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I have attended to many deaths in my short career as a nurse I guess that is the hardest part of geriatric nursing I remember one man in particular Joe He was a veteran of World War II and a retired mechanic He was nearly 90 when I met him His beloved wife of 45 years Sara had died only months earlier He was diagnosed with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease COPD In this disease the lungs lose their elasticity and begin to fill up with fluid Eventually a person will literally drown in his or her own secretions It is slow and sometimes very painful for a Taking report from the off-going nurse I was not surprised to hear that Joe was taking a turn for the worse The physician had been called earlier and ordered some Morphine to ease his pain The unspoken thoughts exchanged between us had been the same This is it As I prepared for the long night ahead I looked over Joes chart He was listed as a DNR-Do Not Resuscitate His wishes were to die without any All names have all been changed to protect privacylife extenting means only comfort measures to ease his pain He had listed only one son as a relative I proceeded to call his son Jack to inform him of his fathers change in condition As a nurse this is especially hard to handle Most often you expect families to react in grief and sorrow Sometimes you encounter a cold uncaring individual who does not want to be bothered Fortunately Joes son was very concerned He had planned his usual weekend visit but considering this news would be up as soon as possible Hanging up the phone I felt glad that Joe would be with his family So many As I made rounds I could hear the familiar sounds of the night in
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