Thursday, February 24, 2005

The nurses knew

"I have to share your wonder at nurses who know when someone is going to die," says one e-mailer, in response to my Hospiblogging post. "Both of my grandmothers died while in some sort of nursing care (hospital and nursing home), and the nurses were actually the ones who alerted us that the end was near.

"While we were there on vigil, I also noticed that we were not disturbed by hospital staff at all -- they were there if we needed to speak with them, but I was surprised at how "out of the way" they remained for my family.

"My father went to ask one of the nurses how she knew, and she said after a while you just start to notice the signs. I guess (and I'm not a medical expert so obviously I can't say for sure) there are often few medically identifiable signs in such cases in terms of plummeting blood pressure, heart rate, etc. - indeed as in the case of my first grandmother to pass, she was in congestive heart failure for days, and was still being treated until she "took a turn for the worse", as the nurse told us when she called.

"Anyway, it's fascinating perceptability of nurses to see subtler signs of trouble, indeed trouble that's really untreatable, and alerting family members while they still have time to make their peace."

The nurses knew. They shared that knowledge, with sensitivity. Here's one family member who noticed, and is grateful...
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