Thursday, 26 July 2018

Today I would rather be here, wandering along the beach, listening to the sound of the waves gently touching the sand.  It's been a tough week.  We have long term patients at work, many patient's I've known for years.  One of my favorite patients came in this week for a scan.  I've known her for five years.  She has a wonderful smile and laugh.  She loves life, especially spending time with her grandchildren.

She was looking and feeling awful when she came in so she ended up on a stretcher.  We joked a bit, I got her a blanket and then she said she thought she was almost done which made both of us cry.  She's only sixty years old and she's had cancer for the past five years.  She has a seven month old grandson who won't remember her.  I suggested she leave a letter for him but she said no, she wanted her other grandchildren to tell him about her.  When she left I gave her a big hug and I thought about how much I hate cancer.

Yesterday I found out another one of my favorite patients has opted for assisted suicide on Saturday.  Fortunately I was in a stairwell when I was told this so I could cry in peace.  This patient is a man who is only a year younger than me;  he has a three year old daughter.  He's kind and gentle and just such a lovely person.  He's been coming to us for awhile as well and now he's an inpatient nearing the end.  Today he came down to us to have his central line checked because somebody thought it might be leaking.  He was pretty well medicated, maybe even a little high, but not in pain.  I overheard him explaining to the x-ray tech that he was going for MAID, medical assistance in dying, on Saturday so we just needed to make sure the line was working.  He told the doc too.

Yesterday when we took him upstairs on his stretcher he was singing.  Today I told him that it was a honour to take care of him and that I was so glad I had the chance to meet him.  He said, "I'm so glad we met too Sherry."  I smiled and didn't tell him that wasn't my name.  I'm okay being Sherry for him.  He made me smile and I will raise a glass of wine to his memory when I go out for supper on Saturday.

Today a young man paralyzed from his tumor pressing on his spine came back to us;  he was with us last fall for months.  He was a huge guy, six foot five, three hundred pounds.  It always took five of us to move him from the stretcher to the table.  He's lost almost a hundred pounds, the cancer has spread to his brain.  He doesn't have much time left.  His daughter is sixteen months old now and walking;  last fall she was still a baby.  She won't remember her daddy.

There are more.  People getting sicker, new patients taking the place of those who have gone.  A never ending carousal of cancer.

I will spend the weekend working in my garden, digging up weeds, mulching, moving plants, digging in the dirt.  We're going out with friends for supper on Saturday.  I will walk the dog.  I will try to remember to be thankful for the time I have here.


  1. Oh, LC. Your job. Your feelings are your greatest asset and greatest curse. We need nurses like you in the health care field. It is people like you that help us relax or laugh. It is nurses like you who give us patients excellent care that makes us feel safe. And it’s nurses like you that go home and ache for their patients. Sadly, it is nurses like you that get depressed and deal with a form of PTSD.
    No words of wisdom. Or how about, Life can really fucking suck when your an Empath.
    Just sending you a huge hug!

  2. I don't know how you do the job you do. Sometimes I find it hard to read your posts but to go through what you do on a daily basis makes you a very brave person.

  3. That is just so fucking brutal. You are witnessing and holding so much. Take care.

  4. Like the other commentors, I applaud the work you do. To be a witness for the dying is a special kind of work not many of us can handle. I am so thankful there are people like you in the world and hope that you get the R & R necessary to continue it.

  5. So much pain and heartache! You are an angel to help people who need it the most.

  6. One of the most rewarding and saddest work I ever did was my stint with terminally ill patients at the VA. How much harder when they are young. Your patients are lucky to have you.

    I'm not sure where you are that medially assisted suicide is legal, but it should be an option everywhere. And a pox on the suckage that is cancer.

  7. So moving. What a lot of sorrow comes with your job. -Kate

  8. It takes a very special human to do the work you do. I am so grateful for you.