Sunshine and Roses…

It’s Mother’s Day! Happy Mother’s Day!!!!!

I feel much better than I did last night. What happened yesterday? Well, I worked again and things weren’t quite as positive as the previous days. You see, I cared for a patient that had changed her code to a DNR… I don’t know how many of you out there have had the experience of caring for a DNR patient, but it’s not sunshine and roses.

It was depressing. And that’s putting it mildly.

Dave prepares for the day

My first few patients were all on the up-and-up. They improved and were transferred to med-surf floors where they would remain until they went home. I was able to talk to them, laugh with them, and see their progress as they became more stable. Transferring them out of the ICU was such a wonderful moment… they thanked me and promised to give me their first paycheck once they returned to work.

The patient I had yesterday was completely out of it. Not once during the shift did she regain consciousness, but I knew she was suffering. In fact, she was deteriorating right before my eyes, and the best Justine and I could do was to keep her comfortable and as free of pain as we could manage. I would be very surprised if she were there tomorrow when I return to the floor.

I need to understand that nursing will be an emotional ride as well. It’s not always just about doing the skills – inserting an IV, passing meds, setting up pumps – these are actual people I’m caring for, and with people come emotions. Sure, we learn that in class, but it doesn’t really hit you until you see death happening right before your eyes.

Some people tell me that I need to block it out and I need to turn off my feelings when I work because if I don’t then I’ll become depressed. Although I can understand this point of view, and although I’m sure it will happen to some degree… I just hope that some semblance of what I went through yesterday remains.

Before leaving the unit, I stopped by the patient’s bed and said to her, “Be strong, you’ll see God soon.”

And with that, I touched her hand and went home and went on living my life. The same exact thing she should be doing.

It’s really a shame how much I take life for granted.


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