It was a very late night, almost 10 p.m. I know I have to go because I might be late for my graveyard shift. We were assigned on the Critical Ward tonight that was why I was a bit wary to step out of my room and go to the hospital. I was a fourth year nursing student at that time and attendance was strict, especially with the new clinical instructor taking over. Well anyways, I took a deep breath ran out of my room and arrived in the hospital just barely on time. My duty mates have already formed their circle and I was the last one to join them. Pining my cap on my hair and securing my paraphernalia were complete I went to my C.I to have my attendance checked. We were assigned to different beds and to different patients. Unfortunately when you’re in a public hospital it’s usually crowded and you’re usually assigned to the most sick and most poor people in the community.
We chose our patients and we did our job getting the vital signs and making our nursing assessments. I took more time on one patient though, because in the room she was the youngest; she was probably eighteen years old. She looked really frail, she had sunken eyes evidence of being dehydrated, she had on oxygen mask on, and an IV line attached on her right hand. She was barely breathing and each breath she took her face winced from pain. I couldn’t take my eyes off from her because she reminds me so much of my younger sister. I can’t bear looking at her in pain what bothered me most was when I tried to take her vital signs. As I held the thermometer on my hand and reached for her arm she grabbed my hand and looked me straight in the eyes. She was begging while saying to me, “Please nurse take the pain away. It hurts so much I can’t take it any longer.”
I tried not to look at her because I know there was nothing I could do. I tried all the nursing interventions I know so I could alleviate her pain but it was fruitless because I know she was suffering internally. I tried to ask the nurse to help her but they haven’t done anything but ignored me completely by brushing me off and saying that they were busy. Her father and I waited beside her and he was trying to comfort her and at the same time wanting to shut her up from moaning. The pain of listening to each of her moans was etched so vividly on his face that almost I couldn’t take it also. But I have to be there; it was my obligation to do bedside care.
When the doctor’s rounds came I was relieved I thought they were going to give her something for the pain. But again I was disappointed when I heard the doctor telling the father that the only remedy the girl has is to have surgery to have her kidneys replaced because she was suffering from chronic renal failure. But the father refused because he can’t pay for the surgery. The doctor asked for medication from the father for the pain but the man couldn’t give him the medications that the doctor’s prescribed because he doesn’t have enough money to buy them. The doctor left then and went to another patient.
The girl was suffering all night. At 1 a.m. I left the girl’s side and went to the nurse’s station and did my charting. I was busy writing when suddenly I saw the father of the girl passed right by the station … he was walking aimlessly towards the exit. I was a bit curious about it so I decided to take a look at his daughter. That’s when I found out from the nurses that she had died. They said that it was expected of course because she did have a chronic illness. Then seeing the father and seeing the dying body laying on the bed I couldn’t help but think, “Where’s mercy?” Nobody seemed to feel for the two of them. Everyone seems to think that dying is just a business deal. Nobody seemed to feel for the father who’s probably beating his fist outside after watching his daughter die.
Maybe that’s just it—maybe that’s what they call professionalism. To be cold and to be detached or maybe their just all used to seeing people die and just say, “It’s expected.” Maybe that’s probably it. Maybe her death is mercy at least now she doesn’t feel pain. At least now she’s alright but I just couldn’t help but think of the people she had left behind. Looking at her lying white as a sheet on the bed linens all I could think of was such a waste for someone to die so young. It makes me value life more from then on.