Checked in on a patient before the end of my shift and she was in good spirits, had been joking with me the whole time. Her condition was tenuous (new trach) but she had been positive throughout. I asked how she was doing and she replied by singing “The old gray mare ain’t what she used to be” and wished me a good night.
I came in the next morning and she had coded and died overnight.
Came into an early shift and was handed over a patient who’d been very anxious and had a panic attack overnight. He was anxious all morning but obs all fine, ecg fine and so I just asked someone to sit with him to keep an eye on him/reassure him for me. He gets worse, really panicky, heavy breathing, he’s on his side in the foetal position.
Drs will be in in 10 minutes so I tell him I’ll get them to him as soon as they come in but ask if he’ll lie on his back for me to help his breathing. He tells me he won’t make it until they get here and that he won’t face the other way. Obs still all fine at this point but he’s more agitated so again I suggest he move position for comfort and that’s when he says, ‘I won’t make it until the Drs get here. If I turn to face the other way I’ll die’. He repeated this a few times to me.
He arrested literally as the Drs walked in and he died on the side he’d been refusing to turn to. I’m convinced he knew.
I’m an apprentice funeral director. We went to a nursing home on a removal and as we were walking down the hall one of the patients got antsy and opened the door to his room and saw us walking with the stretcher.
“I’ll see you next week boys”
And guess who we had to pick up the next week.
I found one of my “comfort measures only” patients standing at the side of his bed. It surprised me because he had been mostly unresponsive during my shift. I helped him back into bed and he asked me why all these people were in his room.
He suddenly became quiet again and I noticed he wasn’t breathing. He was a DNR so there wasn’t anything to do to try to bring him back. Looking back he may have been talking about me and the CNA that was helping me get him back into bed, but who knows what or who he was seeing the last minutes of his life. Still creeps me out a little when I think about it.