Wednesday, August 5, 2009

I See Dead People

I have a habit of finding dead people.

I mean, I work in a hospital and all so it's not like it's that unusual. I don't find them at the grocery store or hanging around my neighborhood or anything.

Because that would be weird.

Last week I found 2 people dead. One of the patients was alive when I first saw them. I assessed them (respiration's, pulse, breath sounds) and put them on a breathing treatment. I left the room to check on another patient and when I came back 10 minutes later....dead. He was a Do Not Resuscitate.

Another time I had a patient that I put on this machine we have called The Vest. It fits around the chest, inflates, and vibrates. The shaking will loosen any snot they have in their lungs so that the patient can then cough it up. I put my patient on it (who was still chatting with me, by the way) set the timer, and left the room. The patient was flipping through the channels on the TV. When I returned? Dead. Another DNR patient.

Once, while making my rounds first thing in the morning, I walked into my patient's room. The curtains were drawn and the patient was sleeping with the covers tucked up around her chin. Not wanting to wake her I started a nebulizer treatment gently placing it on her face. I then went to take her pulse. There wasn't one. I listened for breathing or a heart beat. None. She was dead. And getting part of a treatment. The best part? When I went to the nurses' station to tell them? They already knew. Usually they put a sign on the door letting us know not to go in the room. The bodies stay in their room until someone from the morgue can come and get them. These nurses were too lazy to put up a sign and were watching the reactions of the different people who were coming out. My coworkers? They are awesome.

It is the nature of my job to be around death. I try really hard not to take it personally. Especially when I have days like my day of 4 code blue's. Sometimes I feel like I'm a shit magnet. If you have an iffy patient who looks like they might code? Assign me that floor. Through no fault of my own, my mere presence on the floor will make them code.

Apparently I'm the Angel of Death. Or just REALLY unlucky.


readsalot said...

Yikes! I think after 4 code blues I would want to hide. Yup, hiding sounds good.

Mimi's Toes said...

Remind me if I end up in your hospital to come on your day off. LOL. I love your title of your post. I have always wanted to work at a funeral home, maybe that's why we have a strong connection. You have what it takes to do what you do. I can't believe they didn't even have the dead body's head covered up.

Robin said...

yikes. just yikes.

Jen said...

It sounds like it is just the nature of your job.

That would totally freak me out. I've never seen a dead body (other than at a viewing).

Heidi said...

I actually had a patient's family member call me "the angel of death" in front of my horrified mother in a Target.

I helped to tube her dad and then three weeks letter I pulled said tube to let the man die.

Heidi said...
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