A Little BackgroundIt had been a day since I'd left my assignment at a small, acute care facility in Lake Worth, Florida. I'd left a patient I'd been working with for a few weeks, who was now awaiting his son's arrival from another state before he transitioned from this plane to the next. This patient was one of my favorites (as it sometimes goes in nursing and in Life!). In nursing, you're given a set assignment of patients when you show up for your shift on any given day. If you're working 3 12-hour shifts in a row, you essentially (and hopefully) keep the same assignment for what is termed 'continuity of care'. It's always good to get to know your patient and establish a trusting, working rapport with each other.
Anyway, on this particular day, I was assigned to a wonderful patient whom I'd worked with previously. He was a joy to work with and even though he was non-verbal due to his labored breathing, his eyes and a brief nod or shake of his head always told me more than I needed to know to keep him comfortable and as stable as possible despite his precarious condition. His status had declined over the weeks and he was currently being treated with a 'palliative care' status, as his Life on this plane was coming to an end. No matter what, this patient always had a big, toothless grin for me when I entered his room. His lovely grin would light up his entire face and his Soul shone brightly through his azure eyes.
I cared for him as I would any other patient ~ with love, kindness, and compassion. This is something we learn over the years if we are truly nurses, as nurses are meant to be: We learn to put principles before personalities; which is to say, no matter what our personal judgments may be, we learn to love and care for each patient as though they were one of our loved ones, one of our own. There is no room in nursing for preferential treatment. Our patients are our patients: They are our responsibility, and are given over to our care and trust for the time we are with them. It is our responsibility to nurture them during our shift, but above all to RESPECT them while we are entrusted to caring for them. It really isn't our place to judge our patients, no matter what.
So, I left my patients that day with a bit of melancholy, as I felt in my heart that I wouldn't see my 'favorite' patient again after my 4 days off. I knew he was not long for this world, and I didn't want to begrudge him that, as he'd been struggling to breathe for way too long.
The next night I had a dream, of sorts, in which a bright and glowing entity hovered in front of me and I heard the words: "Thank you!" announced. That was it. That was all. I instantly opened my eyes, and a familiar knowing entered my consciousness. In that instant, I knew my patient had finally been released and was free from this world. When I returned to work the following week, I found out that he'd indeed passed and it was the very night that I'd dreamed he'd come to me whispering his thanks. It's interesting how those things happen.
If we're open to miracles, we see them happening all the time.
Until next time, my friends ~ Keep it REAL.
Blessings, Peace, and Love to All ~