Today, I had another one of those mortality moments. These moments seem to happen quite often in this job of mine – I suppose I should just get used to it. Not that I don’t accept and have come to grips with my own mortality – because I have. It’s not so much my death I worry about – – what I worry about is the effect it will have on my children.
I sat with M. today for about 2 hours at her bedside as she completed her long battle with cancer. It wasn’t an easy road for her, or her family – but she’s comfortable and she’s peaceful – – at least that is what I assume by looking at her and being with her today. Her and I had a quiet moment during my visit, where she slept and I held onto her hand and waited for her pain medication to take effect. Waiting for her to stop struggling so very much. I always wonder what they feel in those last hours. If they know it’s happening? Are they flashing back through their lives in their minds? Literally seeing their life flash before them? Are they praying? Are they truly as peaceful as they look? Am I fooling myself into believing that I am helping make the transition easier…more peaceful…more comfortable?
I put myself in her shoes. Would I want someone there with me – – sitting and watching my respiratory patterns for hours and a morphine suppository every 1-2 hours? I suppose, for the relief from pain – – the suppository wouldn’t be so bad. Would I want it to be private? Would I want to be alone? Could I concentrate on my life flashing before my eyes if someone was sitting there with me…..is it distracting?
While I understand the physiology of death and I can accept death and have helped many patients and families cope with the concept of it – – and the inevitability of it. What still remains a mystery to me is what goes on on the inside? Spiritually and inside the heart and mind – – I guess I am not meant to know. At least not until it’s my time 🙂
I guess I really don’t need to know quite yet – – I’m curious, but not THAT curious.
M. was still peaceful and resting when I left her bedside this afternoon. Told them to call me if her condition changed in any way at all. They all looked so sad ~ especially the kids. I felt like staying with them through the night and into the morning, because I just know in my heart of hearts that tonight is going to be the night. I reassured them that there is a nurse on-call tonight – – there for them for whatever they need. I can’t believe I am hearing myself say this…..but I wish I was the one scheduled to be on-call. Just this once.