The human life is made up of choices. Yes or No? In or Out? Up or Down? And then there are the choices that matter. Love or Hate? To be a hero or To be a coward? Fight or Give in? Live or Die? That is the important choice.
But it's not always in your hands...
-grey's anatomy, season 6 episode 24
When I was still a student, we were taught how to deal with dying people. How we could provide emotional support to the patient and to his family. How we can ease their sadness and help them cope with the pain they're going through. We were taught a lot of things to guide them through the stages of death and dying...
5 stages of death and dying
- Denial—"I feel fine."; "This can't be happening, not to me."
Denial is usually only a temporary defense for the individual. This feeling is generally replaced with heightened awareness of positions and individuals that will be left behind after death.
- Anger—"Why me? It's not fair!"; "How can this happen to me?"; "Who is to blame?"
Once in the second stage, the individual recognizes that denial cannot continue. Because of anger, the person is very difficult to care for due to misplaced feelings of rage and envy. Any individual that symbolizes life or energy is subject to projected resentment and jealousy.
- Bargaining—"Just let me live to see my children graduate."; "I'll do anything for a few more years."; "I will give my life savings if..."
The third stage involves the hope that the individual can somehow postpone or delay death. Usually, the negotiation for an extended life is made with a higher power in exchange for a reformed lifestyle. Psychologically, the individual is saying, "I understand I will die, but if I could just have more time..."
- Depression—"I'm so sad, why bother with anything?"; "I'm going to die... What's the point?"; "I miss my loved one, why go on?"
During the fourth stage, the dying person begins to understand the certainty of death. Because of this, the individual may become silent, refuse visitors and spend much of the time crying and grieving. This process allows the dying person to disconnect oneself from things of love and affection. It is not recommended to attempt to cheer up an individual who is in this stage. It is an important time for grieving that must be processed.
- Acceptance—"It's going to be okay."; "I can't fight it, I may as well prepare for it."
In this last stage, the individual begins to come to terms with his mortality or that of his loved one.
However, no matter how knowledgeable you are about those things, it's not so easy to apply them in real life.
WHEN HOPE IS THE ONLY THING A DYING PATIENT HAS
There is this man who was diagnosed to have liver cancer, stage IV, with metastases on lungs and brain. The family knows he won't live long, but refuse to tell the patient the truth about his condition. They say it was his request... The doctor allowed the family to bring him home so he can be with them for the remaining days of his life. The problem is, the patient doesn't want to go home because he says, "di pa ko nakakakain e, dito muna ko sa ospital..."
He was full of hopes that one day, he'll get better and will be able to regain his life. He complies to all our instructions and takes his medications on time. It makes me teary-eyed whenever I see him in pain. He is fighting his disease. And we don't have any rights to tell him that, "sir it's okei...you may rest now..." We can't take away that little hope he has. That's the only thing he's got...
He deteriorates as days pass by. We can no longer ease the pain he feels. Medications seem to have no effect at all. Still, he hopes... and he keeps on holding on... :c
Until one day, I noticed that the room he occupies is empty. I thought he was brought home by his relatives. I was wrong... The nurses assigned to take care of him said he died already...
As I type these words, I'm trying to hold my tears. This is what I hate most about being a nurse; I always see how people struggle for their life, and then fail.
Rest in peace, Mr...
With God I know you are safe...