Fresh Air


Working from home has it’s positive side, however – one of the negative sides is that I have to remind myself to get some fresh air once in awhile! The urge to sit in my office and work, work, work is just too great when the office is right next to my bedroom. Wake up. Make coffee. Shuffle into the office. Work all day.

Today – I’m headed out to see some patients for Hospice. I work for them a day, or two, a week – just to keep my hand in nursing, I still love what I do as a nurse. I have three patients to go see today – – I would have had four, except he died early this morning. He was a new patient – as a matter of fact, I did a few hours work for Hospice yesterday, when they called me and asked if I would do an emergency admission of a 40 year old patient.

That was the guy. His wife is 35 – they have a 12 year old son. He was diagnosed with a Glioma of the right temporal lobe – – a/k/a: brain tumor. After years of failed treatment, they finally made the decision to stop treating and let nature take it’s course. Despite the fact that the seizures and strokes had basically taken this mans ability to comprehend anything, had taken his hearing and his sight and his ability to swallow anything in the past 2 days . . . he was young, and had that youth on his side, or so I thought. I did the admit for him yesterday afternoon – – he was very comfortable and not in any distress, whatsoever. He still had considerable physical strength and wasn’t showing any of the typical signs that would normally tell me that his death was near.

That’s what I told his wife yesterday afternoon. My exact words were, “I think he’s near – but he is not imminent, at this point. I think we’re looking at a few weeks, and during that time, our primary goal is to make sure that he is as comfortable as possible and we’ll do everything within our power to make sure he does not suffer any discomfort at all.”

He died a short 16 hours later.

This will take me awhile. I’m remembering the look on her face when I told her it would be weeks, rather than days. . much less hours – – she seemed relieved that she didn’t have to face it immediately.

I wish I could apologize to her. But then, I think – for what? I used my best professional judgment, and I don’t carry around a crystal ball that gives me all the answers to all of the hard questions in life.

I think I’ll call her later today – – just to see if she’s ok, or needs anything.

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4 thoughts on “Fresh Air”

  1. That’s sad, but you’re right – you don’t have a crystal ball nor can you see the future. Our thoughts are with you & his family.

    I’m with Jeanette, I couldn’t be a nurse, but only because I cringe every time I see a needle. Nor could I be a junkie for that matter.

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