Sometimes in the busy days, we get so tangled up in all the duties inherent in just nursing, that we forget to listen to the *people* behind the illness. I had a couple of patients lately that I'll probably never forget.
The first was an 88 year old gentleman who was having a bit of confusion at night. His spouse of 63 years (yup 63 years) was there practically every minute of the night and day. She looked surprisingly younger than him. He had three equally attractive children...who came to visit in the evenings, and were very attentive. You could tell from the family dynamics that this was a very close family. I had taken care of the Mr. for several nights, and he was just not getting better. After a battery of tests the physicians told the Mrs. that his heart was too weak for surgery ... and that he just wasn't going to get better. During the night, he took a turn for the worse, was not breathing well, having bursts of arrhythmia. The Mrs. wanted to call the kids for moral support, but decided to wait out the night, and the Mr. actually got a little better at daybreak.
She could not bear to see him waiting out his death in a hospital room, it was tearing her heart out. I suggested she talk to case management about Hospice care, for some reason no one had even mentioned it to her. She took him home after Hospice had lined up oxygen and a hospital bed. She hugged me before I left that morning. I wonder how he is doing now, or if he died. I think I'll always remember her holding his hand and blinking back the tears. It makes me think of me and Dave, and how lost I would be without him. The thought of losing somebody who is your whole life .... that is what he was to her and she was to him, if the thought made me cry I hate to even imagine the reality.
I don't take the newspaper or check out the online obit's, it's just too hard to take sometimes. I know we all have to die, but some people are so nice, and you do form a bond with them and their families. You just wish they could all beat the odds. But then, we would all live forever, then wouldn't we.