“I don’t want to die from this pneumonia!”
She was in her 80s. She was just fine the day before. She was totally alert and with it. She could walk and do everything on her own. She was so sweet and nice to me.
The next day those were the traumatizing words I heard from a patient. Her condition changed within a day. She worsened. I thought she’d be one of the ones who might make it! She’d be able to go home.
But I was wrong.
Covid chooses the victims and how deadly it will be.
That night she screamed “I don’t want to die from this pneumonia!” I didn’t know how to respond. I reassured her I was going to do everything I could to help her not die. She started getting anxious and restless which worsened her breathing. She truly didn’t want this to be her last day.
Her oxygen saturation’s began to drop to 60%, while optimally you want this number to be 92 and above. She was already on high flow oxygen but the next step was BIPAP, a mask that would cover her nose and mouth and push air into her lungs so she could breathe effectively. After getting the doctors order, the respiratory therapist fitted her with the BIPAP. Her oxygen levels finally started to go up.
I reassured her. I held her hand. I whispered a prayer.
This wasn’t the same woman I met the night before. She was confused. She wasn’t able to get up anymore because any activity would allow her sats to drop and be burdensome to her heart and lungs. I could see the fear in her eyes. She did not want to die.
After a few moments she began screaming again, this time for her son. I felt so helpless! The family was aware that the patient might pass, but not this soon. She was supposed to be placed in comfort care the next day and go home so she could see them!
Please make it! Please survive the night! Please God let her not die from this COVID!!!
I tried to calm her down. She kept taking off the BIPAP, so since she wasn’t tolerating it we had to put her back on the high flow oxygen.
I gave an update to the primary nurse on what occurred during her break. However, my mind was still hearing those words as I continued to give a break to my other colleagues.
The time came for another break for the same nurse. She wanted me to give this patient an anti anxiety medication to help calm her down. This was about two hours after the initial meeting. Before I could even take the medication and draw it up. The other nurses told me that the patient went asystole on telemetry. There was no longer a heartbeat. Upon assessing the patient, she was no longer breathing.
Her chilling words came back as tears welled up in my eyes. I felt so helpless. I failed her. I couldn’t keep her alive. She was gone. Her family didn’t meet her. Her final wishes of not dying and wanting to meet her son didn’t happen.
What could I have done differently? How could I have saved her? How did this happen so fast? Why….so many questions erupted in my mind.
Until this day. I hear her words: “I don’t want to die from this pneumonia!” She screamed it out to me. She was scared. She wasn’t in control. As a healthcare professional, we can treat but we cannot cure. I felt so helpless. I felt a loss. I am grieving all those that we cannot save. It deeply saddened my soul as I walked out of the room, defeated.
Another soul lost. Another book of memories shelved. Another one that lost the battle. When will this stop?
But then again, is this all just an excuse and is covid the disguised reason of death? Would someone’s time still have been limited from any other reason if not covid? My mind wanders so far. I don’t hold the answers. Only God knows. I pray for the souls that we lost while I continue to try to be a warrior and fight to keep our patients alive. I hope all the suffering ends. I hope we find a cure. I hope we beat this all together. I hope.
If anyone has lost someone to covid, my heart goes out to you. I hope God gives you healing. I hope your loved one is watching over you. They aren’t suffering anymore. Sending you hugs full of love 💕