Friday, October 31, 2008

I can't MAKE this stuff up, if I tried

I swear, people are all insane. I never used to think so. Then I became a nurse. Still, then I didn't think everyone was insane. Then I became a nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. Now, I am empathetic. I am, trust me. Family members are under great stress there and it is for lack of a better word, intense. But really people can be totally off their nut sometimes.

We had a patient that we were going to "terminally wean", which means we withdraw the medications and ventilator that are sustaining life, knowing pretty much that this will end the person's life. Some people die every quickly, some it takes days or weeks. But the point of it is that the person is too far gone, too sick and the end is imminent and we are not going to prolong that pain anymore. Sadly, where I work, it happens pretty much several times a week.

So anyway, we withdraw the vent from this patient and the relative of the patient calls up to check his/her status. Note: she did not COME IN to see her family member, but called. When we told her that her family member was going to be moved to a non-acute bed due to wait for a Hospice placement, she got MAD. And asked us if we were sure we knew what we were doing there because we were suppose to "unplug" him and he was SUPPOSE TO DIE RIGHT AWAY.

Seriously? You are mad because he was still alive? wow. just wow. I didn't know what to say. I gave her the new floor phone number and the room number.

Totally staggering.

This week I also overheard a family member say to the patient "I can't believe how much better you are doing! Last week we were picking out your coffin"

If you can't think of anything to say..please say nothing. Or talk about the weather. Or, God forbid..the election. That usually gets the blood a-pumping!

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