Day #11 of 30

While caring for my father years ago…

One night, I told Dad the story of a patient I’d had at the VA when I was working nights as a nurse aide. Every time I’d go into this man’s room, he’d ask me, “Am I dead yet? Am I dead yet?” I’d say, “If you were dead, how could you be talking to me?” He’d answer, “I don’t know. Am I dead yet?” He literally asked me this every time I entered his room. Later that night, this patient’s nurse and I had to clean him up as he had soiled himself. Once we had him all cleaned and cozy, we had to pull him up toward the top of the bed so his head would be on his pillow. As we were lifting and pulling him with the draw sheet, his eyes rolled back in his head, his body went limp, and he died. Light’s out. Game over. Dead. During this same week, the same nurse and I pulled another patient up in bed, and that patient also died, but not immediately. It was later that night. Due to these events, my co-workers gave me the lovely nickname of–you guessed it, “The Grim Reaper.” 

Evidently, Dad had given my story some thought, and the next morning he asked me why those events had earned me such a nickname. I told him, “Because both patients died after we’d pulled them up in the bed.” After a brief pause, Dad asked, “Did you pull them up by their necks?” 


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