Confessions Of Hospice Nurses Part 2 (G-uno)

The weirdest thing about being in a room with someone who is dying is that feeling that they are more in that room than they have ever been in any room before. The second weirdest thing is realizing that there are only a few other people who completely get that concept. There is an unexplainable kind of energy that affects everyone in a distinctively different way. I always find myself wondering if the person who is dying uses the interactions of the other people who enter the room as a sort of distraction from the intense work of separating themselves from this life. Almost like live reality television.
Some people are like Nurse “D,” who has been a Hospice nurse for many years. She is fully aware of Ellie May Clampet’s existence in the room, but only speaks to her if she performing some nursing practice on her. I think this is her way of remaining objective during the process. Nurse “D” is one of the batshit crazy nurses. Highly religious hands held in the air praying type, who speaks in a loud thunderous voice. Her confession began by first asking me how long I had been married. She, and her husband have been married 5 years less than we have.
As I bathed Ellie May Clampet, she began telling us her story. She was unhappy in her marriage. Her husband is a cold man, who shows her no affection. She attributes his coldness to a distant relationship he shares with his mother. He hasn’t physically touched her in years. Everyday is the same for them. They wake up, go to work, come home, and he eats his dinner in front of the television. Every day she attempts to have a conversation with him which always ends in a heated argument with him throwing his dinner away, and walking out. She has been reaching out to the men in her church about this, and one of them has reached back. As she continues her story I see that she is no longer really speaking to us, but to herself outloud. She was trying to avoid taking responsibility for her affair by saying that the Godly thing to do was to stay in the marriage. I knew she was trying to convince herself, because the idea of ending things was more than she could face.
Nurse “M” unlike Nurse “D”was a much happier person. She had been happily married since high school, and had raised 6 children. She told me with 6 kids in the house she and her husband had become quite creative in their love making. On one occasion they told their children they were going to clean out the basement, knowing none of them would venture down the stairs for fear of being recruited to help out with the cleaning. Feeling quite adventurous she threw in a load of laundry, and then her husband threw her on top of the washing machine. In her words I quote “As he was cleaning my laundry our youngest wandered downstairs with my in-laws catching us in full cycle!” She looked up after hearing her MIL scream while covering the eyes of her son. Now Nurse “M” was laughing so hard she could barely tell me that this was one of the best things that had ever happened to them, because her in-laws never came over again uninvited.
Nurse “H” a sassy little number from N.J. was not the sitting type. He insisted on helping me with Ellie May’s bath & linen changing. Like myself he seem to be aware of how much Ellie May was in the room. His confession was directed to us both. He started out by telling us how he ended up being a Hospice nurse. His mother had colon cancer, but by the time it had been diagnosed it was too late. She had been placed under Hospice’s care while remaining in her home. Nurse “H” was in his early teens when this occurred. He played a large role in caring for his mother in her final days, and knew in his heart that he would someday work for Hospice. His way of honoring his mother. He spoke with Ellie May in the gentle way a son would speak to his own mother. He also had hopes of communicating with those who had already passed on from this life. Although he did not directly say it to us I understood he was holding on to the hope of one last conversation with his mom.
Ellie May’s family wander in, and out of her tiny room. Most are unable to directly interact with her. For those members just being in the room conjures up painful thoughts of how she may be feeling. Believing that she is consciously there makes her condition unbearable. Then there are a couple who believe like Nurse “H” & I do. We feel her presence, and continue to speak to her in the same way we would if she were completely conscious. Energy is a powerful thing so irregardless of how a person chooses to be present for someone, the important thing is that you are there. As for those of you who are worried about what is occurring when you can not be present I can honestly tell you that for the most part your loved one is being well entertained with some pretty interesting confessions. πŸ˜‰

 

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  1. #1 by Rita on January 16, 2016 - 3:35 am

    This is magnificent, thank you. I have had two separate experiences with hospice. One with my MIL and the other my beloved Aunt. Both times I was amazed (and with my MIL was overwhelmed) by the increased energy both of these women transferred to me in the last few moments of their existence on this planet.

    It may sound crazy to others but I witnessed it and was forever changed by being present as they exited. I was holding my MIL’s hand and the power that surged from her to me in the seconds before she drew her last breath was transformative. It was as if she was blessing me.

    My Aunt opened her eyes after days of coma to tell me she would see me on the other side and then passed away.

    Thank you for the work you do. I honor you.

    • #2 by idioglossiablog on January 16, 2016 - 4:53 pm

      Rita I have both seen, and heard things that I could not prove, or explain. I believe it has something to do with energy at a really high level. It would be my first question to the Universe. πŸ˜‰ Thank you for your kindness. I’m not sure how Hospice nurses, or Pediatric nurses do what they do day in & day out. I honor all nurses who are are nursing for the right reasons. I am just a personal assistant. The emotional energy overwhelms me, but if I am with you in the beginning I will stay with you to the end. πŸ˜‰ Huge hug for you.
      G-uno

      • #3 by Rita on January 17, 2016 - 5:26 am

        It’s the most magnificent experience of my life to have been present – physically and emotionally connected to people I love as they transition out of this life. I find it the most amazing thing really. Our first son died as a baby and I rocked him out.

        I truly believe there is an honor in dying that we don’t really understand on this planet. I know I don’t but I have felt it’s power and I lost the fear of it by staying right there in the middle of it.

        You are not JUST anything – you are right there in the middle of the love exchange between human beings. That’s an honorable thing my friend.

        Hug right back.

        • #4 by idioglossiablog on January 17, 2016 - 1:58 pm

          Rita you are an amazing warrior in this life. I agree with you, there is nothing to fear, and I have always considered it a honor as well. I cannot imagine the amount of strength it took to be with your son, but I also cannot imagine anything more comforting than to be wrapped in the loving arms of my mother. I honor you my friend. ox G-uno

          • #5 by Rita on January 17, 2016 - 2:04 pm

            We are an amazing species indeed! Capable of such love or horror- I choose the love.

  2. #6 by robertmgoldstein on January 17, 2016 - 10:44 pm

    This is an excellent post. I’ve read that the last sense to go is hearing; so even if someone appears unconscious they can hear everything that’s said. I do know what you mean when you describe the
    dying person as more present in the room than in any other room in their lives. One of my favorite films is Jacob’s Ladder. Jacob is dying but doesn’t know it–he thinks he’s in New York but he’s really on a stretcher in Viet Nam. Everywhere he goes in his vision of New York he sees demons.

    Eventually he realizes that he is dying and when he let’s go he realizes that the demons are really angels that have come to take him home.

    It’s an amazing insight into death and how fear makes everything, including death, more difficult.

    Regarding Nurse D. If anyone deserved a slap for being in the wrong job it is she. πŸ™‚

    • #7 by idioglossiablog on January 18, 2016 - 8:31 pm

      Thank you so much. When I say that the dying person is more present in the room I am referring the concept that they are hypersensitive to everyone who enters the room. Things like voice, specific wording, energy, intentions, and touch. I also believe that it’s the one time where our presence escapes no visitor’s attention. I have not seen Jacob’s Ladder, but I will make it a point to see this movie. My “Jacob’s Ladder” would be the movie “Evening ” with Vanessa Redgrave, Claire Danes & Patrick Wilson.As for nurse “D” she is a completely injured soul. πŸ˜‰ Thank you again for your insight. I am absolutely honored by the depth of your perception. G-uno

      • #8 by robertmgoldstein on January 19, 2016 - 6:52 am

        Thank you for clarifying what you meant…I think you’re right…at some point in the process there must be a kind of hyper-aroused detachment; perhaps a combination of fear and anticipation.

        I remember that when AIDS really took hold and I was my most afraid I went to see a gay psychologist who had just been diagnosed with AIDS (he would be dead a month later)…

        I felt so odd when I found out because there I was still healthy and whining about my fear of death to a man who was facing it with certainty.

        He smiled at me and said: “Relax, we’re supposed to die, the brain is wired for it, it’s probably pleasant at the end even if getting there is a mess.”

        I’ve been thinking about that lately…

        Thank you for your replies and comments. They make me think.

        • #9 by idioglossiablog on January 21, 2016 - 1:45 pm

          Your very thoughtful, and cerebral! I enjoy our exchanges too. I always learn something from you. That was a really deep encounter. Perspective is everything. I have spent a great deal of time with people who were in the dying process, and I am always so amazed by the way they process. We truly are wired for death. Just as in life we all seem to take a very individual approach. I plan to watch Jacob’s Ladder this weekend. Thank you again. G-uno

          • #10 by robertmgoldstein on January 22, 2016 - 5:18 am

            I think that I correspond with some of the finest bloggers on WordPress…I truly do…

  3. #11 by Cooking For The Time Challenged on April 6, 2016 - 7:04 pm

    Beautiful and moving post. I see hospice work as reverse midwifery. Just as the midwife catches the baby as she enters the world, in hospice work, I feel I am assisting the soul as it transitions into the next world. It is a privilege and deeply spiritual work that I am so grateful to be a part of.

    • #12 by idioglossiablog on April 8, 2016 - 10:54 am

      Thank you so much. Your right it is an extreme privilege. I am always in awe of how very uniquely each soul crosses, and the lessons I learn as we approach their transition. Thank you for your spiritual services, what you do is beyond value to those you help. G-uno

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