Mar 10, 2010

'Till death do us part

Yesterday was a rough day at work.
I realize part of my job working at a hospital is dealing with patients that die.
Still doesn't make it any easier.

I got called to a room on a particular floor for a reposition.
The lady who was in the room was dying from cancer and could barely move on her own.
We needed to turn her to the other side and boost her in bed, so I, along with a couple of co-workers, did just that.
Every move hurt this woman so bad. She cringed with every turn, moaned with the boost, and pleaded for help with her eyes when she looked at me.
I grabbed her hand and told her we were almost done and she nodded.

After we moved her head back up and put a pillow under her head, her breathing got really short and shallow. We all looked at each other and began timing her breathes. In about 5 minutes, she only took 2 breaths.
One of the other nurses went and grabbed a stethescope and tried to find a heartbeat. She couldn't find one. That was when the lady took one last long raspy breath...and then silence. She was no longer there.
The nurse then ran out to call the doctor to the floor so he could call the time of death.

After walking out of the room and back to our office, I couldn't help but feel saddened by losing this woman. She had been in the hospital for a little over a month and I only seen her family once...and that was when she was admitted.
Usually when a family member is admitted into the hospital longer than a few days, they bring personal belongings to make the patient feel more at home.
This woman had nothing but a personal hairbrush sitting on her hospital nightstand. Nothing else.
This woman also had to die without family being around. She was basically dropped off and forgotten about. She laid in her bed with the TV on and did nothing.

I'm just glad that my co-workers and I were there to comfort her while she took her last breaths. I'm glad I got to make eye contact with her so she could look into someone's eyes that cared so she knew she was not alone. I'm glad my co-worker was there to stroke her head and tell her she was going to be ok.

I just wish she had her family there.

If I was in the hospital and was dying, I can only hope that my children, husband, and other family members would be by my side so I could take my journey to the afterlife in peace and knowing someone cared.

- Posted from my iPhone


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