Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Dying badly

Some people do not die easy. It's difficult for me to deal with, because I want to "fix" whatever is wrong, whether it's pain or anxiety or shortness of breath or whatever. But sometimes, even with all of that having been looked at and taken care of pretty well, the person is still thrashing around. It's as if they are fighting so hard not to die, they are fighting against the medications I've used to help their symptoms. I try calming words, and presence, and sometimes touch, but sometimes nothing works. It's very frustrating. More than that, it's humbling. After all, I don't have to be perfect do I? Well maybe I think I do. When I have my successes, it's so easy to think it's because I'm so smart and good at what I do, when really the patient had a great deal to do with how they responded. People have to be receptive. I am always amazed when some people fight death to their literal last breath. It doesn't happen often, thank goodness, but it does happen. I leave them feeling totally wrung dry, emotionally drained, always wishing for the happy ending but taking some comfort in knowing that the person did it "their" way.

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