I’m probably a bit slow on the Quora bandwagon but I just discovered it last month. It has been so interesting. I love reading others answers but found that it has been super fun to answer questions as well. I have limited my answers to nursing and relationships.
Nursing because I’ve been a nurse for 18 years. Relationships because I’ve been married for 30 years. So I’ve qualified myself as an”expert” on both subjects.
Here is a recent answer regarding Death and Dying because my most recent experience has been in hospice.
My answer is below.
- I can tell you the body knows what to do when dying. It is perfectly natural. Going into shock is a wonderful thing for someone who is dying. It is the body’s way of taking care of us. I’ve been in shock myself twice and can tell you that it is like a twilight. You’re aware of what is happening but nothing really hurts. When I was in shock due to a bad car accident, I was seriously injured but felt no pain. I was aware of things yet not fully awake. It did not matter to me if I lived or died when I was in shock.
- What we see is as “suffering” is not reflective of what the dying person feels. Although there are times someone who is dying does need something for pain or to relax, I firmly believe it is not as much physical pain they are in as it is spiritual or mental distress (We call it “terminal restlessness” and that certainly doesn’t always happen. I’ve seen numerous very peaceful deaths where the person didn’t need any medication at all). I know this because of my personal experience. When my face was full of glass, nose and lip torn and face full of blood, I didn’t have pain. I did feel like I was slightly choking on something (blood) but didn’t know what it was and tried to pull my swollen, torn lip off til passersby stopped me. It was only when my brother saw me at the hospital and I saw the look on his face that I knew it was bad because he was crying and saying “Oh my God” and “Chrissie I love you” over and over and was trying to get to me while they were examining me. I think when people have terminal restlessness, sometimes we need to just let them sort that shit out instead of drugging them. (Don’t hate on me, hospice people, I have a right to my opinion and NONE of my patients suffer due to lack of meds). We need to keep calm and not freak out because it’s not about us.
- I believe that people who are stubborn and controlling by nature OR are attached to life or a particular person, people or situation that’s unresolved in their mind, OR have guilt, regret or worry are the ones who struggle more at the hour of death in the hospice setting. I can’t speak for trauma victims or anything like that. This is my personal opinion based on my observations and what I have felt as an empath.
Inserting a bit about my path to give you an idea of where I am coming from and insight to my perspective…I am a people person and an empath. I have had a really strong intuition ever since I was little and have been sensitive to what others feel my whole life. I have a way of knowing when my patients need me by the way I feel. The course of my life has led me to where I am now (just like everyone’s does). For me it started with the death of my two year old cousin when I was very young, a fascination with death and dying, strange paranormal things happening very subtly and slowly at first, my Buscia (Grandma) dying in hospice (before hospice was mainstream), becoming a nurse as a result, conducting my own private “interviews” with patients about their own spiritual and/or metaphysical near death or out of body experiences for 12 years (which has been utterly fascinating. By the way, more people than you think have had them!) then ultimately becoming a hospice nurse (for roughly 6 years now). I have since abandoned Christianity and started meditating which has changed a lot for me as well. The reason I am no longer a Christian is a direct result of hospice. I have seen people from all religions or no religion experience a lot of the same ‘spiritual’ things when dying, such as seeing and having conversations with deceased loved ones. I also have seen many wonderful, good, ethical people pass who weren’t a Christian. I have a hard time believing those people wouldn’t be accepted into ‘heaven’ by a God who will judge them based off of their belief that Jesus is God. Doesn’t make sense.
- I have seen many unexplainable things happen as a hospice nurse. A frail elderly woman who couldn’t possibly have any strength left, on the verge of death found the strength to roll herself out of bed and crawl out of her room and down a hallway. She wasn’t awake for days but woke to say her husband was coming for her and she wasn’t ready. People who have gone without water for longer than what is humanly possible still holding onto life, etc.
- The result for me is realizing that the mind is more powerful than the body. (I’ve also had this proved to me many times during my 12 years working in hospitals) What I learned and how I changed is that I now do death meditations to prepare myself for the hour of death as best as possible. I no longer work for money. I keep decreasing my salary by taking jobs that interest me rather than pursuing the one that pays the most. I practice detachment to material things. Another result meditating and my hospice nursing experience had is that I became less of a worrier and have been slowly able to let go of regret (letting go of past and future). I can see through people’s bullshit a lot easier and don’t let it bother me knowing it is their issue not mine. What I mean by that is recognizing offensiveness, defensiveness, jealousy, greed and hatred to name a few things. People don’t even know they are doing it. They are layers of the ego they haven’t yet shed. I am thankful for life and the experience but don’t take everything so seriously and am willing to let it all go. I am happier and calmer. I realize that people are all doing their best within their level of consciousness and as Ram Dass so eloquently put it…we are all just walking each other home.
Do you have any experience with hospice? Are you on Quora yet? If so, I hope to see you in Quoraville!