January 11, 2009

Private Moments

I had a nice night at work last night. It was relatively quiet, save one person. Poor lady. Poor, poor lady. I just feel so bad for her. Old trach pt, DNR, no appliance....breathes through her stoma, and not very well mind you. She just couldn't get comfortable no matter what I did. I rubbed her back, washed her face, massaged her legs...I offered every comfort measure to make her feel better and nothing worked. She didn't sleep all night and I just down right feel sorry for her. :(

Another one of my pt's was told he is dying and only has weeks left to live. He's 53 years old. Cancer. The family all pretty much lost it and the only face they saw was mine. I just didn't know what to say. I felt so inadequate at that moment. I felt like such a crappy nurse beacuse I wanted to cry right along with them, but knew I couldn't. I offered silence and let them cry to me, talk to me and ask me what questions I could answer. It was very sad and hard to go about my night with a happy demeanor after that, but I had to. I left the room, headed straight for the bathroom and let the tears flow. It was a release. No matter how much death and illness you're around, it's never easy when faced with something like this. Every time I went into his room I had to put my smile on and just give the best care I could amongst such sadness. He smiled the sweetest smiles at me. His eyes are so expressive and kind. I returned the smiles and genuinely felt a bond with him. He seems like such a gentle man and he is very loved. He and his wife have been married 25 years and have several children. One of his children is serving our country in Iraq and it was my job to contact the Red Cross to try and get him home. I succeeded and he is now on his way home to see his father. It just isn't fair. It's just not.

As I drove home from work I said a prayer for him and his family. There realy are no words for something like this. I hope that in some small, miniscule, tiny way I made him feel better if only for a minute. A Sham-Wow commercial came on while I was giving him care and I made a few jokes about it and he laughed. He must be very strong to laugh and smile at such a time. Perhaps he is doing it for his wife. Sigh. God bless them. :(

This job can be very depressing. Sometimes there is really nothing you can do to help someone, you just do the best you can and try to leave work at work, but occasionally it's impossible. I have been very touched by my patients these past couple of days and sometimes you don't only help them, but they help you as well. A kind smile, a genuine thank you, gratitude for what you're doing...it's endearing and can stick with you throughout your day. I was feeling pretty low and these people who know nothing about me made me feel better just by being able to be there for them in some of their most private moments. My problems seem so small. I am certainly humbled and very touched.

"And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years."
- Abraham Lincoln


Drofen said...

I knew I was right to pick you as my nurse role model. You're just incredible, that's all.

In a small way I'm glad the sad stuff still gets to you, I was afraid that with everything going on in your life you'd gone numb. And that would break my heart.

Christy ~ RN to be said...

You are a very sweet person R. :)

Drofen said...