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It has taken me a bit to answer and I apologize! I really wanted to think on this question. I have spent the majority of my nursing career going into homes! All kinds of homes! I have been in homes for home health and also for hospice! As I look back, there were so many things that happened, that made me want to LEAVE IMMEDIATELY! I never did. I tried my best to remain calm and direct everyone to a good conclusion, while ATTEMPTING to remain professional!! Some are scary, some are funny, some are sad. I’ll share a few!
I became a home health nurse after 2 years in a free-standing dialysis clinic. I was WOEFULLY unprepared!!
My little tiny lady was in an OLD home with a big front porch so common in the South. I entered and began my physical assessment of her while I asked questions at the same time. The ONLY thing I remember is the ENORMOUS RAT who came out of a lower cupboard in the kitchen! He AMBLED from the cupboard, (which I was facing, and SHE had her back to,) over to the stove!! It happened right in the middle of my taking her blood pressure!! The rat continued to amble all around the kitchen floor, while I finished my assessment of her and went over medications! I was able to remain calm and finish, though I do not know how!! I probably hyperventilated in my car for some time after THAT visit!!
Another time, I was a hospice nurse at this point, I was RN on-call. I was called to a patient who was actively dying. By the time I got there , 911 had been called, and the Coroner!! (Just FYI, the Coroner does not have to attend a death of a hospice patient- we simply call report to him/her when it happens-and 911 should not be called either!) The patient, a large woman, had been dragged out of bed, for CPR to be performed. It was not successful. So my poor dead patient, lay on the floor, in a shortie nightgown, 1/2 in the bedroom and 1/2 in the kitchen!! There were easily 20 people inside the house and 30 outside in the yard! The weeping and wailing from both factions made it almost impossible for me to do my job!! I called my Social Worker and my Chaplain on-call !! I told them STAT!! While I was doing paperwork and destroying meds, someone in the yard began screaming for help!! I dropped everything and ran out to find a pregnant mother had fainted In the grass! I directed!! Get cold water and a cloth! Get 2–4 pillows (to elevate head and feet)! Once handled, I was back to my patient, but, this very emotional family had lost their Matriarch!! The mourning begins at the death and continues until burial!! The first few hours of loss are highly emotional! The family needs hospice presence at this time-almost most of all! Wow!! What an indoctrination into the loss of a beloved Matriarch of a black family in the Deep South!! I was so very humbled by this entire experience.
One more, for the record! A very sweet patient, tiny and desperately thin, was actively dying. Her boyfriend took excellent care of her! He was tender, loving, attentive to ALL her needs,(changing diapers, bed baths, changing the bed with the patient IN IT, to spoon feeding her!). When she passed, he was chased out of the house by two daughters, who had never been seen during her entire bout with Cancer!! They had guns!! He was prepared, I was not!! It was a horrible and hateful moment.
Thats just a touch of circumstances that I’m thinking only a nurse could go through and try to maintain professionalism!! Any other time,……Id be screaming Blue Bloody Murder!!😢
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