No screenshots today; it’s all copy and paste from their comments. Each block quote is a separate story.
A guy, his dad, and his wife all hospitalized for Covid. Withdrew care on the wife and the father in our ICU on the same day. Guy was eventually downgraded, but on the day we withdrew, we moved them all into the same room - three beds side-by-side, he was in the middle and held their hands. They took him back upstairs. Dad passed fairly quickly, wife died over night.
Had a patient who had been holding out for a week for his deployed army son to get home and see him before he changed his code status - my guy was pronounced less than 15 minutes before the son got there
A husband and wife who had been married for 60+ years were admitted to our hospital. Husband was with me in ICU, wife was being discharged home and wanted to stop by and see him. Both were COVID positive. She knew he wasn’t doing great, but didn’t understand the full gravity I believe.
We tell the patient his wife is coming to see him. He says “oh, that’s wonderful…” then trails off. Gets a panicked look on his face. Starts desatting, turning blue, look in his eyes tells you all you need to know. We switch him to BiPAP from Hi-Flow, but it’s not enough. He’s still in the 70’s. He loses consciousness. Pressures in the toilet. Residents come, try and put in an emergent central line. Nothing is enough.
We look outside and see the wife sitting in her wheelchair with a big plastic sheet over her head. Her med surg nurse is standing with her in horror. The patient is bawling. “I don’t understand, I thought he’d join me at home soon” she said. Before we had much of a chance to talk to her, the husband completely crashes and loses a pulse. He was DNAR so that was it.
The wife thought she was going to say “goodbye honey, see you at home” but instead she had to say goodbye forever to his dead body. While covered in plastic. It was bad.
I had a patient who was develop mentally challenged and on a NRB. I watched her decline rapidly throughout my two shifts with her and the confusion and fear in her eyes just shattered me. She couldn’t understand what was happening. Everything scared her. When she was on the high Flo she would take off everything and then start to hyperventilate and I would sit in the room with her to calm her down. I transferred her and she lasted a while in icu before she passed. Her and her grandparent.
Pregnant woman on 10L and her fetus died of myocarditis from covid. She was there for a week knowing the fetus had died and she just kept getting sicker. She started going into DIC so we had to intubate her and deliver her baby stillborn. She ended up dying on the tube.
Not last moments but I’m shook as a nursing student. Clinical rotation Peds both patients are post COVID.
First patient (17) on 15L oxygen if she got up to move weather to the chair or bathroom O2 plummeted to 40/50. Mom died a week earlier, dad on a vent at another hospital and adult sister that lived with them on high flow O2 at another hospital. All unvaxxed.
Second (6) had COVID in August (along with her entire family) and since then kept getting sick. Went to small town ER was diagnosed with strep and sent home. But ER doc called her and said to get her to big city hospital ASAP. I watched as they sedated her, put on a vent, then ECMO. Docs told her mother she may not make it. Seeing her tiny body connected to everything crushed me.
First person I saw die from it back when we didn’t know as much. We knew he wasn’t going to survive though so we suggested he call his wife and say goodbye. She was in another state and would not make it in time. That one hurt a lot. It hurts more knowing that now that we have something that can help, and people still refuse it.
Just before being put on a respirator, despite having a sat% at 50-ish% and breathing at a whopping 60 times per minute, was in a deep denial state and said it was all an invention from our government. Dude died <24h later.
Lots of people talk about the ones who have a last min Come To Jesus moment and all their family members get vaccinated but no one talks about the ones who deny it til the end. I’ve had people die saying it’s their diabetes’ fault really. Family saying it wouldn’t be a big deal if they weren’t overweight. Just very weird. Everything except the admit reason.
Early covid before vax i had a patient that was dying & the wife was on the phone screaming at me and how I'm making shit up to get money and that us nurses and doctors should feel ashamed of ourselves being bought out. She went on and on. Her husband died < 2 days later. I wasn't there when he did but I heard she was going off on all the doctors and nurses screaming how we made it up all to get money.
Unvaccinated patient lasted 24 days on ECMO. It was awful. About halfway through her husband and daughter came in letting us know they’d gotten their vaccines. Just made me sad that they needed to see her in that state to get vaccinated. The whole situation just got me.
Newly wed F, young. On CRRT, ECMO, intubated, any line, med, tube, you can think of.
This was back when NO visitors were allowed, but the vaccine had already been out. Not vaccinated. Tried everything, nothing working. We talked to family about letting her pass peacefully/DNR. Refused repeatedly. Ethics got involved and had to tell them there was nothing to do and we would be withdrawing care.
Again, this was back when things were an absolute nightmare and ECMO machines & vents had lines out the door of people waiting.
We withdrew care & new husband & pt’s mom had to say goodbye via iPad.
That one just rocked me to my core. My first experience with this pandemic’s carnage.
Family of family had their son (16) die with mom on a vent at another hospital and the dad at another. They told the mom her son died and she cried on the vent. She died later that week. The daughter was the only one vaccinated, lived and so did dad. Daughter had to make medical decisions for brother, mom and dad and plan brother and mom funeral. Mom watched son’s funeral from an ipad…
One of our pacu techs was admitted for a nstemi with an incidental covid + finding early this year. Lovely man, coworkers sent him cards, gifts, called his room a lot. He was also the primary caregiver for his elderly mom and loved feeding stray cats. He went for a stress test, it was negative, and was minutes from discharge. Went to tell him the good news, found him sob, and had to put him on oxygen. In the span of 3 days, he went from room air to high flow. During this time, his mom was sent to the hospital covid and he felt so guilty. Don't know what happened to her. On my last shift with him, I said I'd check on him the next day when I did a resource shift. The last thing he said to me was that I was an angel and to drive home carefully because he didn't want anything to happen to me. Here he was struggling to breathe and he wanted to make sure I got home okay. He went to icu that night. He was intubated, crrt, and ecmo and then family withdrew care after 1 month. He was only 46.
We just had a husband-wife pair die together. Family withdrew on them at the same time, and we moved them into the same room to be together. Family split as soon as the husband died, leaving the wife to die alone, in the room with the body of her dead husband. But her last words before we put her on the vent were "covid isn't real," so there's that.
Patient called his family in, hugged each of his kids one by one (6 kids under 18), got the morphine, passed less than 10 minutes later with all of them and his wife by his side
Back in April 2020, my third day back in a hospital working as a nurse, and a patient who was a nurse in her 50s who had presented with liver issues suddenly deteriorated. Checked her Covid swab, it was positive. The decline was rapid. ITU docs decided she was not going to survive ventilation due to underlying conditions, but iTU had no beds at any rate. Nor did the two additional ITUs that had been opened on site.
Husband couldn't visit, and she passed away gasping for air and agitated. It was horrible. I told the doctor and he just fell to the floor. "I can't give any more bad news this week, I just can't," he said, tears building up in his eyes.
We were all shellshocked. Myself because it was the first time I'd seen Covid in action, and I'd never seen anything suck the very air out of a body the way it did, and how distressing it was on the person dying. I'd previously worked in Nursing homes and I worked hard to ensure every death was peaceful and comfortable.
An hour later a stranger appeared at the door with a giant box. It was the local councillor, with a box of takeout, juice and letters and drawings from the kids from the local mosque. I'm not usually one for being moved in any way by drawings by children, but when I saw all the thank yous drawn in bright colours on the papers I cried.
Fast forward 18 months, we are a full Covid ward, and the only delivery I got last week was more body bags because we had run out. The local take outs refuse to deliver to us. The patients all shout at us for being slow with their requests (when they can breathe). Relatives call saying dogs would get treated better.
The only reason I still go to work is because on my very worst day, when I knew I couldn't go on, I got a very unexpected message from the man I've been (horrifically unrequitedly) in love with for six years, despite not having seen him for five years and not having spoken in three, and when he heard I was a Covid nurse, he sent me the most amazing and motivating message back that could ever have been written. He reminded me why I do this.
"I don’t envy you on that one but you have the opportunity to help the patients who really need help to get better and the ones who unfortunately can’t to be as comfortable as they can I would take comfort out of that ,what you are doing has a massive impact on peoples life’s you are dong something not everyone can do . Take care be safe."
If that wasn't the universe reaching out and giving me a sign I don't know what is.
8 day old baby in severe respiratory distress. Parents refuse COVID swab because it’s a hoax. We tell them to fuck right off and get DCF on the phone. Baby is positive for COVID and RSV. Parents arguing how we are lying.
So many stories.
Had an adult patient admitted that was slightly developmentally delayed, but he relied on and lived with his parents. Well, both parents were also admitted and died within 24 hours of each other. The patients sister didn’t want us to tell him. So the patient sat on hi-flo and bipap for a day or two, before he and his sister made him a DNR. After declaring his status, he stayed on 100% on bipap for 8 days, satting in low 70s, miserable and wasting away, unable to eat and drink, unable to move much in his bed. He was holding out for his parents to come visit him. Sister never let us tell him they had died.
Had a pregnant covid patient that crashed on floor and needed emergent intubation. After a day on the vent they had to do an emergency C section. About 2-3 weeks go by, patient is still in ICU, baby in NICU. Well patient husband/baby dad is finally cleared (was previously COVID positive) to visit baby in NICU. While he was in NICU visiting baby, the patient coded on our unit. We worked on her for an hour and had to rush her to CVOR, in hopes of ECMO. CV surgeons said her entire RV was clotted, she had massive PEs, etc. She did not survive. We could not get ahold of her husband to get him to the bedside to say goodbye, because you have to turn in your phone before entering the NICU.
Had an elderly married couple in our ICU. Husband was on a vent and coded multiple times. Came to the point that we had to tell family we wouldn’t code him again and he passed on my shift. His wife was in an adjacent room and could see everything. She was hypoxic and barely conscious on bipap, but her room was positioned in a way for her to have front row tickets to his codes. I drew her curtain when I came on shift, though.
She survived long enough to be taken out of COVID ICU and moved to another ICU bed. She was later intubated, requiring pressors, and eventually coded with family in the room. They wouldn’t let us stop but we couldn’t achieve ROSC and had to call it.
I still remember a conversation I had with her brother before her passing. He asked me to “tell it to me straight, is she ever going to wake up again or come off the ventilator?” I told him that I’m not a doctor but her prognosis looked poor and I actually felt like she was beginning to actively pass or would be passing in the next few days (funky heart rhythms). He said “well, she had a great life and now she’ll be with him in heaven.” Took everything in me to keep from crying on my shift. Their kids also told me they were literally two weeks away from being able to get the vaccine.
I share this story with patients that have recovered from COVID, are still reluctant to get vaccinated, and are in the rehab/vent weaning stages of their journey. This usually sobers them up and gives them perspective.
We had a patient who was a nurse practitioner at the hospital I work at, her and her husband were both sick but she was the only one admitted. After a couple weeks on the vent only worsening (going on CRRT, needing a chest tube) we all know where she is going. We try to call the husband to talk to him about comfort measures and can’t get ahold of him, still can’t the next day so we send a well check only to find out he died at home all alone. Through trying to reassign proxy we find out she has no one, only a distant aunt across the country. A couple days later we withdrew, some of the people she worked with came over to watch her pass but didn’t want to go in the room despite having ppe themselves, so it was just me and the RT with her. She turned cyanotic as soon as the tube was pulled and despite ample meds being given struggled to breath for 17 minutes after extubation. Fuck covid!
That’s enough from me. This shit is hard. Plenty more stories at the original link.
I’m an atheist, but bless COVID nurses for doing this impossible job, with conspiracy assholes screaming at you for trying to save people from themselves, and from a (mostly) preventable disease.
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