Today was a challenging day. There is a dying process that most people follow In a general sense. However, some people really surprise us. Today I was shocked. One of my patients who I had since I started working with hospice 3 months ago passed suddenly. We knew he was declining, but he didn’t follow the expected process.
Most people don’t go from eating breakfast one minute to passing away in their sleep the next hour. This happened today. So even though we expect people to die in our profession we are taken aback when it’s out of the ordinary.
I noticed something else about myself, it’s much harder when I have known the patient and their family for a longer period of time.
This particular patient was from Scotland and he was a gentleman. He would take my hand and kiss it before I left each time I saw him.
I believe we miss out on a lot of laughs if we don’t laugh at ourselves, so I will share a funny embarrassing moment for me with this patient. I was at his house for a visit and suddenly my milk of magnesia started working. I had to go NOW or I would have had an accident.
There is an unspoken rule, you don’t go to the bathroom at your patients house. Especially not number 2! Well I was forced to either do it in my pants or their bathroom. I ran to their bathroom, the wife was on the phone at the time, so I couldn’t ask for permission.
I turned the fan on, and found some toilet bowl cleaner to line the toilet with fresh smelling bleach. I thought I had covered up well and wouldn’t even have to mention it. However, to my horror, as I exited the bathroom, here comes my patient shuffling with his walker towards the bathroom I’m coming out of!! Oh my goodness I was horrified.
The wife was walking with him as he is shuffling very slowly to the bathroom and here I am coming out of his bathroom, which is now quite odorous!
Of course I didn’t want them to think that I had just taken a leisurely dump in their toilet. So I explained to the wife that I had to go really bad and I’m sorry I had to go in their bathroom.
The literal Pearl in this poop was that after that she opened up to me more, I think she realized my poop does stink and I’m pretty down to earth.
So it was this wife that I had the privilege of supporting today in her grief and I think I had a better repoire with her after that embarrassing incident, which allowed me to be a better support over the last weeks.
So hey there is always a Pearl in the poop. Sometimes you just have to show your human too.