2.27.2006

when hope turns to mercy

Last night was one of the busiest/most trying nights I've had in quite a while. I think I've had nights that were more irritating (people ringing call bells or climbing out of bed, etc.), but last night was trying emotionally and mentally. On top of all the "normal" busy stuff, I had a patient going "bad" and I really had to work hard all night long to literally save her life. I would never say anything like that to look for glory, but only to share what I've been going through.

Walking into work and having dayshift meet you at the desk saying "oh so and so is really bad....you're going to have to take them. And they're probably not going to make it very long" is never a good way to start. Instant stress. And last night was probably the hardest I've had to fight in a long time to save someone.... and to top it off she was someone that has been on our floor for about 3 weeks or so and we've all gotten attached to her. She has MULTIPLE things going on and yesterday she started bleeding to death. Out of every orifice. Choking, gurgling. Believe me, it was even worse than it sounds on here. This was a patient that I worried and stressed about. Worked HARD on. No one expected her to live through the night. Not the Dr., not the nursing staff. And yet she's still there. I know that I can only do what I can do to help her and that God is in ultimate control....but I did my part. The part that made it the hardest on me though was the family. Not all of them, but one or two in particular. They were so adamant that everything was done for this poor woman....not because it was her wish, but because I think that they felt it was showing their loyalty and devotion if they did. And on top of that....they were so critical of everything I did! They would stand there with their arms crossed and glare at my every move. They seemed to be the type of people that were just waiting and watching for a reason for a lawsuit. Sooooooooo critical. And so ungrateful. So many times I was on the verge of tears because I was so worried for her and was doing everything I could and yet there they were..... glaring at me. Always acting as if it weren't enough. A couple of times I just wanted to say to them "don't you know that when I go home today that I will be wearing her......she's in my skin today..... every cell of my being has been invested in her....she is part of me now..... and you don't even appreciate it or get it." And most of the time I wanted to say to them, "I know that you love her and that you want what's best for her, so why won't you just let her go?????"

AT WHAT POINT SHOULD HOPE TURN TO MERCY???

At what point should you take your eyes off of yourself and your wishes and turn them to the person who is actually doing the suffering??? I understand that you want her with you. I understand that you love her. I understand that your heart will break when she is gone. But when will you allow your hope turn to mercy and allow her to be in peace??? I know she doesn't want to be there. She just wants to go home.... in more ways than one. Before I left some of the family took me aside and thanked me for working so hard for them. Another took me aside and asked me for the truth.... "She's not going to get better is she?" And I had to look her in the eyes and say "no. probably not." And then we talked about hospice. I wonder if she'll be there tonight when I go in. As I was leaving for the day the one son who had given me the most trouble all night actually softened a little. It was a shift that would've probably only been perceptable to me.... but I felt it. Perhaps mercy is finally settling in.

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