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Thread: A friend lost

  1. #1
    Skating Freak Barbie
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    A friend lost

    There has been a patient we've had in our ICU for over two months now. She came in with pnuemonia and progressed into a severe illness called Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, which can cause severe fibrosis (hardening) of the lungs. She has been on a ventilator the entire time, and had really no hopes to get off of it. She was finally placed on a lung transplant list.

    She has always been quite a trooper. The first few weeks on the vent, with all the sedation drugs she was given, she was pretty much goofy as hell, pulling at lines and tubing, trying to get out of bed. But since her mind cleared, she has been "herself" again, a very sweet lady with a great sense of humor. 45 years old. I've been taking care of her most every night I work for two months, joking with her, painting her fingernails and toenails, braiding her hair. She would write notes, and then recently, with a special valve, speak to us and laugh a bit. Oh joy of days, the day she passed a swalling evaluation and was finally allowed coffee with cream (spoon fed, not the big gulps she would prefer) and popcicles.

    She's taken a turn for the worse in the last two days, and is totally unresponsive. Her body is shutting down. She will probably be dead by tomorrow.

    I'm so lost. I have not been an ICU nurse long, and we have not had a patient in our unit this long since I've been working down there. I know it's never smart to get attached to someone in critical condition. But I feel I'm losing a friend. I always looked forward to going in and talking to her, teasing her and having her stick her tongue out at me. To think of walking into the unit and not have her smile and wave tonight, it is too hard to think of.




    Kasey

  2. #2
    Arm Chair Skate Fan show 42's Avatar
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    Kasey, I am so sorry. Your peace of mind will come over time when you realize your part in her passing with dignity. It is hard to let someone go, even though you've known that someone briefly, but you were there for her as a nurse as well as a friend........sounds like you are well suited for your profession and a blessing to your patients.....42

  3. #3
    On Edge Piel's Avatar
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    As a nurse and also someone who is dealing with a chronic illness my hat is off to you for taking the time to do all that you have for this woman. Although it will be sad to lose her it should comfort you to know that her last days were better because you were there. Braiding her hair and polishing her nails probably did her more good than any of the rest of her treatment. Your actions showed that she was not only your patient but also a person who mattered. to you. Bless you.

  4. #4
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    The very best that any of us can hope is that if/when we end our days in a hospital ICU that we have as compassionate and caring nurse as you, Kasey.

  5. #5
    Sal-Kowabunga!
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    Kasey,

    If I am hospitalized, I too wish for a nurse like you. You and your patient have each enriched the other's life. If she has passed on, remember that. She made a friend who will miss her!

  6. #6
    ~ Figure Skating Is My Passion ~ Ladskater's Avatar
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    Kasey:

    What compassion! It must be tough to know that someone is "not long for the earth" yet have to face them everyday until the end. I hope, I get this kind of care when that day comes.

    How touching.

  7. #7
    bugs are smarter than we are bronxgirl's Avatar
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    Having been a patient as well as a doctor, your nurse is as critical to getting well as your doctor. The nurse has to be the person who has to stay with an ICU patient for the entire shift, clean them, tend to them and to their family. A good nurse is worth his/her weight in gold for the sake of the pateints well being.
    A bad nurse can make an overnight stay absolutely one of the longest nights of your life.

  8. #8
    Skating Freak Barbie
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    Thank you all for responding with such kindness. This woman is still with us physically. She is at the stage where the family has to "make a decision", to put it euphamistically. If she is withdrawn from the ventilator, she will pass on within hours. If she remains on it, she will pass probably within the week. I had her the last four nights of work, and just did my best with her, to keep her comfortable and maintain her dignity.

    Kasey

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