Facing your own mortality

Working as a nurse I have sadly witnessed death too many times to count. I have seen people die expectedly and unexpectedly neither of which is easy and they never will become easy. One part of my job which gives me comfort I suppose I could call it is when a patient is comfortable and ready to stop treatment and die. Their quality of life is becoming too compromised over quantity. It is a very brave decision to decide to end treatment and one which our hand sometimes forces due to circumstances out with our control. The past few weeks at work have been very hard particularly as you get to know patients well when you do community work. For one patient treatment was no longer working so the Dr’s decided the time was now to stop and go down the end of life care. I was reading the patients kardex to see what drugs were still continued and what had been stopped and this is when it hit me. I found the emotion so over whelming I literally did not know what to do. I didnt know wether to laugh, cry, scream, shout or stay silent. What hit me was that although the condition I suffer is very different from my patients essentially I am taking medication to keep me from having life threatening asthma attacks which despite all my medication I do still have and these medications keep me alive. It sounds very melodramatic and I guess it is but this is how I felt. The drugs this patient needed to survive were being stopped. It made me think what would happen if I didnt take my drugs. Would I just have an asthma attack and that would be it, would the effects of withdrawal from medication mean my body wouldn’t cope. Who has the decision to call time.

The last few nights I have been very unsettled mainly due to this issue of mortality. Life is so precious yet just now I feel I am stalling on it. We don’t know what is round the corner, what hand we are to be dealt, yet why am I just now not making the most of my life?

I want to, and plan to but then don’t. I have a fear, a fear of an asthma attack. I don’t know when they will come, how severe they will be or what will cause them. So I limit what I do. I don’t want to do something that will result in an attack. I love my job and know that it hangs in a bit of a balance just now, they have been so accommodating over me being ill that I feel if I do something which I know may cause an attack I cannot justify the time off work. I feel I would question myself and others would question me…why do something that may cause illness- it just doesn’t make sense but then you can’t live your life not participating. You can’t sit on the side lines and watch it all go by.

When suffering very badly with breathing I often wonder why bother taking medication as all it seems to do is create bad side effects and not really make a huge impression on my lungs, breathing and quality of life. I take it because even if it is not giving me the results I want, my lungs are much better with it than without and I do love life.

I don’t like to think that asthma may kill me, it might it might not, no one knows but by taking all my medication that risk is reduced. I want to live to be old and have many experiences in life. Enjoy time with my family and my friends!!

This post is very dramatic but these are very real thoughts to me. They are not thoughts I would talk about to anyone but it is in my head. It is something that recurs and if I can’t share it here on my blog then where can I?? You may not agree with my thoughts or not see any logic to my thoughts, you may even think I am over reacting and that is fine everyone has their own opinion but this is mine.

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