Someone that I work with made me remember a patient I once had. She wasn’t very old, she had breast cancer, and was a nurse. This patient apparently took care of everyone but herself. The cancer was so bad that it was growing on the outside of her body. Then she fell a few days after we admitted her with a broken hip. She was in severe pain, on Hospice care. All she wanted in her last days was to see her daughter.
I called her daughter and she gave me an excuse of why she couldn’t come today. “I’ll be there tomorrow something has come up and I can’t make it today,” she would say. I called the next day and same story. “Oh, I’m working today it would have to be tomorrow.” I explained the importance of her coming, I didn’t think she had much time with us. For three days, this poor women who probably worked her whole life taking care of patient after patient, all she wanted was to see this daughter, who could take five minutes out of her day to say goodbye to her mother.
I sat with her even after my shift had ended for three days, held her hand, made sure she didn’t die alone in a strange place. On the third day she passed away, hospice came, called the funeral home. When the funeral home arrived, guess who decided to show up, yep the daughter. I’m assuming that hospice called her as it was her job to do.
I heard down the hall the hospice nurse say, “oh I wasn’t here when she expired the nursing home nurse was here, maybe you can ask her.” I had just finished my shift and was getting ready to clock out and go home. She walked up to me and said, “I understand that you were with her when she died,” I said, “yes I was” she said, “Did she say anything before she, you know?” I said, “yes she did.” Then I walked over to the time clock, clocked out, and left.
It was probably wrong of me, but this patient cried for her daughter during her last days and she made every excuse not to be there. She wasn’t on another continent she was down the street and didn’t come. I was Not going to comfort her. She was not my patient her mother was. I did comfort her mother the best I could and kept telling her that her daughter is coming, but she didn’t show. So, I felt no emotions for her comfort. I walked out the front door, got into my car, and drive home.