Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"The stones in this jar represent each patient who died on the IPU in 2008. Stones will be added after the IDT."

I was in the Inpatient Unit of Midwest Hospice today. During the morning report, someone remarked that there were a lot of patients that were imminent. That is the word they use to describe someone who is going to die very soon.

I knew it would be an intense, emotional experience, but I did not expect the very first patient I saw to die. I went into the room with Marianne, the RN I was shadowing, and she began listening to his heart. Her eyes got big, and she told me to count respirations and try to find an apical pulse while she went and called his wife. I saw him take a breath, but when I listened to his heart, there was nothing. And then he didn't take any more breaths. Marianne came back, listened, and confirmed that he had died. She closed his eyes, and we arranged his body and cleaned up the room. When she saw me tear up, she told me that I got a good experience that day, and that she always considers it an honor when she gets to be there for the end of a life. We also found out that his son was planning on getting married that day in the hospice unit chapel so that his dad could be there. During the Interdisciplinary Team meeting, they said his name and added a stone to the jar. There were about 10 stones added for the week.

I have been keeping an open mind to the various work settings that interest me. I think I would be a good hospice nurse, despite the reservations I displayed yesterday.


Anonymous said...

Wow. What an emotional post. I really respect what you're up to, and from reading your blog, I'm sure you'll be fantastic at whatever area you choose.

Anonymous said...

You're awesome Cheddar. Your big brain and extraordinary heart will be put to better use as a nurse rather than a teacher. I think you've found your calling.