My 24 hour call is officially over – I am no longer a sitting duck! **collective applause**
I didn’t have too bad of a day/night, overall. I had two deaths to attend and one new admission. The last death call I did was at 6am this morning. It was quite emotional for everyone involved – but odd. I mean, from time to time, I do come across some odd people in this line of work. I don’t ever judge them for their behaviors simply because I am generally coming into their lives at a very stressful and emotional time in their lives (both patient and family) – defenses are down, emotions are high . . . . so behaviors are generally not in the norm for these people. So, I do see some odd things.
This morning was odd. The patient was passed by the time I had arrived at the home. The daughter was sitting with him – alone, in the dark. I entered and she immediately went into high gear offering me food, drink – – even offered to cook me breakfast. It took me about a good 15 minutes before I could get her to stop running around — I took her by the shoulders and looked her in the eye and told her I didn’t need anything at all – – but was she doing ok?
She then looked me straight in the eye and without a pause she said, “It’s Easter, you know. You don’t suppose he’ll come back, do you?” She then proceeded to show me this sore that he has (had?) on his right hand and started in on a long explanation about stigmata – and wanted to know if I’d ever seen stigmata, had any experience with it or known of anyone who had it.
She was dead serious. Now, even though I am an atheist – I am all for supporting the different beliefs of the different people who walk in and out of my life. I understand that those beliefs run deep and I will do anything and everything in my power to help these people find peace in their lives – whichever way they need to accomplish that.
The daughter walked over to her father and picked up his right arm. She raised it high into the air and then let it drop. She looked at me and said, “Look. He’s like a fish.”
Ooooooook. I was quickly beginning to realize that I was in just a little too far over my head on this one – – I’m beginning, now, to think that she is in a completely, strangely calm hysteria. I excused myself for a moment and called our psychotherapist – who made it out to the house with no time to spare, because just as she walked into this house – – the daughter started wailing in a way that I am sure woke the neighborhood.
As I was in the kitchen, on the phone – contacting the doctor and making arrangements with the funeral home, the psychotherapist was in the bedroom with the daughter making arrangements for her direct admission to the mental health unit at the local hospital.
The patient was at peace (I think?) and had spent his last days as comfortable as we could make him. The daughter, I’m afraid, has some terrible inner demons that were exacerbated by her fathers’ passing. I’ll probably head up to the hospital and check in on her tomorrow morning to see if there is anything I can do to help.
What a morning! That started at 6am – it is now a little after nine and I’m officially off the hook for the rest of the weekend. Hopefully, the rest of my weekend will be stigmata and fish free.