Watching him dying (graphic)

This happened nearly a dozen years ago,
yet still feels like just yesterday.

Standing at the foot of his bed,
i watched helplessly as he took some of his final breaths.

he was surrounded by the code team,
some peoples’ jobs merely the space they were holding.

a 1st year student, i stood there in my pressed and clean labcoat.
my nursing shoes; unsure what to do.

frozen in my tracks, my voice cracked
when telling the lead physician of his sudden collapse.

the pain in his calves he complained of just moments before
we exited the hospital’s front door.

the CI and I had dismissed the pain as leg cramps
from the progress in his walking distance.

so soon after having been bedridden following his craniotomy,
and partial lobotomy, we didn’t realize the risks and his fate.

the hiss of the oxygen, turned to its highest,
one of the few sounds in the room otherwise quiet.

~~~

less than five minutes before,
he, my CI and i had been walking outdoors.

my job for most of the walk had been to guard him,
to keep him steady, to keep him from falling.

i supported him, one hand on his belt,
the other holding his right hand in mine; a steady incline.

within steps of the change in guard,
he experienced a sudden decline.

my CI lowered him to the ground,
if it had been me at guard, both of us fallen, piling.

quickly, i pulled out my ammonia salts,
a sign of my green horns; an intern.

after breaking the tab and insuring his stability,
i ran inside, to procure a set of wheels.

on the way back to his room, his breathing
heavily labored. his skin grey turning.

it almost seemed as if he had had a severe
asthma attack, turning grey from the lack of perfusion.

we rushed him back to his room,
his wife at his side as others activated the code blue.

i watched what was to be their last goodbye,
in my freshly polished shoes and pressed lab coat,

i wanted to cry. false tears were running
down my face, still dry.

oh the things i learned that fateful day,
never ignore the signs of a DVT!

later i learned his astrocytomas & glioblastoma multiform
put him at risk for the emboli that traveled to his airways.
~~~

later the lead code physician ordered any non-essential personnel to leave,
head hanging low, i was the only one to go.

others stood there just holding the space,
unsure of their role, yet i couldn’t look anyone in the face.

in shock i sat quietly, then lead back to the clinic office
by someone who had noticed my shift in countenance.

as i passed by the room, where his wife has been shuttled,
my shoulders dropped lower as if in a singular huddle.
~~~

checking his chart, following up the the nurses,
we learned that day of his fate: death by asphyxiation

i drove that night, by the river of James,
not caring about the traffic, the slick roads, the rain.

my heart was filled with grief: the father, husband now lost,
my being stuck in traffic, repeatedly, seemed a simple cost.

i cried that night for his death,
it seems I had almost felt the presence of Archangel Azrael.

~~~
the next day I was almost relieved to hear,
his wife left grieving was also somewhat relieved.

three young children to care for at home, she didn’t want
them to remember his unsupported death within their abode.

for his affliction & neurosurgery had left him somewhat a child,
within the body of a man, safety awareness withheld.

in his death he had gifted to her the relief her burden of him,
freeing her to focus on the care of their young children.
~~

I believe because of this experience, I was able to help to more quickly identify the signs of DVT in at least 5 others. While others were false alarms, I do not fuck around with the signs: better safe than sorry.

Here are some of the risk factors for DVT (each on its own can cause a blood clot to form):

  • Recent surgery (if if NOT bedridden)
  • Active cancer
  • Dehydration
  • Recent injury (especially fractures)
  • Family History
  • Use of hormones: Birth control, Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Obesity/Overweight
  • Decreased activity: traveling
  • Pregnancy
  • Heart conditions: Failure, Murmurs

Namaste
__/|\__ Metta
2016.02.15

29 thoughts on “Watching him dying (graphic)

  1. Reblogged this on georgeforfun and commented:
    TY for sharing such vital information. Even seasoned medical professionals miss these signs. It’s why people need to understand more about this, heart attacks, strokes, etc. We need to have more knowledge about our human bodies, not less. We can be our (and loved ones) best advocates armed with knowledge, not ignorance.
    TY again for sharing Tiffany.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. That is one of the toughest jobs in the world. Doctors and Nurses are Gods in the eyes of suffering patients, as they look up to you to save them from the pain and relieve them from their misery, give them a chance to live again and run against the wind. They truly are Gods, cause you gave them hope when nobody else could. I understand the pain of losing someone right before your eyes. You are special and God bless you with a long and wonderful life.

    Liked by 1 person

      • I have volunteered for social causes, but whenever I see a Hospice volunteering, I chicken out. I am very scared of the prospect of talking to someone who knows their death is not far away. I am afraid, I would say something to affect them and more importantly, what if I run out of things to say.

        You are a great person. Lots of love and good wishes.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Tiffany,

    My father in law died of a glioblastoma brain tumor. They tried but it was almost completely inoperable. Nearly 1 year to the day they’d diagnosed him he died. Thanksgiving morning. It was a horrible decline for him and the whole family. Something that I believe in hindsight we would have all, wished he hadn’t had to live through. He changed from the smart, funny, caring man that he was into a complete invalid but worse, he no longer had his mind. It was worse than suddenly losing him because those memories will never fade and they overshadow some of the good ones. No one wants their dad to forget their name or call them bad names because their brain no longer works. No spouse wants to nurse her husband who has suddenly turned emotionally abusive, belligerent, and angry with confusion because he no longer had his mind. I believe that this man dying this way was a gift to his family. That it happened on your watch is hard to take. Especially for someone like you who harbors feelings of guilt and shame. But you don’t have control over the universe and some things aren’t yours to own. 💕

    Like

    • Yes, I agree! Near the end I recognize his final gift to his wife was his death at the hospital. It’s not the emphasis, but it is there. It still traumatized me to see him suffocate. Especially being an asthmatic. It has helped me to save others, too.
      Thank you for reading, commenting and sharing your own experiences! ❤️ Tiffany

      Liked by 1 person

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