[photo from here]
One of my patient's died the other night. The death was an expected death, because he was really really old and had a bunch of complications and wouldn't survive surgery, but still it hit me hard. I have never been there when someone died. I was in the room one minute with him and the next minute the family was calling me back in telling me he just stopped breathing. I cried in privacy, so I could appear strong in front of the family, but boy was that rough. Thankfully my co workers were uber supportive and they guided me through the process, the emotional process... and the paperwork.
When I look back on the event and actually think about the family and the life my patient had lived... it actually brings happiness to me. This man lived to be almost 100 years old. The stories the family told me about him made me wish I had the opportunity to know the real man, not the dying person in the hospital that I had come to know. I just really want to make sure that I live life in a way that when I am in a death bed, people are smiling and laughing at all the good memories I have bestowed upon their lives. I hope that people will never stop saying, "Remember the time when Rachelle... [insert incredibly awesome, hilarious, and fun story here]".
It is so easy to get caught up in the hustle and bustle of this crazy world. There are some days when all I can think about is the next time I get to go party in the city... or the next time I get to see my boyfriend... or the next thing I want to purchase on ebay just because I feel like it. I wish I took more time to think about the big picture. I really should just tattoo on my forehead "live as if you will die tomorrow", because as a nurse I should know that this really is a possibility for anyone. People die all the time at unexpected moments.
The other reason I am posting about this is because... people need to stop pitying old people. I was at the library with my friend Amanda yesterday and there were quite a few old people there. She said old people make her sad. I guess, before I started working as a nurse old people made me sad, too. It was sad to think that they are closer to dying; they always appeared to be suffering somehow and their wrinkles just made them look sad. Now that I encounter old people all the time, I really do not feel sad for them. That is NOT what they want. Old people don't want others to feel sorry for them. They want to be respected, celebrated, and they want to share their stories and knowledge that they have accumulated all these years. Old people are like walking history books. I sometimes sit down and just talk to my patients and ask them questions. They are seriously fascinating. As far as the wrinkles go...they earned them and should be darn proud of them!
I may be singing a different tune when I am 97, but as a 24 year old looking forward, I can truthfully say that I do not fear being old... I will be the best granny on the block!
... my current wrinkles are found on my toes, elbows, and hands.
... I owe the library $24 in overdue fines. I suck at returning rentals of any kind on time.
... I will not sleep from 10am to 4pm. I am a nocturnal mammal.