One of my favorite patients died on Saturday.
In my line of work and working in a nursing home, death often becomes simply another part of life, and at times, a blessed end to pain and suffering. In fact, it is not uncommon for rehab professionals to be among the ones patients choose to tell that they are ready to leave this earth, and for us to advocate for them to let their desires be known and discussed with the rest of the medical team and their family. It's just a part of helping them maintain as much dignity as possible in their final stages of life.
But this particular patient... this one I was not expecting. I saw her on Thursday, and I literally gasped when I entered the room. She looked terrible. And she knew something was gravely wrong. A quick discussion with nursing sparked a call to her doctor, and she was off to the hospital. She passed away on Saturday.
She was one of the first patients I had ever worked with at the home. She had not walked for a while, and I found a way for her to comfortably and confidently do so with assistance, and that was her main exercise for the 5 years I have worked there. She had pain that kept her up at night. I provided the modalities to relieve her neuropathy. I always made a point of speaking to her every time I saw her in passing, and I considered her one of my many friends at the home. I only wish I had the chance to say goodbye.
I will miss her terribly.