I once blogged about assisted suicide.
It wasn’t a post about the ethics of it.
I didn’t argue the legalities of it.
I didn’t blog the pros or cons of it.
I didn’t write about it to either condemn, nor justify it.
It was simply about a young, dying patient and an hour that I spent with him.
I’m a hospice nurse and the number one question, above all others, that I hear is not about pain management. It’s not about what happens when you die. It’s not about the ‘white light’ theory – – nor is it about funeral planning. The number one question, and subsequent discussions, that I have with several of my patients is “Will you help me die?” And my answer is always that I am there to help them die peacefully, and as comfortably as possible – – and to help them make the connections necessary to help put thoughtful closure to their life . . . whether that is financial, emotional, spiritual or physical.
However, I am not there to hasten the process.
I will not “speed it up” – – but at the same time, I will not “slow it down”.
Nature is what it is — and it will eventually take it’s course. . . . over which, I really have no control. I can do what I can to control the symptoms of dying and to help the patient tie up loose ends, whatever they perceive them to be.
Why is it when people hear the word “Hospice” – – some, not all – – but some view us as Dr. Kevorkian’s missionaries?
Some days – I just want to say something like, “Sorry, but I left my hood and sickle at home today.”
Cold, I know.
Call it job stress.