Today, I was reunited with my old friend the ugly cry. I got off of work and I drove home in a silent reverie of emotions and wandering thoughts and by the time I arrived in my driveway I was a ball of water works. A broken down, sobbing disaster.
My patient died this week. It's been a while since a patient has died on my shift. As a matter of fact I think it's been well over a year since I've had a patient die. This time it was different too because this was a patient I had taken care of before... I had a chance to meet him when he was still very alert and talkative and full of life. I was off for a week and came back to discover he had been placed on comfort care.
The night he passed away he was doing relatively well considering the circumstances and he had family and friends from all over the country coming in to see him. They all shared such great stories about him and his life... it was truly heartwarming.
When the family came to see him in the morning they looked like zombies. They hadn't said goodbye to him the night before because we were all certain he was going to make it to the hospice unit the next day.
He didn't obviously and they were devastated.
Watching them as they came into the room where their father, grandpa, friend and brother was lying, cold to the touch, completely lifeless... it was painful.
The worst part came when one of his children came over to me... that look of shock on his face... tears streaming down his cheeks...
"What do I do from here? I mean... what.... what are we supposed to do now?"
I felt helpless... I reached out to grab his hand and all I could say was
"I'm so sorry..."
I swallowed the lump in my throat and shook my head.
"I'm so sorry."