I just wanted to say that for the first time since my grandmother passed 8 years ago I was on the personal side of the dying patient in ICU and it made me realize once again what a family goes through when they lose a loved one. I view myself as very empathic to families of dying patients but as a ICU nurse I've learned how to distance myself from the loss to protect myself from the long term emotional effects of becoming overly involved with dying patients.
Monday one of my very best friends was in ICU. I sat at her bedside until the helicopter team came to take her to a trauma center. She was ventilated and sedated and pretty much unresponsive even when sedation was lightened. I talked to her and held her hand and told her I loved her because I believe that she was still able to feel me there and hear me. I knew she wasnt going to make it and at one point I prayed that she died peacefully and soon because I knew from my years of experience as a nurse if she did survive she would never return to a life that she would be happy with because of the severe trauma.
She died Wednesday morning.
She was a very strong woman and has battled several health problems over the past few years however other than being a chronic renal failure diaylsis patient she had been doing great and her death was very unexpected.
She has taught me alot over the past few years and has helped me thru some very tough times and has been with me in some very good times.
I will miss her very much.
Thanks for listening and Im sorry this was such a long and personal post but I guess I just wanted a safe place to express my sorrow to a group of people that I know understand what we go through as nurses and people. I have a new respect and understanding for families that face the death of a loved one.