I saw A again the other day. This time her husband was with her.
She didn't look well. She was tired and breathless. I could tell she hasn't been eating or sleeping well. She peppered the physician with questions. I'm not sure if he could answer them. Answers, she's looking for answers...
I did the usual, started her IV, sedated her for the procedure. I used half the medication that I did last time, and she slept through most of it. Then she stayed for an hour, sleeping. Her husband sat next to her, texting on his phone.
Eventually I took her out in wheelchair. Last time she walked.
I don't know what is in store for her. The word "terminal" is being tossed around. She is 46.
I hope I see her again. I hope I can take care of a few more times, make it easy for her for a few minutes.
Similarly, I took care of a woman in her early thirties before Christmas. She was terminally ill, but trying to hang on until the holiday for her children. I cared for her 3 weeks in a row. I gave her as much comfort as I could. I went up to my old unit to get her chapstick because her lips were so dry. I gave her warm blankets and let her sleep.
I dreamed about her one night. Her hair was shoulder length. She hugged me and thanked me for taking care of her. I found out that she died 3 days later. She didn't make it to Christmas. True story.
The moral? Be gentle with each person you come into contact with, you never know what their situation is, their energy level, their needs, their loneliness. Your smile may be the very thing that gives them hope for a day.