Posted by: janedb | April 13, 2013

The End of a Life

British nurse in nurses' station.

British nurse in nurses’ station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

As I have explained in previous posts January was a dark month for me in hospital. I had survived a week in a side room by reading and was now on a bay on the main ward. Although I was happy to be where I was now, what disturbed me was how the lady opposite had got sicker since she first arrived after I was admitted on the 27th December.

When she had been admitted she was walking around the ward better than I was, and was independent. Now she was sat in a chair, could not sleep and could hardly walk. To watch a person’s decline is horrendous. The poor lady developed a nose bleed which would not stop, she was offered a platelet transfer transfusion but refused. They offered her a side room but she did not want to be moved, I think she knew what was happening.

By the end of the week they had decided that there was nothing more to be done, unfortunately although the curtains were round I heard the conversation they had with her and her husband. It was not something I would ever wish to hear. There were arrangements made to try to get her home for her last days. my children were in visiting on the Sunday when my eldest and I witnessed her passing. Her curtains were shut round her. Then the rest of the wards curtains were shut whilst she was moved to a side room. After her family had visited the wards curtains again were closed whilst her body was removed to the morgue.

To witness someones slow death was something I will not forget and shook my son up. It affected him, so that I went through a difficult time with him, I think he was worried that might be me.

The bright thing about being on the ward was that I was able to talk to the ward staff whilst they went about their work. All the staff are very friendly and enjoy a chat. I believe in treating everyone the same regardless of their position. Talking about anything helps you to forget and have access to the world outside of the ward. At this point I was still confined to the ward itself.

I was still in pain and receiving IV antibiotics. The pain was getting worse as the diarrhea had not stopped, and the ulcer was growing and getting very sore. My blood was not as it should be so it was decided to wait before anything was done.

There were times of fun, being given a ride when the bed space was cleaned. The bed sides were put up, the bed was put to its highest position and your bed was moved into the middle of the bay. It gave a different view of the ward and out of the window. I also moved across from my bed space to where the lady had passed away as a sick patient needed to be in my space which could be seen from the nurses station. It was funny just to walk from one side to the other.  I asked for the chair to be changed as I did not want to sit in the chair where she had died.

I had to push what had happened out of my mind so I could sleep. The young woman who was moved into my space looked like a space man due to the oxygen tent that she was wearing on her head. She required the constant attention  of a nurse and nursing assistant. Later that night she was moved to intensive care.

I have some amazing friends but after what I had been through in October I decided I did not want anyone other than my family to see me at my worst. I know it is because I am a control freak and I know it is something I have got to stop. They asked many times to see me but I could not handle them seeing me as I was, no hair and swollen eyes. I know it would not have mattered to them, but I do not like sharing when I am feeling depressed. Being with someone in that state does not bother me, but I want to hide when I am in a black cloud.

There was a silver cloud on the horizon.


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