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The old nurse and doctor couple!

Nurses   (951 Views 3 Comments)
by LilyRosas LilyRosas (New) New

922 Profile Views; 7 Posts

I am a nurse in ltc and one of my patients is a RN and her husband is a pediatric doctor. I use these terms in the present tense because even though they have been retired for many years and the rn is now total care she he is still one of us and we still call him Dr. She is dying and has recently been admitted to hospice. Her husband loves her so much and the staff where I work is worried about him. He stays with her almost constantly and leaves late at night to get some sleep. And he will also step out when we are feeding her to get some dinner. Me and my cna's take good care of her and just the other night I told him that if he needed to talk that we were there for him. He and I have had good long conversations since I've known him. I knew he's hurting but I'm not a hospice nurse and sometimes I feel at a loss what to do for him. She is easier to care for but everytime I talk to him I feel like crying cause it is obvious how much he loves her.

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2 Articles; 11,114 Posts; 14,539 Profile Views

We are nurses. We see these things. I have always considered it a privilege to be part of these life transitions, and hope to learn from them for when our own time comes, my love and I, as we have many more years behind us than before us.

 

I think if you asked him what you and your staffers can do for him (and you certainly can), he will say, "Just take care of her," and perhaps, "Just be there." Just being there means for him, too. Nothing much else -- as Swami Beyondanama says, "Don't DO something, just sit there." If he wants to open up and talk, fine. If he wants to sit quietly, fine. The "com" in com-passion means "with." If he wants to be at her bedside 24/7, don't ever chase him away. He knows he doesn't have long to be with her and wants every minute of it he can have.. She probably wants that too. It's up to them. Make him comfortable.

 

It's ok to feel like crying, and to cry. It's sad. Feeling those emotions shows you have feelings and empathy, without which you can never communicate complete caring to patients and family. If you cry with him, there's no shame in that.

 

I got this advice once from a very wise therapist. Pick a time when you can have an hour or two to yourself, and mark it on the calendar. Say, three o'clock next Thursday. Make this appointment with yourself whenever you notice trying not to cry about anything. You can hold back as much as you want until then. Then you get in your car and go to the beach, the woods, the scenic overlook, your house of worship, your back yard, your shower, wherever you can be alone and private. You begin, consciously, to pull out all the things that you've been trying so hard not to cry about. It could be a patient situation, or an accumulation of them over years, even. It could be that your beloved grandmother or spouse is inexorably failing and you can foresee the time when she or he will no longer be in your life in this world. It could be a prior death and loss-- the hospice people say every death brings back all previous ones to be experienced all over again.

 

And when you start to cry, you do not stop. You do not try to hold back. You let it happen. It's in there, let it out. Cry, cry, and cry, wail, mourn, gnash your teeth at the unfairness of it all, but mostly just ... cry. Until you're done, you'll know when. Then wipe your face, smile, and go home.

 

This is cleansing, it's restorative, it's taking care of yourself; it gives you, somehow, a way to get up and go back into the battle.

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7 Posts; 922 Profile Views

Thank you for your words of encouragement. I really appreciate them.

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