Whenever I close my eyes, I just see his face.
I work at a hotel. Last weekend, I walked in on an unresponsive guest. I had to do chest compressions for the first time ever (I'm in school to be a nurse's aide so I'm First Aid trained), but it was too late. I had a sinking feeling he was already gone the second I walked in the room. His face was so blue. The paramedics didn't even take a pulse when they arrived, said he'd been gone for several hours - possibly even since the day before. Any time I try to sleep, I just see his face and am right back in the room. The nightmares and night terrors have been horrible. I've had to use a sleeping aid the last couple of nights to help me get at least a little bit of sleep, but even then it's hard to fall asleep and stay asleep. On top of seeing a deceased person for the first time, and attempting first aid for the first time... it was also a regular guest who I knew quite well. Police said it was an overdose. I had to call 911 for him before and the last time I saw him, he thanked me for saving him as he had an infection and needed surgery. I saw him off that day and I stayed while they removed his body as well. I find some peace and comfort in that, I hope he knows I tried and I cared.
Victim services suggested trauma counselling, I've been in touch and am now just waiting to hear back from them. But until I can get an appointment to see someone, how do I carry on like normal? The guilt is agonizing, I feel horrible for not finding him sooner. Even though I know logically there was nothing I could've done, and I have brief moments where I feel somewhat okay...most of the time the second I'm alone with my thoughts and not talking to someone, it's just non-stop thoughts running through my head. All the What Ifs.
I hope this wasn't a triggering post but if anyone has any tips on dealing with trauma, it would be much appreciated. Thank you. ♥
You have heard about it on the news, read about it, and you knew that people die, but now you have been confronted with it in the flesh. It is as though you have stepped into another world, and there is no going back; this experience will stay with you the rest of your days. The only question is how you deal with it.
It is really not about the guest who died; rather it is about you being confronted about your own mortality. Before it was probably just a philosophy but now it has impacted your life. Take relaxing baths, do relaxation exercises, listen to relaxing music, and try to let go. View what you have witnessed as an opportunity to embrace your own mortality on a much deeper level.
Journaling may help and talking to others who have lost a loved one. Try to view this in a positive way, a way that will have you be less afraid of death. You most likely will be exposed to this again at sometime in your life; the death of a pet, attending a friend’s or loved one’s funeral who has an open casket, see a person who has died in a car accident as you drive by a crash scene, or you may encounter another hotel guest who has passed.
These are all situations that can help us prepare for our own death. Write your feelings down and revisit what you have written in weeks or months, add to what you have written as insights come to you. You are grieving the loss of another human being, even though you may have never known that human being, and because it was up close, it has become personal.
Trauma counseling is a great idea but do not expect an instant relief. Use this experience as a learning tool as you might use every other experience in your life. The topic is not about the guest who died, rather the topic is about you and how you feel about the end of your life, having now witnessed the end of someone else’s life. You can start with how do you feel about seeing a dead body.
If you wish, share your feelings here and others here may comment on what you have shared and offer some support. Talking about it does help. I don't know if you are a religious or spiritually oriented person, but in my opinion, no one dies until it is time for them to die, and you did not find this person sooner because you were not meant to find them sooner. So stop the "what if's." Be at peace.:hug:
Another great post by Starman*
He is right. I actually wrote a reply but it did not get posted here...and now I have to start over. I didn’t read Starmans post until now...and I won’t relay what he has already told you. I will relate to you.
I was faced with death at a very young age...my own, and that if my best friend and relative at the age of 11. He was 10 years old when he died of cancer...that movie, My Girl, comes to mind. Although not as dramatic, very much traumatizing. I don’t remember grieving for him, as a young kid...I was resilient, but it did come back later on.
I’ve worked in the medical field as an aide, doctors assistant, Imaging tech assistant, and in the ER.
I’ve seen overdoses, drownings, car accidents, sickness, ect. I’ve seen some strange things, too. The profession you have picked can be a roller coaster of experience and learning. You never know what the day is going to bring. There are good days...like when I was working in the ER.... and the paramedics were bringing in a 2 yr old that drowned. We were all on edge, waiting in terror and anticipation for this baby. Word spread fast through the ER and Imaging of the drowning....and it became a whirlwind of activity.
Then the ambulance arrived, and the baby came in...everyone was trying to get a glimpse without disturbing, intruding or overcrowding the doctors. Thank God the paramedics knew CPR, because baby came in, running around the ER halls, playing and being loud....just a delete hours earlier she had drowned in her family pool. She was released later that day. Her story ended well that day.
But many do and some don’t. Things will always affect you...you will learn to take the good with the bad....and learn absolution, as well as resilience the longer you are in. There will be things you bounce back from....as the medical profession never stops....it’s a busy busy place to work. You will also he thrown down your fair share of times. The blows get easier the more you are exposed. Some things never do. My advice is experience, and growth. I have seen dead bodies, had people die on my wing on my shift....the charge nurse freak out, call the morgue, clean up the body, notify the family, ect....when it was totally unexpected. I’ve had people be fine one second, dead the next....and the only one there on that wing, was me. The joy of night shift.
I can share more stories, when I have more time after work. You will see in time, there are many good outcomes....everything will be running fairly smooth...then out of the blue....something will happen, and you will be faced with mortality. It’s the way the pendulum swings. Death is apart of life...it’s inevitable. I remember an incident in our facility where our charge nurse got a call...her son was killed in a car accident, then one of our nurses aides, 4 yr old drowned that same year...in the same week...our day shift nurse died of a heart attack. It was a very tough year...but we all had each other, in the medical field you have lots of other workers with you usually....going through the same thing....so you have people to talk to and lean on....even if it happens on a particular shift, usually all 3 shifts are affected....there’s usually alot of support once word reaches everyone....and you see that it affects everyone very similar
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