I have to share this recent experience at work.
On Monday, I came into work and got report on my patient's. I received a patient who was dying because they found he had some form of bacteria that no antibiotics or antifungals can kill. The worst kind if you ask me. He was already on 6 L of high flow Nasal Cannula, but he was still responding. I was also informed in report that his son is stationed in Alaska in the army and was flying home that day to see his dad, thanks to the Red Cross that was paying for it. He wasn't going to make it home until 9:30 PM that night. I had a situation a few months ago where a patient was dying and her only son was flying back from Seattle. Unfortunately, his flight from Dallas was delayed and he walked in a few minutes after she died. Seeing his face when he discovered she died only a few minutes before he arrived was almost haunting to me. I never want to go through that again.
That morning, the patient was able to swallow his pills for me. By the afternoon, he got frantic and started thrashing around, ripping his nasal cannula off, depriving himself of whatever oxygen we could give him. I had to sit by his bed and hold his arms down to prevent him from pulling onto his oxygen. Since he wasn't doing well with the mask (it would start him up with the thrashing again), we kept him on the nasal cannula and we went as high as we could, but by 3 P.M. his oxygen saturation started plummeting into the 70 percentile. I kept switching the nasal cannula and holding the mask over his face for a few minutes to help him get more oxygen in hopes that his son could make it in time to say bye to him.
He ended up making it through the rest of the afternoon until 7 P.M. at shift change. When I gave report to the R.N. I gave her a mission. She had to keep him alive until 10 P.M. just so his son could see him and say his goodbye before he passed away. I felt so bad putting that pressure on her, but I knew she could do it.
The next morning, I saw that he passed away. When I talked to the R.N. that had him, she said his son made it a few minutes before he passed away and he took his last breath at exactly 10 P.M.
All I can say to that is God works in mysterious ways...