Registered nurse, Jess, finds inspiration from her dying patient
“I held her hand as she told me stories. She knew she was never leaving her hospital bed and that she was dying. I feel blessed that my profession enabled me to be the one to be with her on her final night”
2nd January 2015
I honestly have to say, I am one of the few in this world that can say, “I love my job”.
I am a nurse.
A nurse’s job requires blood, sweat and tears. And it’s usually required without a thank you. But, for me, it only takes one rewarding experience to make it all so worth it.
This particular evening, I was working night shift as a float nurse in a new hospital….
Out of my four patients, three were independent for the most part, not requiring too much of my attention which was a blessing considering my fourth patient.
My fourth patient was a woman. She was sixty years and and she had stage-four lung cancer. It had metastasised to her spine and her prognosis was poor. Breathing was an effort and talking required frequent breaks to catch her breath.
I wanted to make her as comfortable as possible. In my opinion, a lack of adequate oxygen perfusion and an inability to catch your breath is one of the scariest of health issues.
She knew she was not well.
She had no family present to comfort her.
Despite all of this, her spirits were bright. Moreover, she maintained her own compassion and empathy to others: as I entered the room to check on her she would ask how MY night was going. This is what touched me most.
Through the night I made sure I found lots of time for her. I’d repeatedly visit and, a number of times, I’d pull up a chair to sit next to her.
I held her hand as she told me stories. She knew she was never leaving her hospital bed and that she was dying. And yet she spoke happily about the day she would return home, and the places she would re-visit or explore for the first time.
Because of her condition talking was difficult, so she would ask questions about my life and I’d talk quietly and at length about all kinds of things. She did so well to remain positive and I found it hard not to cry.
She was able to find compliments and gave them freely.
I remained with her all night and feel blessed that my profession enabled me to be the one to be with her on her final night, and hold her hand as she died.