I lost my first patient this morning. I can't talk about her here, of course, but I wanted to mention her because she dramatically affected me.. and I hope I benefited her in her last hours.
She was a very sick woman, she had suffered a long time. Her mind was still crystal clear. And while everybody knew the end was near, nobody realized it was just so close. It caught up with her on my shift. I offered her Roxanol many times, and just as many times she refused. She wanted to wait for it, until "the last thing tonight".
They warn us in school, you know, that "sooner or later, you will inevitably give that last dose of pain medication." I checked on her every thirty minutes. More frequently, less. I gave her her final dose of Roxanol. I like to think that it eased her way out, for in a short time, she was gone. I opened a window.
To my First Patient,
The last time we spoke, I placed the call light directly beneath the fingers of your left hand, and told you that if you needed "anything, anything at all.. Call me." You looked up at me, smiled - that same smile you gave me when I told you I was your nurse again tonight - and you said, "thank you".
You, First Patient, are very, very welcome.