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.