I think all nurses must go through time periods like this. Or at least I really hope my peers do because otherwise I feel like I should just go out and buy a bunch of black scrubs and be called the death nurse. It's not that I am purposefully or intentionally killing my patients but more the idea that I am a magnet for death.
Sometimes when I allow myself the time to think about it, I just want to curl up and cry... and cry... and cry some more!
For some patients death is expected and most often a blessing. Still sad, particularly with their family for you know they are the ones hurting with nothing but time to heal their sorrows.
For others, it's shocking! It's not right and it shouldn't be! And I can't help but sway between believing in a higher power and things happen for a reason to there being no higher power because if there truly was one, deaths like these wouldn't occur.
Recently I was working a shift in my own little death corner of the unit. One elderly patient was made comfort care so I extubated him and stopped all the medications I was infusing to keep him alive. I made sure he was comfortable and he looked incredibly peaceful while he waited out his journey here on earth.
My other patient not so much.... A twenty six year old, newly engaged with the whole world to look forward to. He came to us because of a severe headache which turned out to be so much more. And so much we couldn't save him from.
His mom spoke to me asking "I bet you get numb to all this?" ... I wanted to yell "Oh hell no!" Instead I stated "we don't ever get numb! We approach it a little differently because of our knowledge of what is going on but never numb. We feel too much empathy and sorrow towards the family for us to go numb and honestly I don't think a nurse would be a very good nurse if we couldn't relate to these life changing events."
I rarely cry at work... most of the time I cry on my way home as I am sorting out my own feelings towards a day's events but every now and then things hit you and you can't help but cry at work. You can't help but be slammed with the reality, or the big picture.
Anyways, a friend just wrote a blog post in regards to cherishing life. A dear friend of hers (Susan) passed away suddenly, leaving a beautiful family behind. Susan apparently had a quote that she liked.... it sums life up beautifully ..."For those who fight for it, life has a flavor the sheltered will never know." - Sucker Punch
And as my friend stated in her blog "Fight for it!" Love it and be grateful for it! You just never know....