I'm Leaving You Here


Specializes in Hospice, LTC. Has 3 years experience.

I graduated from nursing school in August of 2005 and went straight to work at a local nursing home.

I'm Leaving You Here

I had never intended on becoming a nurse, however, that is the direction that God sent me in and I have not regretted it ever since. I loved the nursing home and getting to know all of the patients and their families. I never had grandparents and they all just kind of filled the gap for me. Each of my patients was like an extension to my family. Every time I had a pt that got put on hospice I would get so angry at the MD and would feel that they were giving up on my pt. I didn't want to "let" them just die. How dare they? I just didn't understand the benefit of hospice at that time.

After working at the nursing home for a year I had an ethical conflict with the current DON and decided at that time to quit. I submitted my two-week notice and she politely told me that they would not need for me to finish working it out. I went home and balled my eyes out. I felt like I had lost a large portion of my family. I had no idea what I was going to do, where I was going to work, or how I was going to pay my bills. I prayed day in and day out for God to send me in the right direction and vowed to not even apply for a job until I felt that it was the one he wanted me to apply for. After church one Sunday I received a call from a friend of mine who's father was a supervisor at a local hospice and she informed me that he was very interested in hiring me. I told her I would think about it, and I did. I felt a very strong urge to do it, but couldn't help but think that God must be laughing at the time. Me, do hospice? Was he crazy?

I couldn't fight the urge and did apply for the job. They gave me a lengthy test full of questions that I had no clue how to answer. Miraculously, I only missed a few. I was hired and went through the 3 days of orientation before I was assigned my caseload. My first hospice pt was a Lutheran minister in his 50's with Brain CA and the only warning I got was that he would try to convert me. I arrived at his home, rang the doorbell and waited patiently for an answer. I was so nervous. What did I say to this man who was dying? How did I talk to him? Do people realize how often they use the words die or kill me in a conversation.? "Oh, I could just die" or "That kills me." What if I slipped up and said it and he got offended. What if I made him sad?

At that moment the door was answered by a middle-aged man with wire-rimmed glasses. I introduced myself and he invited me in. I will call him Joe. Joe offered me a seat on his sectional and he sat down as well. He didn't even look sick really. I explained I had to get his vital signs and ask him a few questions. He allowed this and everything was in normal range. We shook hands and I started to leave. Joe touched me on the shoulder and said, "You know I'm dying and I know I'm dying. It's okay if we talk about it." I apologized and explained that I just didn't really know what to say and that I was sorry that he and his family were having to go through this. His only reply was a hug and then with a grin, he said, " Don't feel sorry for me I feel sorry for you. I'm leaving you here." In that moment I realized that he was right.

Mr. Joe lived for six months. During that time he declined very slowly at first. It started with mild confusion and forgetfulness, to not even being able to recall his wife's name, even when she sat right in front of him. Mr. Joe never lost his faith though. I told him happy Easter before the holiday. He explained he would be having the real Easter in Heaven with God when he passed. How could a man have such strong faith to not remember his wife's name who sat beside him, but still remember such strong things about the Lord, who he'd never laid eyes upon? A month before Joe died he became bedridden and was unable to speak. We would talk to him at length. He even got to where he could barely open his mouth and swallow his food. He was transported to the local hospital for his last few days. His family was more comfortable with the thought of him passing there. His wife never left his side. When we were waiting for him to be moved to his floor I bent down and said "Joe, when you get up there you put in a good word with the man upstairs for me. I need all the help I can get." He smiled and spoke for the first time in over a month and told me he would.

Mr. Joe died the next day with a smile on his face and all I could think was, "You lucky son of a gun." Talk about a change of heart. I know Joe was put in my life for a reason and Hospice is my passion!

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5 Comment(s)

kessadawn, BSN, RN

Specializes in pediatric critical care. Has 7 years experience.

sounds like you really found your niche in nursing, good article! funny how the things we were most afraid of doing in nursing are the places we excel, i remember swearing i would never do picu, and now i can't imagine doing anything else. keep up the good work!


Specializes in Hospice, LTC. Has 3 years experience.

I didn't find my niche, it was found for me!!! It was almost as if I had been battling God's plan for my life for years and he finally got through to me. I am so thankful to be doing what I do and wouldn't change it for the world.

I to have worked in LTC where I have had to say goodbye to many patients who have been placed on Hospice to die. Early in my career, like you, I had a hard time wandering why we had to give up on the patients I loved like my family. I had grown up in the foster care system. These people became me family.

Now, I have my 52yo foster brother who has just recently died who was placed on hospice because he lost his battle with Kidney CA. I am glad I have grown some to understand that hospice is not just giving up but helping with the transition that we all must eventually make. I love my brother, but, you know what, God loves him more. He will take great care of him in heaven.

At his funeral the following song was sung.

"If You Could See Me Now!"

Our prayers have all been answered, I've finally arrived,

The healing that had been delayed has now been realized,

No one's in a hurry, We're all enjoying Jesus, just sitting at his feet

If you could see me now, I'm standing tall and strong,

If you could see me now, my pain has been erased,

If you could see me now, you wouldn't want me to ever leave this place

If you could see me now, there's a smile upon my face.

If you could only see me now!

I know I will see him again. So long big bro... For now! :redbeathe :crying2:


Specializes in Hospice, LTC. Has 3 years experience.

That is a beautiful song and I am so happy that Hospice was able to help ease your brother's passing. It is stories like yours that remind me why I continue to do what I do. Thank you!


Specializes in CV-ICU, Rehab, Med-Surg, Nursing Home. Has 10 years experience.

Thank you for sharing your thoughts! It is easy to get carried away in our own selfish needs when someone is dying. But isn't is a beautiful thing when we can accept it and actually look forward to the next destination!? I've always said that my patients, particularly those like Mr. Joe, are more of a blessing to me than I will ever be to them. These are the little miracles that make life special.