My day today has revolved around death.
Yes, I know – before you say it, I am a Hospice nurse – so it only stands to reason, I know. However, there are some days where death is everywhere — more evident than other days. It’s cyclic, I’ve noticed.
Over the weekend, 7 of our patients died. Today, I’ve had three deaths so far. Being the on-call nurse for the evening – I had to make the calls for each of them. They were all different, in their own way – and I feel drained.
I always feel so selfish to whine about how these death calls make me feel – -when I know that it is NOTHING in comparison to what the families are going through right now. They’re at home. They can’t sleep. Probably looking through photos…if they aren’t laughing…they are crying.
The 39 year old wife of the 41 throat cancer patient who died tonight…well, I eventually had to leave her in the loving presence of her 5 year old daughter and 9 year old son. Left them as they wonder how they are going to go about picking up the pieces of their life…how they are going to maintain. We tried explaining it to the 5 year old little girl . . . . no matter how many ways…no matter how many different words we used to explain it….she just hugged her blonde baby doll with the blue eyes and kept saying , “But Daddy will come back home when this is all over, right?”
It was my job to say “No” – – her mother, his wife, couldn’t yet bring herself to say it….heck, her mom was probably hoping that I’d say “Yes, he’ll be home later, sweetie.” She wasn’t any more capable of accepting what happened tonight any more than the daughter was capable of completely comprehending the finality of it all.
It did, eventually, dawn on the 5 year old, however. That was the worst. I watched as the comprehension washed over her little face like the darkest cloud taking over the brightest sky.
Sometimes, I hate this job.
Sometimes, 5 year olds hate me for telling them bad stories about their father.