Conversation with a dying patient.

Mr. George was standing and looking out the window as I approached him I asked,
1 “How are you today? “The room became very quite and Mr. George just stood there looking out the window. Suddenly he turned an in a loud voice said, “Why do you care? I’m dying isn’t that enough?!”

I took a deep breath, as I moved closer to Mr. George and said,” Are you dying right this minute? We are all going to die sometime but often times, we never know how or when.”
Mr. George was very quite as he stood there looking down at his feet, then slowly he raised his head saying, ” This cancer is so painful and that is when I feel like I’m dying and I’m alone.”
He then stepped back from me and very sadly said,” Everyone that comes in here asks the same questions, but they never ask me how I feel or what they can do to make me feel more comfortable.”
I took a step closer to him and began to explain, “Not everyone is comfortable dealing with cancer patients and many are not comfortable with their own feelings to say anything. Please come and sit down beside me and tell me really how you feel?
On a scale from 1 – 10 where do you rate your pain?
How you rate your pain before being medicated lets me know which dose of pain medication to give you and after I will be able to evaluate its effectiveness.
Let’s also explore what you need to say to anyone who enters your room.”
Mr. George just stood there for a moment with tears in his eyes and sat down beside me. I asked again, “Please tell me how you feel? Where is the pain? What level is the pain?”
His voice broke as he cleared his throat with the tears running down his face.
He said, ”I’m in so much pain all over it’s a level 10 and I’m scared.”
I looked at him as I put my hand on his shoulder and said, “Mr. George, before you say another word let me get you some pain medication.”
He looked at me with much relief and said, “Okay.”
When I returned, I gave him the liquid medication with a sip of cranberry juice.
I sat down beside Mr. George and explained, “You can have this medication every two hours and sooner if needed just let me know”.
He looked back at me and said, “Thank you.”
I smiled and said, “Each time someone enters your room. Say to them If you can’t say anything to me at least say Hi!’ Tell them you need pain medication now. If you can do that, hopefully, it will make you feel less alone. I will let all my staff know if they pass by your door or see you, to say Hi. Can we try this?”
I continued, “Don’t be afraid to ask if someone would just come and sit with you. This our job to make you feel secure, pain-free and not alone. Do we have a plan?”

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