Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Heart Strings Pulled Big Time

Today at work I had a patient that broke my heart. That's part of the job I know and I've dealt with the good and the bad as a Nurse for 7 years now. However I never want to be one of those nurses that becomes cold or immune to feelings. So today I had a 40 year old gentleman that came in with classic "red flag" symptoms. He had 16 pound weight loss, blood in stools, abdominal pains, night sweats, however only for the past 2 weeks.

Immediately upon discovering his symptoms he went to the Emergency Room and was evaluated. They did an abdominal CT scan and saw a suspicious area of the liver. Upon having a liver biopsy it was discovered that he had cancer of the liver :( So he came in today for his colonoscopy to discover or rule out the primary cancerous site. Normally Colon Cancer will spread to the Liver first. He was expecting cancer, and I think we all were, but it's never easy to officially hear it.

While he was my patient I was doing his primary assessment and prepping him for surgery. You could just see the fear in his eyes and the look on his face. Yet the entire time he was nothing short of polite and kind. It ripped my heart out. He had no prior medical history, just this new onset unfortunately.

Us Nurses were deep in coversation and the tech came out of the procedure room and we just knew and all went silent :( It was confirmed that he "was really bad." The rest of the day the moral was just awful at work, and you could just feel it in the air. His prognosis isn't good at all and he needs aggressive treatment immediately.

I'm way too deep of a thinker at times and I know it. However today I couldn't help but just watch him and his wife in the surgical discharge area just sitting there together awaiting their fate. It was awful. Can you imagine what that must be like to prepare yourself to be told you probably only have a few months to live? It upset us and I haven't been able to get him off of my mind all night long. As his nurse even, and I know that was a small part today, but I feel like I was kicked in the gut with him. Sadly, I deeply hurt for him and his family. He's just 40 years old :(

Things like this run in waves at work too. We'll go months without a serious problem, or prognosis. And wouldn't you know it that as soon as we said that it was going to start.....the very next patient that came out of surgery had colon cancer too!! :(

It was that kind of day at work where your heart really hurts when you leave for the day. I just think to myself what are my poor patients doing tonight while we go on with our "normal" lives?
I know everyone has their daily tackles of life, and we have many many with CF. However tonight I have a heavy heart. I called Scott earlier just to vent and get it out. He gave me some of my own advice. Know that I did my best and was the best nurse to him which I was. Also he said to let this continue to drive me to fight and work hard at my own health everyday....

It's true no matter how cliche' it just never know! Appreciate each day, because tomorrow could be a different story. This Nurse definitely had the heart strings pulled very hard today....


Sonja said...

You are a wonderful nurse. Just the kind that I would want taking care of me. You definitely found your calling in nursing. I'm sure there are days when it is overwhelmingly sad though.

Katey said...

Definitely a heart string puller kind of story! I can't imagine the feelings when you come across/meet people like that while being a nurse! I'm sure you are an awesome nurse and your patients can tell you really care about them!

It does make us step back and think about things like that...having only a short while to live, etc.