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Monday, March 23, 2015

Loosing a Patient.

   As a nurse, loosing a patient you have know for awhile is not easy. I recently helped a patient pass.

           My patient was dying. Here I was in her families’ house, sitting in their chair and watching their T.V. I had just checked to make sure she was comfortable and gave her, her scheduled medications. She looked comfortable, as comfortable as one can be while dying.
I was looking through my schedule to see what extra days I could pick up throughout the month. I had a trip planned to South Carolina at the end of May and I wanted to make sure I had enough money to cover my expenses while down there. I was looking back and forth from my schedule, the T.V., the outside and my patient to make sure she was still breathing. I was not there to save her life but to help her pass. It was my first experience as a nurse with this kind of up close dying.
It was the middle of March and spring had just begun. The blanket of snow covering the ground had started to creep back exposing the frozen grass underneath. Cold tears of water would drip off the roof onto the back of my neck as I walked through the threshold of the house. The wind still had a nip about it but the sun warmed away the thought before it had formed.
My patient’s daughter had just gotten back from a run and was doing things around the house in her pink bathrobe and slippers. She always made the nursing staff feel welcome but throughout the years I couldn’t help feel like an intruder. Here I have sat for the past two and a half years watching this family’s life take shape. I’ve watched the youngest grow up and the oldest leave home. It feels like I watched it all through a window from where I sat in the sun room with her mother. Now I will be here to watch her mother pass and support the family through this.
Although I am just a tiny ripple in the journey of taking care of her mother I can’t help but feel momentous at being here for the end. I suppose I am just happy it was me who was here, someone who had been here the whole time and knew the family. I doubt I am even noticed though, which is just as well, it is not about me.
I look up from my budgeting to see the daughter standing in the doorway. A raw and powerful look on her face. One mixed with love, bitterness, longing and sadness. At this point my own personal musings stop. I felt a part of her moment even though she would never know. I felt her same somberness at losing her mother and having her life end way too soon. I wanted to say something to comfort her but what? Something cliché? No. this moment deserved better than that. So I let the silence be. I let it take over and wash through the room. I could hear every memory running through her daughters head and see them in her eyes.

Soon she moved along in her daily routine but continued to glance at her mother every time she passed by the sun room. Even after I had left house for the last time, I would still feel the sorrow of her daughter’s grief from time to time. Her mother died in the best way; surrounded by love and by family. She did well by her mom, which is what God always intends for his children to do.

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