The High Desert (Week 3)

There are parts of my career that I find absolutely wonderful, and then there are parts that I find less enjoyable. I have spent time in this blog revealing my favorite parts, but not the “less enjoyable” parts. Today was one of the “less enjoyable” parts and one that I would file under “worst” parts. I was called back to the facility to pronounce a death.

I have attended and pronounced numerous deaths throughout my career as a nurse (it is definitely not the first time). I have also observed and educated people on end of life issues. I have watched them make choices and decisions that are personal to them, making their requests known to friends, family, and caregivers. I sometimes wonder if they don’t choose the moment that they die, as well. I say this because I have witnessed my patients take their last breath the moment that a specific family member arrives, the moment that someone tells them that it is “okay to let go”, and even cases where they passed immediately prior to a certain person arriving. That is what happened today. The patient’s only daughter had traveled the entire day to get to her dad. She brought a cot to sleep next to him as he slowly slipped away and she requested that a bible be available so that she could read to him. He knew she was coming and he passed away 20 minutes prior to her arriving. I want to believe that he was protecting her from seeing him at his worst. I like to think that he wanted her to remember him when he was at his best. But no matter the circumstance, it is never easy to inform the family, in this case his daughter who came fully expecting to spend his last moments with him.

This one hit me hard today (maybe because our family loss is so fresh). There are so many things that I may never understand while on this earth, but I have faith that it will all make sense someday. I sincerely believe that there is purpose in the pain that we experience (physical and emotional). I am the type of person that has to find the purpose in order to find peace. Sometimes the purpose is obvious, and sometimes I have to look for it. Sometimes it comes quickly, and sometimes I have to wait. Either way, it exists and we can find it if we keep our hearts and our eyes open and ready to see it (easier said than done, right?).

Tonight, I hope to curl up with Wookie and let him absorb all of my sorrow from the day (he’s really good at that). Tomorrow will be a new day, and we will be ready to go back to work, hopefully to experience the more enjoyable parts.

One response to “The High Desert (Week 3)”

  1. I agree completely with your observations about the dying patient. In my 45 years of being in the nursing profession (now retired) I have witnessed the same circumstances many times.

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