Continue to Rest In Peace Grandma

Tomorrow will mark 28 years since my grandmother’s passing. I was known as “grandma’s girl”. She was essentially my rock and stability growing up.

She had been sick for awhile before her passing. Diagnosed with Empyema and lung cancer. When we heard that she was in the hospital, we were about a 5 hour drive deep. My mother made us pack up (again) and leave. We did just that and made it back to live next to my grandparents.

At one point before she died, I went to visit her at the hospital. I wish I hadn’t. My last memory of her was laying in a hospital bed, on a vent. Not speaking or even looking at us.

The morning of October 29, 1987-my grandfather came over to our place early. About 5:30am. At this time, he knew we would be up getting ready for school. When he came in, you could tell that something was not right but, at the age of 9, I didn’t know what it could be.

He sat down in the chair. I came out to say “hi”. He looked at mom and said “she died in her sleep last night.” All I remember was that he got up and left. Not saying much after that.

I didn’t grasp what it all really meant. My grandmother was the first person in my life to die. Eventually I got it that she wasn’t coming back and in all honesty, at that time in my life, I wanted to go with her.


Why Don’t We Listen to a Loved Ones Wishes?

If your loved one made a wish-do you abide by it? Do you listen to it? Do you approve of it?

If you don’t agree. Do you resend it with excuses? Do you excuse it based on your own perceptions?

As a nurse, we are greeted with a lot of differences. It could be a different belief from a patient to a nurse, from nurse to nurse, from doctor to patient. But it can also be a different belief and wish from patient and their family. I am talking about end of life discussion.

Some people do not want to talk about it. Everyone should talk about it. Some believe, that maybe if we don’t talk about it-maybe it will not happen? But we all know, we are guaranteed two things in life 1) birth and 2) death. Everything in-between is not set in stone.

If a person is of sound mind and the make a decision that they do not want any extraordinary measures-why is it morally okay for a family member to come into the picture and reverse it when the person loses consciousness.

Even with written documentation, it appears to happen every single day in healthcare. I wonder how this can be okay? How can this be legal? How can it be changed? ::it is often legal because family members will say “they were not of sound mind when they agreed to that” even if they were::

I will tell you, my best friend is my healthcare proxy. She is in the medical field. If there is a point in no return, don’t keep going. Just let me go. I will tell you-if you (my best friend, my family, etc) go against my sound mind wishes…when I’m dead-I will come back and haunt you.

I understand hoping for more. I understand wanting more. I understand guilt, regret, sadness, grief. But is it okay to put your wishes ahead of your loved ones?

It’s Not About You, It’s About the Patient

Stethoscope and a silhouette of the heart and ECG. 3d

Do people realize that if you offer help to others, there is less stress for everyone?

I work in the healthcare field, now as a nurse. I tell everyone, PLEASE, do not get into nursing for the pay because it’s a highly stressful job (or can be)-not to mention you’re dealing with people’s lives. It’s not a production line at a factory.

My personality is that I have to help. I am not one to sit down and stare at my smartphone while someone else is running around. I’m not one to chat on the phone while people are admitting someone or discharging someone. I get up and ask everyone “do you need help?” Most of the time people say “no”. But I think it’s important to lend a hand. I think the stress level overall, would decrease if everyone took part in that. Not just for the stress level. Not just to keep you from being bored. Not just to help that other nurse or tech. But for the patient.

If someone is in pain, why should the patient have to wait until their nurse is ready to help them? If I’m available? Or someone else?

I suppose it stems from a situation when I was in the hospital as a child. I had a bone graft taken from my hip. This was the night after the surgery (as in less than 24 hours). So it was tender and painful. I was young. It was in the middle of the night. I called for the nurse and my bed positioned where I could see the nurse’s station. I rang and someone answered (now looking back I believe that someone was a unit clerk). They said “someone will be down shortly”.

Okay, not a big deal. I’ll wait. But I waited and waited…and waited. When time went by (granted it could have only been 5 minutes) no one came. When I saw a 2nd person at the nurse’s station. I rang again. I told them, like the first time that I had to use the bathroom. The person on the other end repeated what they did the last time.

So I sat there, and waited. In the middle of the night. It was quiet. I was thinking about peeing. No one came. I decided to take it upon myself. I rolled over to roll off the bed, sat up. It was painful. Hopped on my good leg, hopped to the head of the bed to unplug the IV pole. Used the IV pole as a brace and hobbled to the bathroom. Whew! I made it.

When I was finished, I hobbled back. I did not even bother to plug in the IV pool. As I picked up my legs, carefully on the surgical side. Went to pull up the blankets, someone came in and asked what I was doing? “I just came back from the bathroom, I had to pee.”

She said something to the effect of “why didn’t you wait?”

My going to the bathroom, is minor at a young age. Now that I’m older and think of my patients. An older lady that has had kids, thus a weak bladder-having to use the bathroom. Or an older gentleman where we gave Golytely to prep them for a Colonoscopy, needing to have an explosion. What about the middle aged man, that cam in with chest pain…calling because he’s having that experience again? Or someone with COPD who feels like they cannot breathe, and gasping for air? I just think of myself as those people-what it would feel like to be them. Then realizing that there probably someone else that could have helped them.

Yup, virtually every hospital that I have worked it. As a policy for workers NOT to say “That’s not my patient.” But I notice a lot of workers (everywhere) have that mentality. I just tell my co-workers, what if that was your loved one? Would you want them waiting?

I am not a charge nurse. I left my permanent job because I didn’t want to be charge nurse. I didn’t want the added stress of people coming to you with problems, or trying to make everyone happy with their assignment, etc. But when I offer help to my co-workers, I often hear “are you charge today?”. I say no and follow up with why? “Oh, because your asking people if they need anything?”

Again, what if it was YOU or your loved one waiting to be assisted? Waiting for pain medication? If you have time, and your caught up? Why not help someone else? It’s not a big deal and who cares if they don’t do the same. Remember it’s not about you, it is about the patient.

Link to my GoFundMe site for my medical mission trip Jan 10-March, 2016:

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