Daily Live Education Of Nurses

When he learned his prognosis, he and his wife talked about how to proceed. She was a year’s credit short of a teaching degree. He told her to go back to school and complete the degree so she could support the children. She did. In fact, she started teaching even before he died.

I remember thinking it was unbelievable that a couple could be so close and know each other so well that they could plan for death. It was a real sharing of adults. In my experience, that is rare. From what I’ve seen and read, families in similar situations are rarely that open with each other.

Ted was very realistic. He accepted the fact that he was going to die, he made his plans, and he made the best of the time he had. His major aim before he died was to turn the family’s attic into a room for their son. Apparently the children had been sharing a bedroom. Ted told everybody about his plans for the attic, told us all about the colors he was using—red and blue—and kept us posted on the progress. He worked on the attic between admis­sions to the hospital. By the time he died, the room was finished.

I became interested in death a few years after Elisabeth Kubler-Ross’s book On Death and Dying was published. Since few of my friends were interested in the subject, and I didn’t have anybody to talk to, I started reading books. Kubler-Ross was the pioneer. Her book was the one everybody was talking about. It was the first book on the subject I ever read.

I reacted to it very negatively. What the author said about the five stages people go through as they gradually come to accept death seemed dogmatic to me. Although I hadn’t had that much experience with dying patients, the experience I had had didn’t bear out what Kubler-Ross was saying. I thought, “Does everybody really go through those five stages? Why can’t I accept that? Maybe I’m blocking something.”

Then I read some more, and I started talking to people. I soon realized that there’s disagreement about the existence of five stages. In later articles Kubler-Ross herself wrote that everyone doesn’t necessarily go through all five. Some people get to one and never go any further. Some people never accept dying. Some stay angry. Reading these things, I began to see that I wasn’t crazy. Later articles I have read of Kubler-Ross’s have been very nice. Comforting and really beautiful.

A Day to Day Story Of A LPN Nurse

But I remember thinking often, “My god, he’s such a good-looking man.”

Because of the kids, there were times when Ted’s wife couldn’t get in to visit. He would be really lonely. I’d stay late and go back into his room and sit and talk and watch TV with him. A few times I sat there while he slept. Because of the temps and the sweating, he would wear just his pajama bottoms. Light from build­ings across the street would come in through the windows and flash across the bed. I remember sitting there thinking, “What a waste of a body. He is so attractive.’

A lot of his attractiveness was because of his mind. Ted was a very deep person. He didn’t just talk about himself. He would sit and listen to what other people had to say. He wasn’t always jovial. Sometimes he would break down. But I really admired him for being able to deal as much as he did with what was happening.

Apparently he was well liked, because all the people in his office donated blood platelets and frequently came to see him and bring him things. One whole wall of his room was covered with cards that his wife had pasted up. He’d say, “I’m so lucky to have so many friends. My life may have been horrible in some respects, but I’ll never forget the wonderful people I’ve met. Men at work I hardly know, coming in and giving platelets.”

Or when he felt well enough, he would go out on a pass and get a hamburger and milkshake with his wife. He was on harsh chemotherapy regimes which made him very nauseated,. When he would come back from a pass, he’d be plugged into the chemotherapy again and throw up everything he had eaten. “Doesn’t taste so good coming up,” he’d say, “but it was worth every bit of it because it tasted so good going down!

Knowing Ted showed me that a nurse could get close to a patient and learn a lot. There was a strong emotional bond between us, stronger than I had had with any other patient. I can say that I really loved him. He had a horrible death. I was very, very upset when he died. I cried for a long time and felt a real sense of loss. But what I remember most now is caring about him. I learned that a sense of loss does not last forever.

I also learned from Ted that it’s possible to approach death in a