Saturday, May 23, 2009


Yesterday was the last day of my 11 workdays stretch and while I could complain about things that happened, I can't because I am reminded that it's not worth complaining about.

I had 3 patients to start with when I came in the morning. When I got to report on my first guy, it was pretty obvious from the report sheet that he was actively dying. We were no longer drawing labs, doing accuchecks, and no resuscitation was to be performed if he desatted or went into cardiac arrest. In other words, comfort care only.

When I walked in, I was almost horrified by the sound I heard before seeing the patient. He sounded like he was drowning in his own body. It broke my heart because no one deserves to suffer like that while dying. I suctioned as much as I could and he got the scopolamine patch (it helps decrease the secretions), but it wasn't helping. I gave him pain medicine when I felt it was needed as the octor ordered, but the horrible sound did not go away.

By the afternoon, his wife came and she lost it. I feel so bad for her. I think she was more disturbed by the sound of him suffering and didn't want him to die that way. Driven more by this wife's sadness, I talked to the doctor and he increased the pain medicine. After I gave it to him, it only took 30 minutes for his breathing to quiet. He no longer sounded like he was drowning, yet his oxygen saturation remained the same. Finally, he face looked relaxed, his body wasn't tensed up, and he looked peaceful as one should before he pass. Four hours later, I gave report to the oncoming nurse and bid my goodbye to his wife. His wife thanked me over and over for making him as comfortable as I could and for all I have done to take care of him that day.

While I am looking forward to a relaxing 3 day weekend, I know some won't have that and I can only pray that they can find the strength and comfort they need in God.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I can do it...

I am currently completing an eleven workday period. Yes, I know. 11 days straight of working? I don't know how I am surviving, but between my two jobs, they definitely help change the pace up a little bit. I just finished day #9 so I am definitely seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.

But, when Saturday comes, I will not be hitting that alarm clock in the morning and I look forward to it!

Friday, May 8, 2009


While escorting my fifty year old male patient to the restroom and back to bed, I noticed he started walking back to the bed, passing the sink without using it. I stopped him and told him, "Wash your hands," not giving him any options but to do so. I was standing in the way so he couldn't go anywhere but the restroom or the sink. Of course, he asked, "What?" I just repeated my statement.

That was all it took to motivate him to get some soap in his hands and wash them. Upon completing the simple task, he turned to me and asked,

"Do I have to do that everytime now?"

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

That's all?

This past week, I went up to Wichita to accompany my grandma to her oncology appointment. On Thursday, my grandparents and I went in for the jam packed hour appointment with the oncologist. I understood pretty much everything going on, my grandma understood about 75% of what's going on, my poor grandpa- everything flew over his head. He gets confused easily now thanks to the combination of his back pain and the pain medicine he is on. The part he didn't get is why the doctor didn't come in and say, "We're going to do this and this is when we're going to do it." He probably asked us 10 times after the appointment why that didn't happen. Well, things change.

I took notes of everything the doctor had said during the appointment. When we returned to my grandparents, I typed it out and forwarded it to my grandparents, parents, aunts, and uncles since we were all helping out while she goes for treatment. I told my grandma that I sent the email the next morning and she read it, but had one little question for me (keep in mind, she's an 81 year old women):

"I read the part where the doctor said there's an average life expecancy of 5-10 years in healthy individuals. That's all?"

Of course, I started laughing a little and said, "Well, if you add 10 years to your age now, you'd be 91 years old. That's pretty good!"

I think my Grandma believes she's going to live forever, but you know, maybe it isn't a bad thing to believe in. She lives her life to its fullest and if the belief helps her do that, then so be it. At least, when she does pass away, she will have lived her life to its fullest.