10. “You look like an angel.”
“I’m a nurse and was previously working at an assisted living community on the dementia/Alzheimer’s unit. My very favorite patient had been declining pretty steadily so I was checking on him very frequently. We would have long chats and joke around with each other, but in the last two weeks of his life, he stopped talking completely and didn’t really acknowledge conversation directed at him at all. I finished my medication rounds for the evening and went to see him before I left. I told him I was leaving for the night and that I’d see him the following day, and he looked me in the eyes and smiled SO genuinely and said, ‘You look like an angel.’ I thought it was so sweet because he had not seemed lucid in weeks. He died the next morning. It really messed with me.”
11. “Get home safe, little one.”
“‘Get home safe, little one.’ It wasn’t what he said—he said the same thing to me any time I had him as a patient for the evening. It was how he said it. He gave me this look and pause like he knew. The DNRs in my experience, always know when it’s time. It’s creepy.”
12. “Oh shit, oh shit, OH NOOOOOOO!!!!”
“Ugh. I was a hospice nurse for many years. Super gratifying job for a nurse, surprisingly. As a ‘regular’ nurse, you are rarely offered thanks. Hospice nursing is an island unto itself. Mostly peaceful, lots of times sad, often a blessing.
This is sad, but also creepy, and I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it. Had a 20-year-old kid, gang member, who was dying of primary liver cancer. Super unusual, aggressive, and terminal. He was angry at the universe. His family was there to comfort him, but he literally spit in their faces. Every ounce of energy he had left was angry and mean and ugly. His mom would beg him to lighten up and accept Jesus into his heart. He would swing at her and tell her to eff herself. The family remained bedside, in hopes he would chill out at the end.