Tuesday, June 25, 2002

Mmm. Chocolate bread pudding. Perfect for the kind of day I've had. Today we lost a patient, very unexpectedly. He died in his sleep. His family was grief stricken, sobbing, yelling, fainting. It was bad.
I felt so sorry for them, especially the man's wife. She stood over him, holding his face, and kissing him. It was heartbreaking. It was all I could do to keep from thinking if it happened to me. His nurse, Shirley, allowed me to help with post mortem care, which we help prepare the body for transport to the morgue, then to the funeral home.

We first disrobed the patient, removing any catheters, IV lines, anything invasive. Then Shirley removed a piece of cloth from the post mortem kit that is used to tie under the patient's chin to help stablilze the mouth. It looks like the old cartoons and sitcoms, where the person has a toothache. Then we cleaned the body and placed a white bag underneath him, and then placed the infamous toe tag, then we zipped the bag. It is always important, Shirley said, to put a sign on the door asking all visitors to stop by the nurse's desk before entering. It needs to be done immediately after a patient expires, because you never know who comes in, and to see a loved one in a white bag, nude, and motionless, could be absolutely traumatic. After the initial shock wore off, the family expressed their gratitude, and left silently.

Naturally, it put a damper on everyone's day. Ed McMahon could have walked in, declared us all millionaires, and we'd still be bummed. The problem was we didn't have time to be bummed. The unit was hopping. We talked a bit about our patient, also about the pitcher from St Louis who died of a blocked artery; he was in his 30's. Lorraine worries about her husband, a smoker. I worry about the Better Half as a given. Today didn't help matters much. Lately, I have let go of a lot of stuff . I try to help keep his house clean, and not retaliate when he points out when I leave towels and stuff on the floor. Also, I have decided to work some 12 hour shifts, to have some more time off during the week to spend with my Better Half and my friends.

Comments: Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?